BioWare founders retire

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka leave role-playing game studio and industry entirely after 17 years; BioWare general manager says culture will endure.

BioWare founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka have retired from the role-playing game studio they founded together in 1995. This news comes just a month after parent company Electronic Arts squashed rumors of the pair's departure from the firm.

BioWare will live on without its founders.

BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Montreal general manager Aaryn Flynn commented on the pair's departure, saying BioWare will not fade away.

"Ray and Greg built BioWare to last," reads a line from the statement. "They’ve always known their retirement would come one day, so they developed a team of people who would ensure their standards and culture would endure. We’ll humbly carry that torch and continue learning in the process."

In a detailed blog post, Muzyka explained that he made the "incredibly difficult decision" to leave BioWare in April, at which time he gave parent company Electronic Arts six months' notice so as to facilitate a smooth transition. Muzyka said he is leaving the industry entirely, and is planning to involve himself with social impact endeavors, like getting involved with charities in education, health care, and animal rights.

"I am passionate about both entrepreneurship and social liberty, and I want to find a way to pursue both of them," he said.

Though Muzyka is leaving the gaming industry, he said he remains passionate about the entertainment medium, and is excited to play new BioWare games "purely as a fan." Muzyka also revealed that a new Mass Effect project is in "early development" at BioWare, though he did not share further details.

"It is a dynamic and truly exciting time in videogames, and it is reassuring to know that BioWare and its teams as a division of EA will continue to play a vibrant and important role in this industry," he said. "Frankly, I’m quite excited by the thought of being able to play the next generation of BioWare games purely as a fan."

Muzyka also noted that his departure from EA was amicable.

"[EA] and its management team have been consistently supportive of BioWare’s culture and commitment to quality and creativity," he said.

In his own farewell post, Zeschuk explained that his decision to leave BioWare--and like Muzyka, the industry entirely--was made with "significant pain and regret." Ultimately, though, he said he needed to leave BioWare for himself and his 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," he said. "For the people I have had the privilege of working with, however, my passion burns as brightly as it did the day we started."

As for where Zeschuk is headed, he said he will not be working in the industry for a long time, and that there is a "strong possibility" that he may never return. He said he is planning to spend time with his family and friends, and will also pursue projects related to craft beer.

"The main project I will be working on is a web-based interview show called The Beer Diaries where I interview notable brewers and showcase their beers," he said. "If things go well, I’ll work on other beer-related shows, apps and projects. If not, I’ll have drunk a lot of tasty beers and may be back in games or even something else completely different. Ultimately time will tell."

Flynn added that gamers need not worry that the departure of Zeschuk and Muzyka from BioWare will affect the studio moving forward. He said the company is "solid" and prepared to take on a "new era of games."

"Love of games, respect for the players, teamwork, and integrity--those are the hallmarks of a culture built by Ray and Greg," Flynn said. "It started in their hearts and minds, ran through their daily actions, and resonated deeply in the people that joined them in their remarkable journey. And now with their retirement, the creative teams at BioWare Edmonton & Montreal are ready to carry on that legacy."

Finally, Flynn confirmed that BioWare "has plans" for a brand new Mass Effect game, as well as an entirely new intellectual property set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom up on "all new gaming technology."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

518 comments
dirtywizard73
dirtywizard73

Plus if we want to stop rampant corporatism from destroying the video game industry we have to stop supporting large publishing companies like EA who are only concerned with profit margins by refusing to purchase their products

dannyqt18
dannyqt18

Dunno why everyone is so sad, i'm happy they left, now they can start doing what they used to be very good at... till EA baught them.

jim008
jim008

A lot of people here bashing on EA but let's be honest, these guys were taking the company down fast.  They completely bombed their three best franchises.  Dragon Age 2 is just awful if you're a Dragon Age Origins fan.  Mass Effect 3 is almost as watered down as Dragon Age 2 and I couldn't even finish the game before getting bored.  Star Wars was amazing until they bombed the MMO, I quit that after the first month because they continually put out new content without ever fixing the major bugs. 

