Former Mass Effect writer Mac Walters has explained why he left the BioWare after 19 years, with several factors contributing to his deciding to go.
Speaking to MinnMax, Walters cited his long tenure at BioWare, a feeling of full-circle fulfilment thanks to the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, having the opportunity to work in a small team again, and a desire to work on something new as his reasons for leaving.
“It was really just time for me,” Walters said. “After 19 years it just felt like this was the moment. There wasn’t a significant triggering event or anything I needed to discuss, so [I said] ‘let’s just part ways amicably. And you’ll continue to do your thing and I’ll go do my thing and figure out that.'”
Working on the Legendary Edition, which compiled the original Mass Effect trilogy in one PlayStation 4 and Xbox One collection, also stirred a desire to move on within Walters, for a couple of reasons.
Games usually have years of planning, but when EA asked BioWare to make the Legendary Edition, “all of a sudden we’ve got this project that’s unplanned,” Walters said. “What do we do with it, right? So the way to make that successful was really, for me, to be a little bit rogue and a little bit entrepreneurial in how we were going to build this out with the people we had and the people we could get without disrupting the other teams in the meantime.
“That process reminded me a lot of early days BioWare. We were a small scrappy team. Lots of people were wearing a lot of different hats,” Walters continued. “A lot of that was reminding me of, call it the good old days or whatever.”
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Screenshots
As the lead writer on Mass Effect 2 and 3, working on the Legendary Edition also gave Walters some closure with the series that warded him away from wanting to do more. “It was so successful to me as a project, in the sense of the team was healthy, we really got along, and of course, it was critically and financially successful,” Walters said. “It just felt like this is the bow on all the things I’ve done with Mass Effect, which is all of the things. I don’t want to do any more Mass Effect after this. Why tempt fate?”
He therefore wanted to work on something new, but with BioWare firmly locked up in Mass Effect 5 and Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, “it became pretty clear there probably wouldn’t be” an opportunity to do so, “at least for the foreseeable future”.
Walters has seemingly accomplished that now after founding a new studio to develop “triple-A action adventure games with an emphasis on narrative and worldbuilding”. Worlds Untold is backed by Chinese game firm NetEase and based in Vancouver, Canada.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.