BioWare unveils Texas MMORPG studio

Veteran Canadian developer reveals new Austin shop, first entry into massively multiplayer online role-playing game, new round of hiring.

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When Blizzard Entertainment first announced it was making a massively multiplayer online role-playing game back in 2001, many were skeptical. While seasoned in the genres of role-playing (Diablo) and real-time strategy (Warcraft, Starcraft), the developer was a novice in the MMORPG category. Would it be able to transfer the lessons from its Battle.net online gaming service to a persistent-world game? Or would its title wither in the face of more established franchises like Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest?

Such questions now seem silly, looking back at the unparalleled success enjoyed by the title in question, World of Warcraft. With more than 6 million subscribers, the game was cited as the prime factor for VU Games' remarkable turnaround in fortunes. The long-ailing division of Vivendi Universal, which owns Blizzard, went from a $241 loss in 2004 to a $48.9 million profit in 2005--a whopping $289.9 million one-year jump in earnings.

With that kind of coin on the line, it's little wonder that other veteran developers want in on the growing massively multiplayer market. Today, BioWare Inc., one of the industry's most respected makers of role-playing games, announced it has already begun work on an unnamed MMORPG at a previously undisclosed location--its brand-new Austin, Texas studio. It is the first satellite studio for BioWare, which is headquartered in the Western Canadian city of Edmonton. It also recently merged its corporate hierarchy with that of Pandemic Studios, forming the new super studio BioWare/Pandemic.

Located in a longtime hub of game development, BioWare Austin already has a veteran management team in place. James Ohlen, BioWare's current creative director and former lead designer of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights, will become lead designer at the one-game shop. Richard Vogel, former SOE vice president of product development and a senior producer at Origin when Ultima Online launched, has also been offered a high-ranking position. Also on board is another MMORPG vet, Gordon Walton, a former VP at both SOE and Electronic Arts. The studio is also filling positions for programmers, designers, artists, animators, writers, and world-builders.

"BioWare is committed to a seamless collaboration between our two studios to ensure the same high standards of quality and creativity our dedicated teams have always delivered," said BioWare cofounder and co-CEO Ray Muzyka in a statement. "With our extensive heritage in the role-playing genre, BioWare Austin is extremely well positioned to innovate in the massively multiplayer online space for BioWare's valued community of fans."

BioWare revealed next to no information about its MMORPG project, omitting any mention of an estimated release date, platform, or setting for the game. However, the developer's track record raises all sorts of interesting possibilities. It has developed RPGs with fantasy and sci-fi settings based on original (the forthcoming Dragon Age) and licensed (the Dungeons & Dragons-inspired Neverwinter Nights) properties. Though it got its start in PC development, it has also been responsible for the popular Xbox RPGs Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. It is also working on an all-original sci-fi RPG for the Xbox 360, titled Mass Effect.

Discussion

66 comments
jumalan75
jumalan75

Doesn't Blizzard still have a secret project in the works? I think their own WoW successor is right in the shadows and we will all be surprised...

Albaficas
Albaficas

gamingangsta "Posted Jun 25, 2007 6:27 pm i dont think the ps3 will ever get better games than the 360 " dec,2011 The ps3 has better exclusives,outsold the xbox for2 years straight and next year will surpass it

Rikuide_Furame
Rikuide_Furame

I personally would not enjoy a KotOR MMO (I don't enjoy any MMOs). For two one of KotORs main selling points were: - You controlled what happened - The plot An MMO would not be able to reproduce either of these qualities. That being said, it's Bioware so no doubt, it'll be good.

shinian
shinian

I say KoTOR3 incoming~!

lalous
lalous

I see a Gravestone for WoW engraved R.I.P.W.N.E.D

zetius12
zetius12

KOTOR (Y), I'd love it as it was.

shinian
shinian

I would rather play KoTOR 3 than KoTOR MMO :(

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

I am going to make this real short. I absolutely love KOTOR but I hate MMO games. I think they are stupid. Bring on KOTOR-3.

galaxer99
galaxer99

Bioware, RPG, MMO. This can mean only one thing. Awesome.

gamst3r
gamst3r

gears 2 might beat halo 3 but not gears 1

gamst3r
gamst3r

halo 3 beats gears by 10 times to me anyway but gears does beat halo 2 online

gamingangsta
gamingangsta

i dont think the ps3 will ever get better games than the 360 all their good exclusives lik gta iv and assassins creed are comin 2 the 360

gamingangsta
gamingangsta

i think gears of war will be able to beat evryone favourite shooter which is halo 3

green_ghost1
green_ghost1

this, should be nice, hopefully the 360 will get some of this pie. I have played KOTOR, and jade empire, and both were really fun to play, and I can't wait for mass effect. I think that if anyone is to unseat blizzard , and take a big piece of the MMORPG market, it would be bioware, because all of their games are immersive, and just from playing some of them, and how mass effect is shaping up. these guys are on fire.

loonatik
loonatik

DELTAsnake who plays SWG anymore? lmao

corruptionofmin
corruptionofmin

I will be looking foward to the MMORPG since we all can rely on BIoWare to make a juggernaut of a rpg. Hopefully they will be working with LucasArts on SW:G. Of course I won't get my hopes up or too low. If they do it than we can all happly say "Good-bye" To Sw:G and "Hello" to one of the best SW games ever.

kintzer
kintzer

Awesome! I work in downtown Austin right now. I know where I will be looking for a job!