 

It's about time to bring in some new blood to try and save this company.  No too many developers stick around when they bomb their games but these guys stayed for 3 of them.  They set the bar pretty low for who ever is coming to take their place.

 

Their games sold because people like me just blindly purchased them thinking it would be an improved franchise.  I certainly would never pre-order a bioware game again and will wait to see if it's not messed up before buying.

pino4545
pino4545

That's the same thing they said when the Call of duty founders left over at Infinity ward,

now look what its become, virtually unchanged since their last title which is MW3, all new titles are treyarch games and it shows. 

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

Gotta give those two some credit, even thought there was a complication with last releases they DID raised an awesome company that lasted 17 years to now. But what worries me the most is that "new era of games", without those two I see Bioware taking a straight leap towards cheap money-grabbing business, if EA didn't took over before now is certainly the big time oportunity for extreme milking. 

TheWarpLynx
TheWarpLynx

My favorite video game company, which I got to know through "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic," no longer has its founders working there. This is sad news to me. It was through that game that the world of RPGs opened up for me. It was that game and Star Wars lore that encouraged me to try the genre and made me appreciate it. I don't think I would play RPGs if I hadn't played that game. I've always liked how their games taught newcomers how to play and I wish BioWare remains alive and keeps its promise to " 'humbly carry that torch and continue learning in the process' ." 

Alexrmf
Alexrmf

I guess everyone sees this for what it actually is... these guys left because they didn't like the direction the company they created was taking after EA acquired it. they should make a super-developer company with the guys from Obsidian.. these guys can attract powerful investors and Obsidian can create great games if thy get enough time and money

drgribb
drgribb

Dayum.  That's a loss.  These guys were giants.  nothing stays stays gold forever i suppose

tgwolf
tgwolf

Impossible! Pros shouldn't be allowed to retire!

blackothh
blackothh

in other words, EA has strangled the life out of Bioware, and they cant stand to see their creation self destruct.

 

i hope they move on to put their creative talent to work where it can be appreciated again.

 

P.S.  Good job EA lying previously about them leaving

guirunkaryyk
guirunkaryyk

This surprises no one. Bioware is now Bioware in name only. 

optimus349
optimus349

WOW I DIDNT SEE THIS COMING REALLY EA has finally got ridden off biowares founder now they will get rid off bioware last bastion off epic single player RPG is gone "THANK YOU EA FOR SINGLE HANDLY RUINING EVERY ASPECT OF OUR GAMING CULTURE MAY ALL YOUR FUTURE CHILDREN BE BORN IN 8-BIT GRAPHICS"

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

And so one of EA's biggest pillars collapses.

Barrakas21
Barrakas21

when will we learn EA is bad news...

samedizombie
samedizombie

Dear oh dear. So may complainers, whinging and whining. Please leave via the nearest available exit.

theKSMM
theKSMM

Retiring...must be nice...

alenth
alenth

Another factor who destroyed Bioware in the end apart of EA:  Whiners complaining about stupid things.

berserker66666
berserker66666

I will say this though, Bioware has turned into Biowhore for EA.

berserker66666
berserker66666

Typical. Sure, now that EA's done milking from Biowhore, they make a hasty "Exit, Stage left". Any dealings with EA will go horribly wrong for everyone. EA = Egotistical Assholes.

orbit991
orbit991

It was a bit sad watching them become BS marketing mouth pieces for EA justifying mistakes made and blaming the players. Looks like they got their heads straight again and left that shitty company. Bioware was mostly dead, not the final nail has hit the coffin. Would not be surprised to see them starting something new, good luck guys and glad you got your integrity back.

zbarfbag
zbarfbag

damn that craft beer plan sounds pretty good to me ...wish i could retire and drink beers all day..they made some bad ass games at bioware...good luck to both of them

