Every unionized Dragon Age: Dreadwolf quality assurance (QA) tester has been laid off.
As Polygon reported on October 4, 13 developers who were working on the next Dragon Age game at the QA outsourcing company Keywords Studios on September 27 were let go after Bioware declined to continue its contract with the company in August.
Polygon received confirmation from Liz Corless, Keywords Studios’ global head of marketing, in an email, who said, "We can confirm that regrettably the 13 Edmonton-based staff have now left the business following the end of a fixed-term client contract."
When they were laid off in late September, it was said that Keywords had “taken the position there is no more work available.”
The QA developers officially joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union in June last year - making it the first games industry union in Canada - and were contracted to assist with playtesting and quality assurance at Bioware Edmonton.
Keywords Studios has reportedly offered the 13 laid-off developers "minimal severance" and, in response, the union has filed an employment standards complaint against the studio.
As of writing, the dispute has not been settled and severance has not been paid out.
On August 23, Bioware - best known for some of the best single-player games ever made - laid off about 50 staff members in order to "meet the needs of upcoming projects" and to make the studio "more agile and more focused."
This followed the announcement from earlier this year that the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic would be moved away from the company to the third-party studio Broadsword Online, in order to focus on the future of Dragon Age and Mass Effect.
Layoffs in the games industry are particularly prevalent right now. Only this week was it reported that Naughty Dog, the studio behind The Last of Us and the Uncharted series, had laid off a number of its contract developers - the majority of them being QA testers.
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