Farewell to the Biodocs

19 Sep
September 19, 2012

News is all over the net, Bioware’s founders, Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka (how you pronounce those surnames, I have no idea) have both publicly announced their resignation from Bioware.

More interestingly, the announcement comes almost 5 years exactly after their acquisition by EA. Given their simultaneous resignations, this suggests that 5 years was the length of their contracts with EA, that they may have simply been riding it out to retirement.

The cynical might say that the sale to EA was not done in the best interests of Bioware, that it was a “cash in and retire” plan from the beginning. Maybe. Another possibility is they have simply grown tired of their positions as managers rather than “creatives on the ground floor”, and that moving to EA and becoming part of that giant infrastructure exacerbated that feeling.

Or, it’s completely possible that they’ve simply reached a point in their lives where gaming is no longer their thing now. It happens. I’ve talked about my own fears that I’ve reached that point, and my gratefulness at games which remind me that the passion is still there, somewhere. After 10 years of working toward the goal of making games professionally, struggling with the feeling that you no longer enjoy games as much is difficult, you question your life and its current direction. So yeah, I sympathize, really.

Whatever the case, I wish the Biodocs all the best in the future. Bioware has brought me some of my favourite RPG experiences of all time, and I owe it to their vision and drive. Thanks, Ray and Greg. Enjoy whatever comes next for you.

And Bioware, as a company, as it stands now…I won’t pretend I don’t feel uncertain about its future. EA is a machine that has, time and again, swallowed developers at the peak of their success, ground them down by not really getting their passion for their genre of games and demanding that they focus on whatever is perceived to make the most profit, and then strip mining the company when they can’t meet expectations. The multiplayer shooter tacked onto ME3 worries me. The EA exec talking about how all future games will have online aspects worries me. Bioware’s flubbing DA2 and the predictable failure of SWTOR worries me.

But I still have hope. Bioware is capable of great things, and I wish them all the best. Hopefully, history won’t repeat itself, and they will return to the direction they were going in DA1, which looked to be more toward their roots as a company.

1 reply
  1. James McNeill says:

    Yeah, I assumed when I heard it that they’d just finished up their contracted stays with EA, and was surprised more news sites didn’t reach that conclusion like you did.

    Bioware’s had an impressive run so far. I’ve played maybe a third of their games: Baldur’s Gate; some of its sequel; Neverwinter Nights; Star Wars KOTOR; and Mass Effect 2. They’ve had a strong focus on the interaction between storytelling and party dynamics throughout. It’s a highly entertaining niche that not too many companies even attempt, let alone do well.

    Getting games out the door is a slog; MMO development doubly so. I suppose everyone gets tired of it sooner or later. You need to have a thick skin or powers of obliviousness, too, if people are paying attention to your games. Unless you’re making kids’ games, then your fans send you drawings and letters. It’s great!

    I thought the partnership with Pandemic and a venture capital firm was odd. No idea what was going on at the time, though. Maybe it had to do with getting enough money to build the MMO.

    Reply

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