BioWare built on 'humility'

Develop 2010: Greg Zeschuk uses keynote speech to discuss studio's creative culture; suggests its games are made better by "press feedback."

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In a keynote speech at the Brighton, UK-based Develop conference, BioWare cofounder Greg Zeschuk called a culture of "humility and integrity" key to the Mass Effect developer's success. Zeschuk, also group creative officer of EA's role-playing game/massively multiplayer online studio group, said that taking fan and press criticism on the chin was a cornerstone of BioWare's creative culture. "Some would say we're obsessed with our review scores," he said.

Zeschuk used his keynote speech to discuss BioWare's creative culture.

In a general talk on BioWare's attitude to creative game development, Zeschuk said that BioWare aimed to stay humble, in spite of commercial success or press criticism. "Some people might see it as a position of weakness, but it's really not that at all," he said. "You're only as good as your next game."

Zeschuk underlined the importance of building on fan and press criticism. "You have to be open and take feedback…We've made our games better largely on press feedback. If you have humility it means you don't get indignant [about negative feedback]."

By way of example, Zeschuk admitted the iPhone game that bridged the first and second Mass Effect games, Mass Effect Galaxy, was not one of the developer's best products. "The team [that produced the iPhone game] went back and made a lot of games that were way better," he said.

Zeschuk called the purchase of BioWare by publisher EA in 2007 "an interesting cultural challenge," saying that it took the developer about a year to learn how to interact with the publisher. "It's like any relationship; you have to put time and effort into it."

He described the more recent joining of BioWare and massively multiplayer online game developer Mythic as a role reversal from the EA-BioWare deal. "When Mythic joined BioWare, we were able to take that learning [into the merger]: Suddenly we were EA, and Mythic was the BioWare [of that relationship]."

Discussion

119 comments
xDeadMarchx
xDeadMarchx

We don't need another Baldur's gate, that was made generations ago, the series is long gone. Look to the future, I'd much rather see something new.

ResponsibleGame
ResponsibleGame

BioWare , Rocksteady and Rockstar North are my three favourite studios .

nemesis4x
nemesis4x

Bioware rules!!!! nuff' said

xxxxTRISTAMxxxx
xxxxTRISTAMxxxx

Great Game! I didn't like the first one but I love the 2nd one! This game has be geared up for #3. One of my best games ever!

Jontyakatz
Jontyakatz

Vaughann, I completely agree with you, I am playing through NWN2 again at the moment and it is so awesome. I do however disagree minorly on the the point that Prestige Classes are supposed to be a higher level thing, both in DnD and in NWN, and also the MMO point, I would much prefer RPG to an MMO.

oskuuu
oskuuu

Bioware = best rpg games :)

WarofZeus
WarofZeus

Dragon Age, Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2 are all great games. Bioware has become my favorite gaming company.

Vaughann
Vaughann

I agree with Emperiox - another NWN game would be great!! Or if not that; a new D&D series with traditional NWN features such as toolkits, the ability to create your own scenarios; but this time of course better graphics, and access to prestige classes right from the beginning... Another wonderful surprise would be news on a new D&D MMO. It's been a long time since NWN2 was released - hoping for some good news soon!

emperiox
emperiox

Fett283, we all love Bioware I think! :P I sincerely hope they have plans for another Neverwinter Nights game xD

fett283
fett283

I love Bioware! Keep up the good work guys!

spOOoOOn
spOOoOOn

I love you bioware, but please don't shoot yourself in the foot with MMO's!

D3thN1gh7
D3thN1gh7

Bioware is definitely one of the best developers out there. All their games have been great. My favorite would still have to be the first KOTOR but that's just because the story line was so well done and engaging. All their other games since then though have been fantastic. Can't wait to see what they come up with next. Keep em coming Bioware!

Bacbi
Bacbi

In quality noone can touch Bioware.

Caemyr
Caemyr

My first real experoience with a game by Bioware was Mass Effect 1, I enjoyed it very much, and I like Mass Effect 2 also. I like what Bioware has done.

Evan5700
Evan5700

@torque203 blah! spoilers man, u just ruined it :'(

Evan5700
Evan5700

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

GreySeven
GreySeven

Bioware is one of my favorites, but taking up too much feedback from outsiders can really warp a game for the worse.

Brick_Mankill
Brick_Mankill

I've been a BioWare fan for a while and I always look forward to their upcoming games. The level of exploration and freedom in their games is usually what draws me in, but it seems their sequels shy away from this and they end up too linear (i.e. BG2 and ME2). Though they're great games, what's with the shift? Exploration is bread and butter in role-playing games for me. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks that, but if I'm not I hope the Doctors figure it out and exercise some of that humility. Regardless, I'm still looking forward to ME3 and DA2.

organbank
organbank

What a joke. When are the patches coming for DA:O EA/Bioware? Ten months and still waiting, your customer support is a joke.

RussianRAGE
RussianRAGE

Bioware gives me a reason to live for.

Dan21278
Dan21278

@dakan45 "Hads devotation" .wtf do you mean I don't understand. lol

dakan45
dakan45

Its funny how everyone here refuses to see the evidence that all bioware the games are not unique and they use the same story elements and none of them hads devotation.

squallgunblade7
squallgunblade7

bioware is up their with square-enix with role playing games. i say that cause i am a huge final fantasy fan so that is the biggest compliment i could ever give someone. i just love dragonage

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@xXTalismanXx, I think it's awesome and true how you mentioned that and well-stated, too. Don't get me Bioware is a great developer and all, but I find the 'humility' part a bit hard to completely believe when they can turn around talk down about other RPG developers (namely in the Japan market) and yet want to speak about being 'humble' (of course to give benefit that did come from one arrogant blab mouth from Bioware and may not represent all that work there). However, I do give it to them for listening to feedback from fans, but here's something Bioware (if you're REALLY listening...) they could do: how about you guys (and gals) actually finish the story to Baldur's Gate? I mean, as much as I live DA, I forever hate the fact of being jilted out of a Baldur's Gate 3. Just suggesting, Bio....