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

So it's finally official...Well done Ray and Greg.You single handedly formed BioWare which gave birth to literally the best of the RPGs in Video Gaming History and then you single handedly destroyed this name by selling yourselves to EA.I wonder if you ever believed even for a few seconds that this collaboration would have ended differently.Did you really think that EA would interrupt and bastardize your work?Well now you see the answer to that.You rip what you sow and of course there's not a meaning in Creating RPGs when the core creators are gone.It won't be BioWare anymore...It will Bio or Ware or anything else but BioWare...May the name BioWare and the endeavors of it's founders RIP... Now CD Projekt Red will fill in the blank spot of the RPG GODLIKE Creators.

CarlitosWay
CarlitosWay

While others are just here to complain about EA and the paths Bioware has taken with their IPs, i personally wish these two the best in the future. It was they who brought the company to its high point, and it was they who brought us the great games we know and love. If their desire are indeed honest, and they are leaving the industry for personal projects and family, then i hope they enjoy themselves. The whole Beer Diaries thing sounds pretty cool.

 

Its a shame to see them go, but its not like anyone expected them to bury themselves in the BW offices. People have side projects and ambitions aside from their careers they want to pursue. 

Hakkology
Hakkology

Sad... Very, truly sad...

 

These two people worked on everything that i loved about video games in their past. Even though recent projects they worked on didn't turn out too well, respect must be paid for these men.

 

Growing up with their games like Neverwinter, Baldur's Gate, KOTOR and Jade Empire has been awesome.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

The Bioware culture does not appear to endured after EA purchased them. Though PR will say everything the same, gamers see the differences between before and after EA. these guys are probably using kind words so that they future careers are protected, but I'm assuming EA management was a large factor in them deciding to leave.

fieryermine
fieryermine

I wouldn't be surprised to see them un-retire and show up elsewhere developing a new IP without EA looking over their shoulders. I mean, it seems somewhat odd that they'd both retire at the same time almost exactly 5 years after EA bought them out. With the cash they probably have at this point they could take their time and do an awesome job. Here's hoping anyway. 

nyran125
nyran125

"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," he said. EDIT" and now i just want to smoke crack and hang out with mates and drink piss for once in my life and not work 16 hours a day.Take the children bowling , get fat and watch The Simpsons repeats"

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I'll admit that there are other developers I'd be more upset about seeing leave the industry, but I am worrying about the future of Bioware's games now that they've gone. I definitely think they'll be taken advantage of by EA and their games will become a bit cut 'n' paste. I'm naturally cynical, so forgive me for saying that Muzyka's reasons for leaving strike me as a little 'I've made a shit-tonne of money so now I'm going to buy my way to be a socialite'. I hope Zeschuk makes the most of the early days he spends with his family, as they might not want to share his company once he starts getting wasted 24/7. Lucky sod.

Poncho_Hachacha
Poncho_Hachacha

Well this is disappointing news. I haven't been much into their recent games under EA, but their studios are responsible for a bunch of my all time fav games. Regardless, good luck to them moving forward.

whodagoose
whodagoose

Bioware destroyed by EA  = Origin Systems destroyed by EA = History repeating itself = no surprise

artyom570568
artyom570568

when i played the first Mass Effect and Dragon Age i was very excited and loved them very much.

when i played the second Mass Effect and Dragon Age i couldn't believe my eyes... they turned great games in to a piece of shit..and the third mass effect finished it for me....i will no longer buy Bioware's games...RIP BIOWARE

 

MrOmega2
MrOmega2

I love all the complaints about the evilness of EA.

 

Guys, it doesn't matter how warranted the comments about EA are(and most of them are probably right), EA isn't going to change anything until we stop buying their games, that is the only thing that will make them change.

 

I don't mean their bad games from ruined franchises either, I mean ALL of their games, that means none of the sports games either.

