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‘Dragon Age 4’ QA developers plan to unionise over pay and safety concerns

Dragon Age 4 may experience further delays after quality assurance developers announce plans to unionise over poor pay and safety concerns.

Dragon Age 4 developers have apparently seen their fantasy of a rewarding and safe work environment vanish into thin air, with concerns about low pay and health and safety raised.

However, the quality assurance team at the centre of the debacle (employees of Keywords Studios under contract with Bioware) are prepared to put up a fight. According to a recent report, the team are attempting to unionise to achieve their shared goals.

dragon age 4 delay
Image: Dragon Age / Bioware

Dragon Age 4 is the first instalment in the acclaimed series since 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The game has been in development for a good period of time, although it has experienced multiple false starts and setbacks.

Nonetheless, things appeared to be coming together nicely, with journalist Jeff Grub suggesting Dragon Age 4 could be ready for release in 2023. Despite being part of a more significant problem in the video game industry, this latest controversy could put a chink in that timeline.

A representative for the QA developer team explained they are not happy at being forced to return to work 5-days a week. They argue that the ongoing Covid pandemic, which continues to ravage the area surrounding the Bioware offices, makes it unsafe to do so.

The representative also highlighted that Bioware employees working on Dragon Age 4 are not being asked to return to the office full-time.

While Keywords Studios technically employ the QA team, they are under the direction of Bioware. Keywords Studios had the following to say regarding the ongoing situation: “As this situation is still developing we are gathering facts and will have a statement as soon as possible“.

The QA developers are also looking to receive a pay increase, which they claim is currently $16 Canadian Dollar per hour (less than what Bioware employees are paid for similar work).

It seems possible that this sort of situation could contribute to Dragon Age 4 being pushed back even further. However, considering that people’s health and livelihood are at stake, it’s fair to say there are more important things at play.

We’ll keep an eye on the situation to see how it develops.