Torque203
Torque203

@dakan45 So shepared is a reaper, i had a feeling he wasn't human. being renegade he looks like a terminator. its the story of Darth raven the archdemon all over again leading his slaves of darkspawn sith against the galactic republic of the citadel, o and the council erased shepards memory with the one they wanted so he can hunt down saren his old apprentice. your right all these stories are the same, how is it only you have noticed this and nobody else.

stefan567
stefan567

...and that's why they are the best game developer in the world.i've never played a bioware game that was not incredible.

HK-78
HK-78

I would agree with all the sequel requests, but BioWare is one company that doesn't want to be locked in a franchise for too long... but then again, Mass Effect is a triology, and Dragon Age doesn't look like it's going to end.

Dan21278
Dan21278

I knew that already...every bioware game is crafted with love and devotion. You can tell that they are not making games just for profit but to bring a smile on peoples faces. It only makes sense to listen to the fans because after all we are the people who buy the games. I think a lot of companies forgot about why we started playing video games....I started playing so I could escape from reality and go a place where I am in complete control...sigh. It's a shame I haven't been able to that. I mean I want a game where I feel attached to ALL of characters. A game where you don't feel like a observer but a participator in the plot. Soooooo many companies *COUGH* ACTVISION, could learn from them. Bioware you guys are doing such a fantastic job with the new Star wars old republic...but please im begging you, give us KOTOR 3 for consoles please. And yes staying humble while surrounded by great success show true strength.

tclvis
tclvis

Ok, Dr. Z, if you want fan feedback: Jade Empire 2, please!

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

Making games for the enjoyment of making and playing games. I hope Mythic learn well from them.

Mihzrael
Mihzrael

A company that deserves to be respected not only because it is good but because it respects its buyers. I greatly appreciate that, Bioware FTW!

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

If only all developers had the sense to measure themselves and their games by the reactions of their fanbase. Hopefully Bioware may even be a good influence on some of EAs other developers, and we won't ever have to be insulted with another disappointing Need For Speed game. Keep up the good work Bioware!

tsiper
tsiper

Bioware are RPG GOD'S!!!! I love their games and they have only gotten better and better. You can tell they really do listen to criticism just look at the difference between ME1 and ME2. Although I do miss the Mako I Liked it alot it was like my Jeep on crack!

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

I thoroughly enjoyed Mass Effect 2, the story, the art, the game play everything was improved over the first title.

thankqwerty
thankqwerty

Don't see what's "creative" about BioWare's games. Exactly the same template was used for Dragon Age, ME1 & 2 (i mean the story telling elements), which I hate. I would agree that the games were well made, i.e. good sound, visual effects, relatively bug-free ..... etc, but not creative.

JLCrogue
JLCrogue

Bioware is one of my favorite developers, they make by far the best RPGs and some of the best games of all time, even though I usually prefer FPS games. I'm so excited for The Old Republic that I've been playing the original Knights of the Old Republic lately and I'm loving it. Some people are worried that SW:TOR won't live up to all of the hype, but with Bioware behind it I'm confident that it will be as awesome as predicted. I would like to work for Bioware one of these days... or Valve... or Id... or Bungie... or Infinity Ward... or Rockstar... or maybe Lucas Arts.

thisranks
thisranks

I didn't know much about Bioware until i saw this game called Neverwinter Nights that was based off my first RPG love Dungeons and Dragons. Ever since then i have been a huge fan. Can't wait for Dragon Age 2. I'd appreciate it if they stay a bit more humble by not mocking SE and FF, though. While both Devs have kept to the RPG elements, the games aren't developed with the same ideas and deserve their own unique place in the game market.

Urik_187
Urik_187

EA does one thing better than any other publisher IMO and thats marketing. which is really good for BIOWARE. so you have a winning formula. BIOWARE (Great Game DEV) + EA (Publishing Powerhouse) = Tons of Fans + Success (not to mention some good moola)

peterfaj
peterfaj

Bioware is pretty awesome, but just as everyone else I'm afraid that EA might corrupt them.

Maximus_Fett
Maximus_Fett

I don't know a bad game BioWare has made (cue some smart-arse above ^), and they really have defined certain genres, Baldur's Gate for example.

firehawk998
firehawk998

Bioware always surprises me with thier games. Whether is ME 2 or DA :O thier games always have a quality in them. They are one of the few developers out there that really love listening to thier fanbase to improve thier games. Keep the great games coming.

Pete5506
Pete5506

BioWare has done some amazing work lately, cant wait to see whats next from them

Damascuss
Damascuss

@ Martel100 Agree and disagree, BioWare is great, being purchased by EA hasn't changed anything so far. They continue to make great games and continue to enhance them, such as ME2. My honesty opinion is EA isn't as bad as they once were, not even close.

iceeman
iceeman

wonder if they could make another baulder gate type game...

Martel100
Martel100

Love Bioware, own nearly all of their games since Baldur's Gate 2 came out and haven't been dissapointed. Except maybe icewind dale. But only that once. I do worry about their purchase by EA though, godless, soul-sucking monstrosity that it is.

dkdk999
dkdk999

i imagine every company should be obsessed with their review scores and such. that seems like a no brainer.