 

Since that is unlikely to happen, what  is the point of constantly posting how evil they are? EA doesn't read it, EA doesn't care, as long as money is coming out of your wallet, they never will care.

GreyWolf217
GreyWolf217

 @TheWarpLynx One of my fondest memories, 11 yrs old first time playing KOTOR 1 at a friends house till 5am checking my inventory for things to sell and then deciding where to fly off to next only to wonder why the freaking sun is coming up.  I feel like those kinds of memories made Bioware who they are today and that sadly they may have lost the ability to tell a story that draws you in till the sun comes up.  They got me just wanting to see the Ebon Hawk again, just wanting to believe.

libbi68
libbi68

 @TheWarpLynx totally agree with you, would not be playing SWTOR right now if it wasn't for KOTOR

blackothh
blackothh

 @samedizombie if you dont understand what we are "whining" about, then i suggest you to be the one that leaves

Hrodwulf666
Hrodwulf666

That achieves nothing mate... nothing. 

bobhome2
bobhome2

 @alenth Definitely. Everybody should just buy crappy games and not complain. It isn't like a company will ever release an Extended Cut to correct some tiny bit of the problem. Yep. Never happened.

WakizashiSabre
WakizashiSabre

Agreed totally. When I have seen GS news. The statement sound clearly as PR crap, so the EA came out as a good guy. I still do not believe those are gone.

 

Would you leave your child? No. Even so, they could stay in company at some low time consuming position. Would make perfect sense, if they want to do another things.  @Hvac0120

sodiumpentathol
sodiumpentathol

 @MrOmega2 Personally I have nothing against EA. The developers choose their publisher, after all. If anything, they're to blame.

Though, ultimately, I think we have the console market is to thank for all this publishing nonsense.

alenth
alenth

 @bobhome2 Please read my comment again, if people buy bad games is their fault for going in the hype train (see the D3 example), in the internet casual era of games everyone wants to get things in hotfixes to play the game in their own way, some fixes are needed others don't, proper feedback is always good, but now gamers are not the priority for these companies and we are not the target audience anymore like the old days, the ME3 case just proved how some people can take things to the extreme, complaining in proper ways is right, the game ending was a legit concern and was a complete letdown a fix was needed (there was amazing feedback on the bioware forums) but you should consider too that some people are just abnormal and irrational when they show their complaints (canceling charity donations, horrible insults to that chick in the BO staff, etc), taking things to the extreme never benefits anyone, this is my opinion, i hope you can understand it :)

snxx
snxx

 @Volgin And that's supposed to relieve us? :)

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@sodiumpentathol @MrOmega2 Not every developer gets to choose their publisher. Some developers are created/owned by the publisher, and some of the independent ones that are bought by a publisher are sometimes unfortunately sold out by stackholders who may not take an active role in the day-to-day running of a studio. Then there are those developers who may not have a choice in publisher. If you've committed loads of time and money into making your dream a reality, then only get one interested publisher, what are you going to do?

MrOmega2
MrOmega2

 @Volgin You raise some good points.

 

I think that where EA and Activision go wrong is not that they are making games for casual gamers, the problems is that they are trying to please everyone at once. Making a casual game isn't a problem, its when they take a game with a very particular fanbase and tack on features to make it casual friendly.

 

It isn't entirely their fault, of course, the cost of making games has gone through the roof as technology has improved and the more money they pour into a game, the more money they need to make off of it and therefore the more people they need to appeal to, which leads to not a few games with features that seem like they are part of several different games.

 

Its not impossible to combine both, I personally thought the Mass Effect series, on the whole, did an excellent job of fusing its RPG and Shooter elements, but it is difficult, the attempting to please everyone pisses a lot of people off.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@Aydenuille Nope. I'm pretty sure I know what popped into my head better than you. Who the hell is Robert Stark anyway?

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I meant stockholders. For some reason Robert Stack popped into my head. :-L