Former BioWare employees recently laid off are suing the studio for "shortchanging" them with low severance pay

Dragon Age Dreadwolf
(Image credit: BioWare)

A group of former BioWare employees who were impacted by the studio's recent layoffs is suing for better severance pay.

Back in August, BioWare laid off a total of 50 employees to "preserve the health of the studio," make sure Dragon Age: Dreadwolf is "an outstanding game," and ensure "the success of the next Mass Effect game." Of those 50 employees impacted by the layoffs, seven of them are now suing BioWare.

In a statement shared by former BioWare technical director Jon Renish, the group alleges the severance package offered by BioWare was "significantly less" than the standard set by the Alberta Courts' "most recent court cases of termination without cause." The group says it's refusing to accept BioWare's severance and requesting punitive damages.

"In light of the numerous recent industry layoffs and the fact that BioWare's NDAs prevent us from showing any of our recent work on BioWare: Dreadwolf in our portfolios, we are very concerned about the difficulty many of us will have finding work as the holiday season approaches," said one terminated employee. "While we remain supportive of the game we worked so hard on, and of our colleagues continuing that work, we are struggling to understand why BioWare is shortchanging us in this challenging time."

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R. Alex Kennedy, a lawyer providing counsel for the group of former employees, argues BioWare "attempted to reduce its obligation to these employees well below what the courts typically award, including by eliminating benefits from its termination pay - that appears to be contrary to the Employment Standards Code."

"These people are artists and creators who have worked very hard and for a very long time in a difficult industry, producing big profits for their employer. Their termination without cause en masse like this calls for a response. Employers here can terminate anyone at any time without cause, but with that right comes a responsibility to the people they put in that situation."

We've reached out to BioWare for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.