The (Bittersweet) End of an Era

All good things must come to an end. Sadly, today is my last day with EA/BioWare. After waiting nine long years for my opportunity to get here, it’s a shame to be leaving only four and a half years later. However, I know in my heart that it’s time to move on.

If you’ve ever met me, you know how much BioWare means to me. Getting to work on the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises was a dream come true, and I am so grateful for the experience. I still get misty-eyed seeing my name in the credits at the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It was an honor to work with such talented people, and see up close how BioWare games get made.

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Why Go?

There are a number of reasons that factored into my decision, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to one simple truth: my job isn’t fun anymore.

In retrospect, the writing was on the wall after Canada denied my application for a work visa, and then later denied my application for permanent residence. The plan was always for me to advance my career in Edmonton, and when that didn’t happen, my options for growth within EA became extremely limited.

Although I fell short of my long-term goals, I leave the company with my head held high, incredibly proud of all that I’ve accomplished.

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Thank You

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the sharpest minds in the industry, for which I’m beyond thankful. I saw a lot of great people come and go over the years, but I’d be remiss not to call out a few specific people who contributed to my career:

Laura Miele – I’d never have gotten my foot in the company if you hadn’t opened the door. Without your support, my dream of working for BioWare might never have come to fruition. I’m honored to know you, and so happy that EA has elevated you to a position you deserve. You have a genuine passion for this industry unlike anyone else I’ve ever met.

Jarrett Lee – You took a chance on a scrappy underdog from Portland, Oregon, and I hope I proved you right. It was a privilege to learn from you. You have a keen mind for this business, and you see things on a level that’s head and shoulders above your peers.

Chris Mancil – Through thick and thin, you always had my back. My journey could’ve come to an end when my contract ran out in 2013, but thanks to your efforts, I got to hang around for another three years. Thank you for being in my corner and for pushing so hard to make room for me on the team.

Jessica Merizan – I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. You took me under your wing from day one and positioned me for success. I learned so much working with you and continued to apply those lessons long after you’d left. I wish we could’ve had more time together, but I’m so thankful for the two years we had.

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Karin Weekes – When I think about the people I’ve worked with over my 20+ year career—the people that truly had an impact on me—you stand out within a class of people at the top of the mountain. You taught me to rethink the way I write, and consider every scenario from multiple angles. Working with you has made me a better writer, and it was an honor to be edited by you.

Amanda Klesko – What would I have done without you? You kept me sane when I felt overwhelmed, and dug me out whenever I got buried. There were times I literally could not have done my job without you. If I didn’t tell you enough before, I’m telling you now: you’re a rock star, and I am forever in your debt.

The BioWare Community – EA may have signed my paychecks, but ultimately, I worked for you guys. I tried my best to ensure that you always had a good experience anytime you visited our websites and social media channels. I hope you were entertained by the content I created, and I hope you know that even when we couldn’t address every request, your voices were always heard loud and clear.

As part of the BioWare community team, I had the pleasure of attending a plethora of events and meeting so many great people. I want to thank all of you for making me feel like the work I contributed mattered. Please forgive me, as I’m sure I’m inevitably going to miss a few names, but I’d like to send extra special thanks to: Chris Priestley, Daina Friend, Ashley Barry, Karissa Barrows, Jerome Mabrey, Jackie Izawa, Geoff Blough, Kelly Bristol, Ness Shortley, Ashe (Lady Insanity), Mike Flaherty, Tyler & Jameela Cameron, Rob Simmons, Alanna Cervenak, Tamara Thrift, Amanda Sims, Lee G. (@WriteLeeWrite), Samantha Blackmon, Bryan Roces, Aenne Schumann, Grant Davis, Felicia Curth, Alli Chinn-Tupper, Allegra Clark, Bethany Westmoreland, and if you’re reading this right now, you! 🙂

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What’s Next?

After twenty years, I’m taking a break from the video games industry. At least for now. I have other avenues ahead of me that I’m very excited to explore. Cheap plug: I’ve got a Sci-Fi/Noir novel titled Icarus coming out in January 2017, which is the first book in the Noble Trilogy. I hope you’ll check it out!

Stepping away from EA will give me the opportunity to explore other passions in my life, including supporting my wife as she chases her dreams. She put them on hold so that I could chase mine, and it’s well-past time for me to return the favor.

In closing, I want to offer one last heartfelt thank you to anyone reading this. I’m excited to experience future BioWare games as a fan once again, spoiler free. I wish my extended families in Edmonton and Montreal nothing but more great success to come. I love you all, and will miss working with you very much.

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