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I'll be keeping my eye on this. Bioware has become a favorite developer of mine.

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

Some of you are just plain negative..Bio-ware has had great success so I applaud their efforts to giving us another choice in this genre. To all you negative thinkers you'll never amount to anything in life with YOUR attitude. You should always keep trying new things (even if it fails) as long as you don't give up you're bound to succeed.

Jedi_Osborn
Jedi_Osborn

bioware makes some great stuff, this'll be interesting for sure

MASTERCHIEFUSMA
MASTERCHIEFUSMA

if its from Bioware, then its bound to be good. at least i hope so....

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

since bioware and pandemic are technically the same company now, isnt this studio both of theirs?

FuguNabe
FuguNabe

The Baldur's Gate PC series were classic in my opinion. Fallout 1 and 2 were both sweet. The two KOTOR games were both sweet. Jade Empire was nice. Icewind Dale and Neverwinter's Night wasn't bad either. All I can say is whatever it is they doing it will be sweet... I'll wait and see.

radiocreed
radiocreed

The MMO market looks saturated right now, everyone wants a piece of the MMO pie these days.

DELTAsnake
DELTAsnake

I would love to have a KOTOR mmo, I would jump ship from SWG in an instant if Bio could make that.

doomsoth
doomsoth

Thakingk05: "I hate mmorpg's they are boring and time consuming." I agree with you 100%

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

MMORPG? No thanks...

Kfoss
Kfoss

WHOA..cool gameing empire in texas...nice... its good to know that this state...cause i live here...is worth something to the gameing world...LOL..

QuickJ
QuickJ

Just another reason i love my hometown, Austin is where its at people

Paganstar
Paganstar

LOL do not kid yourself Sigma8. Blizzard is a corporation and as such they are around for only one reason... to make money. They are a part of Vivendi and beleive me if they did not make mony V would shut Blizzard down in a heart beat. That is just the way of business. Now maybe that was true of Blizzard back during the day of Warcraft (yes the first one) but no longer. It is all bottom line. If they REALLY wanted to make a really good game they would not have released it in such a horrible state. Hour long queues to get on to a server. Constant crashes, etc. It was one of the worst cases of a game rushed out by suits to cash in on a buck since Battlecruiser 3000

Cartman86
Cartman86

One thing thats good with this is that Bioware has another studio doing it. They can still create their great single player games WITH A STORY for the ones who want them. MMO's take up a lot of realestate.

sigma8
sigma8

Since Blizzard is the _only_ company so far that seems to have released an MMORPG out of (initially) a desire to make a really good MMORPG versus a desire to make a lot of money, I don't think there will be any viable alternatives until another round of wannabes throw themselves onto the spikes of fiscal death... Leaving the businesspeople confused and bewildered why their product didn't make them mega moneys. And before anyone mentions it, Guild Wars doesn't count, since it's neither a traditional MMORPG, nor do you pay monthly. :-P

Sturm08
Sturm08

Cool to think I could move home to Austin to work in games.

Kaos-Angel
Kaos-Angel

^__^ I'm getting my copy of ES4 in 1.5 weeks! Btw, I love D&D, it's sad becaue you can't see a joke! ^___^ Just wondering, what was the last D&D or American RPG to sell as much as Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest? When was the last time an American company made $225,000,000 in a single hour just from preorders? Square did...^__^ and they will again with Final Fantasy XII in 3 days, well 2 days if you live in Japan!

Blazer88
Blazer88

Quote- Kaos-Angel Wow, now I can't wait to see a KOTOR MMO...NOT! Bioware will fail when Square Enix shows off how to make a real RPG and MMO with Final Fantasy XII and Fantasy Earth! Western RPGs just plain suck. First btw... __________________________________________________________ Way to show off your extensive gaming knowledge kid Square really rocked the MMORPG world with ther last attempt huh?Cause we all know that Square didn't borrow form things like D&D PnP(the first RPG ever and was invented in the USA),..or the Ultima series,.or Wizardry,..or Might and Magic,..or Bards Tale,..should I keep going?Should I point out that by the defination RPG Squares games are weak.True RPG's are about freedom to play your character as you see fit and as you wish to play them,...nope sorry they don't hold your hand and guide you on a predetermined path as Jap so called RPG's do.They involve player thought and creativity.And they don't have tp have spectacular,..look at me mainstreamers I look cool and got a whole lotta style graphics niether. Play NWN on a mod sever,..play Morrowind,..or Oblivian,...play the old Ultimas, and oh yeah then your opinion will actually mean something Anyhow now then you've been taken to school junior maybe your should go get your mommy to give your lunch money

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

If BioWare is making it it most likely will turn out real nice and fine.

dru26
dru26

I just hope they work on a Jade Empire II.

yanks26wsw
yanks26wsw

I wonder if it is going to be good

Formula_50
Formula_50

360 will be getting it, so I'm not worried.

Giolon
Giolon

Good things never came out of Gordon Walton being involved...

da_man244
da_man244

Since I currently own two of Bioware games and I loved them both so im hoping this game will be as good. Also im hoping for this game to come out on the 360 as well.