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September 18, 2012
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BioWare Co-Founders Choose to Retire

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 18, 2012, 7:10 PM
Following close upon the Monday (9/17) announcement that Dragon Age 3 was on its way to becoming the next major BioWare studio release, BioWare founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka announced today that they are BOTH retiring from the gaming business.

Greg writes: "After nearly twenty years working at BioWare I’ve decided it’s time to move on and pursue something new. 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. 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. For the people I have had the privilege of working with, however, my passion burns as brightly as it did the day we started. The people I work with now, and that I have worked with in the past, have inspired me and really made all of the challenges we’ve collectively faced over the years worthwhile. We have been blessed with tremendous success over the years at BioWare, and the reason is simply down to a large number of great people doing great work. Successful people or companies have to admit luck also plays a part in their success, and it certainly did for us; a few times over the years we made the right game at the right time and success flowed as a result. When we got it right, it was like a hole in one or a home run; it was a magical feeling and incomparable in positive impact for everyone involved."

:bulletblue: Read Greg's blog

Ray adds: "I feel the need now to move on to a new chapter in my career. 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; 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, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary – investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing. There’s a good description of the goals of this form of entrepreneurship here. Impact investment, or social entrepreneurship, can range from simply thinking about social goals along with the usual business profit goals, all the way to a dedicated focus on a social entrepreneurship portfolio with the social impact defined as the primary goal. For me, getting involved in social impact investment stems from the simple hope of helping the world to be a better place. To that end, I’ll also be spending time getting involved with more charities in education, health care, and animal rights, areas where my wife and I’ve typically focused our charitable donations in the past. I am also spending more time learning about the work being done to defend human rights and civil liberty across the world. Net, I am passionate about both entrepreneurship and social liberty, and I want to find a way to pursue both of them."

:bulletblue: Read Ray's blog

Interestingly, and this could be analyzed in a variety of ways, EA/BioWare felt that the two announcements were of such impact that a THIRD letter to the community, a follow-up from BioWare Studio General Manager Aaryn Flynn, had to be added to the mix as well.

Longtime BioWare fans will know these two as the definitive forces that guided and shaped what was an indie RPG developer into the mainstream RPG force that it is today. The sudden announcement (although supposedly with 6 months advance notice internally to EA) seems like an odd follow-up to Monday's announcement of the imminent Dragon Age 3. Was this related to the difficulty of the SW:TOR team to meet their expected performance metrics? Does the decision (made in April 2012) come as fallout from the disaster of the Mass Effect 3 release? Is this a genuinely benign, but perhaps poorly timed career shift as the blogs claim? Could the content of the blogs plus the company's need to have BioWare studio General Manager Aaryn Flynn interject a statement as well suggest a deeper division within the company?

The timing of the departures seem to raise a lot of questions. Regardless, to the longtime BioWare fan, it is the ending of an era. Anyone else filled with a deep sense of mourning at its passing?

(We welcome our members to share their thoughts on this momentous change in BioWare history. Just keep in mind that we are still a fan community, so keept it peacefully worded, please!)

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:iconthylja:
Thylja Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012  Professional Artist
There's a reason people say that games industry years are like dog years. Now imagine how tired you must have grown of the circus after almost 20 years...
Although I think it is very sad that they're leaving the company, I fully understand it.
Now let's just hope that the teams don't decide to move on either and remain focussed, creative and allow their employees to become bolder again.
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:iconblightfighter45:
blightfighter45 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I hope the bioware company all together doesn't shut down
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:iconinversereality-2:
InverseReality-2 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
It probably won't, but there's a good chance team members might leave.
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:iconblightfighter45:
blightfighter45 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
*sniff* it just wouldn't be the same after that
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:iconxxwafiqah:
XxWafiqah Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aww. it's sad to see them go :(
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:iconart-loving-fairybug:
Art-loving-Fairybug Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This just screams, "Mass Effect 3 was such a big disgrace that somebody's head *had* to roll," if you as me. Although I personally ump Dragon Age 2 in with disgraces, so i'm glad that a head is rolling for that, too.
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:iconinversereality-2:
InverseReality-2 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
You may like the head rolling part, but the heads being off'd in this case would be the original people who put BioWare on the map for quality RPGs. It's kinda a mixed feeling, from that perspective.
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:iconart-loving-fairybug:
Art-loving-Fairybug Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
While this is true, and I don't wish to besmirch the good RPGs they have put out in the past, they are also the same people who allowed travesties like ME3 and DA2. Still, ME1, ME2 and DAO are beloved favorites of mine, so maybe they do deserve to be cut some slack.
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:iconbhryn:
Bhryn Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
I think the company has evolved a lot in the passing years, most of all. I still recall my first Bioware gaming experiences (as well as how I've already got a preorder on the Baldur's Gate re-release) but the strongest memory is of NWN. I loved DnD growing up as a kid - me and a group of friends would often stay behind after school to play DnD and GURPs so when NWN came out, I jumped at trying it. I was amazed by the world, I loved the gameplay but what really resonated with me was the characters.

I loved those characters dearly, I loved their stories, their desires and fears and how they interacted with not just me but others. Their voice acting was incredible for the time and I found myself wishing for more. Always more.

Over the years Bioware has changed in so many ways but what has never failed to continue their tradition of intensive story telling and characterisation. You don't just play their games to 'play a game'. You do it to fall in love, to make friends, to learn how people tick.

If the team can continue this, which I hope they do, then they have a wonderful future ahead of them.
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:iconinversereality-2:
InverseReality-2 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
One can always hope they go back to the indie gaming scene. ^_^
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