For over two decades, Canadian developer BioWare has been a household name in the realms of gaming. From the early days of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights on the PC, to the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises we enjoy on consoles today, their legacy runs deep among RPG fans. Two of the men responsible for bringing the company to where it is today, doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, have been along for the entire ride. Sadly, all things must come to an end, and today they have both announced their retirement from game development. The co-founders of BioWare have parted ways with the company, albeit on seemingly positive terms.
In most cases like these, the departure of high profile members of a successful company are due to internal turmoil and corporate politics. While it would be impossible to say here whether or not that is the case, both Muzyka and Zeschuk have issued statements that allude more to their desire to leave the gaming industry entirely and focus on new projects. In the case of Zeschuk, life changes and the needs to move in a different direction were his main cited reasons.
“This decision isn’t without significant pain and regret, but it’s also something I know I need to do, for myself and my family.” Zeuschuk said, going further to add “I’ve reached an unexpected point in my life where I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation.”
Similarily, Muzyka focused on the changes in BioWare over the years, as well as his own personal goals as being the chief reasons for his departure.
“With the growth of BioWare to multiple locations as part of a public company, following two decades of multiple successful product launches across many platforms and business models, I’ve largely personally achieved what I wanted in videogames” Muzyka’s statement noted, going further to explain his desire to seek opportunities completely outside of the video game industry. “I now desire to take on a brand new entrepreneurial challenge. I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next ‘chapter’ will likely focus on an entirely new industry.”
In their respective statements, both praised the BioWare team, the people at parent company Electronic Arts (EA) and the fans for being supportive over the past two decades. In a statement released by BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn, he acknowledged and praised the contribution of both Muzyka and Zeschuk, and reflected on his own twelve years with the company. The question for most fans now will turn to the future of the company, which Flynn stresses is still very bright. With Dragon Age 3: Inquisition being newly announced, future plans for the Mass Effect series and some undisclosed new IPs on the horizon, the BioWare brand isn’t going anywhere.
A decision to walk away from something that you have personally been responsible for creating is always difficult, no question about that. BioWare has gone from it’s grassroots statup in 1995, to being a massive, multi-location development corporation that is now under the EA umbrella. Times and circumstances have changed, and sometimes one needs to step away when it is no longer conducive to their personal goals. As an interesting aside, Zeschuk has expressed an interest in pursuing entreprenurial activities in craft beer. As a fellow beer enthusiast, I couldn’t think of a better career change.