BioWare veep details EA's MMO/RPG group

Greg Zeschuk says Mythic will operate in a fashion similar to developer's Austin studio, studios were "already working side by side" before consolidation.

With a current subscriber base of about 300,000 as of EA's last accounting in May, Mythic Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer Online has put up respectable numbers. However, they pale in comparison to Activision-owned World of Warcraft's 11.5 million subscribers. EA took bold action at the end of June to shake up Warhammer Online's trajectory, parting ways with studio cofounder Mark Jacobs as part of a studio consolidation with EA's crown jewel, BioWare.

Star Wars: TOR isn't likely to see the implementation of cudgels, but who knows?

BioWare VP and creative officer Greg Zeschuk spoke with UK-based gaming site Eurogamer about the newly formed MMO/RPG group in an interview posted today. In it, he said that the consolidation hasn't materially impacted the way the two studios operate.

"I think because we had been already working side by side within EA, we had already been sharing stuff back and forth, so there wasn't any, 'Oh no, now we're forced to share things, how terrible,'" he said. "We'll just continue what we're doing, which is actually sharing technology ideas."

Zeschuk went on to note that it would be a mischaracterization to refer to the consolidation as a merger. Instead, he compared Mythic's autonomy as tantamount to that enjoyed by BioWare's Austin studio, which is crafting the developer's own MMOG, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

"Austin is one of the BioWare studios, but they're very independent," he said. "They manage the internal processes, they run it like a BioWare studio, but in the Austin vision. They've got stuff they're working on, Mythic's got stuff they're working on, and it's going to be a great team there. We've known the people there for quite a while, so in general, they've got their agenda, we've got our goals, they've got their goals."

The BioWare exec went on to note that Mythic will "without a doubt" impart its lessons learned to the Star Wars: TOR team. "We can probably bring perspectives to the table that will be new and perhaps helpful to the guys from Mythic in the same way from an online perspective they can certainly share with us," he said.

In addition to the aforementioned Star Wars MMOG, BioWare is also at work on Dragon Age: Origins, which is expected to ship for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on October 20. BioWare is also prepping the second installment in its sci-fi space opera, Mass Effect 2, for release on Microsoft's platforms in early 2010.

Written By

Want the latest news about Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Follow

Discussion

50 comments
burn6
burn6

holywow. nice merger! i love bioware i love the potential of WAR but was disappointed with the game, with bioware in the same roof with them WAR definitely is going to improve.! now i am seeing the light. great move by EA too bad for mr. jacobs. i expect WAR to improve "massively" this coming weeks. im also planning to go back to the game before this anniversary september ends. WAARGH!!

dg3215
dg3215

This game will not be out until at least late 2011 early 2012

juuhammertime
juuhammertime

I agree with statements made about wow. Wow has become so financially powerful it has a realworld business based on selling digital goods. So much so that other games (any of the perfect worlds and now everquest) have been selling digital goods for their games. EA wants that. They are really at war with activision. If they could make a game that could rival wow they could take alittle spring out of Activision-Blizzard-Vivendi's respective steps. The only problem for them is that blizzard is working on a new mmo, as of yet un-named. Old republic will come out then blizzard will unleash their new mmo awesome and they will do battle.

juuhammertime
juuhammertime

WAR is an excellent MMO by any standard and with bioware's abilities I smell awesome all over this game Sith FTW!

linkspetdragon
linkspetdragon

Lets not forget that a SW MMO has a built-in fanbase because it is Star Wars. Also TOR looks much more interesting than SWG to me and several other SW geeks I've talked to lately. I've never been into MMO's, but I'm looking hard at TOR because it looks more entertaining and more appealing to the SW geek in me. Sheesh. All these abbreviations are making me feel like a 3C2 in the USAF all over again. WTFO.

ghost54321
ghost54321

Carlitos, you never see wow veterans saying "i wont quit wow for it" because they really want to quit wow for another MMO. The problem is, they go and try the other ones but they dont compare to WoW at all so they go back to WoW and wait for another MMO to come out.

CarlitosWay
CarlitosWay

And guys, EA HAS made some pretty impressive and popular games over its time: The Battlefield Series, Crysis, Burnout Paradise, and Half Life, just to name some of the more impressive ones. While i admit they have fallen in some games, we cant judge them off the bat

CarlitosWay
CarlitosWay

@Valas So very true. Same thing that happened to Age of Conan. Sure, if you had the appropriate computer, the looks more impressive than any i have every played. But most people dont have the computer i have, so it definitely turns people off. And as for the WoW example, over the years Bliz has been uping the scale of all the animations, especialy spells. Also, theyre adding in game cutscenes. @ Clawed I dont think you need a very large playerbase to mantain existence. Look at SWG. Its been gonig on 6-7 years, and while its been losing its people, they are still holding its own (decently). Of course, its always better to have a large population, because it makes the game feel more alive. However, some MMOs dont really require you to have a huge server (still, does not make them good games). People really need to let go of this whole "cant compete with WoW" complex. Its funny how the majority of people who say those things DONT PLAY WOW. You never see any WoW veteran on here saying "i wont quit WoW for it".

burn6
burn6

holy sh*t i can't wait for this KOTOR mmo!! go bioware!!

Oni
Oni

Not yet .. I still think Maxis and the Sims series is the crown jewel.

ClawedMonkey
ClawedMonkey

I get the feeling Bioware remains EA's crown jewel because they had the balls to tell them to back the heck off and let them develop their way. Good for them, if only the other development companies EA had sucked up could have done the same, they might actually still be a reputable publisher. Anyway, on the MMO note. Its a tough market to get into, the market share for MMORPGs has pretty much been gobbled up by WoW and a few other MMOs. People with interest in this type of game are pretty much already playing one that they are happy with, or all their friends are playing it. @northArrow: Your right, that for an MMORPG you don't need a 12mil playerbase to be successful, you do need a very large playerbase though. MMORPGs rely on lots of players frequenting every area on every server, otherwise you get the "desolate wasteland" effect.

northArrow
northArrow

I wish people wouldn't feel the need to compare every MMO to WOW. While I enjoy Warcraft myself it's important to note that it's massive commercial success is is an anomaly and not the norm. MMO's don't need to have 12 million subscribers to be profitable or successful. It's like saying there hasn't been a successful album since Micheal Jackson's Thriller

Valas_Azuviir
Valas_Azuviir

@ NightRaVeN75 Unlikely, considering the graphic form used. Plus, Bioware has indicated in the past that they were quite impressed with the hardware scaling used by Blizzard in their work. Older comps being able to run your game = more profit, and when folks slowly upgrade over the years, then you can slowly update your graphical engine as well. Note, to use a WoW example, that both Draenei and Blood Elves have a far higher polygon count than their vanilla WoW counterparts. Same thing occurred again with WotLK, with the engine being tweaked upwards again. Sure, it still isn't no Aion, but the engine was never designed for that in the first place. Unreasonable system specs is one of the things which caused Vanguard to go from WoW-killer to oh that game, is it still running? :P

X3Warrior
X3Warrior

It seems there will be a shift from Fantasy MMOs to sci-fi ones. There are several in development: Jumpgate Evolution, Black Prophecy, and Infinity: Quest for Earth, though the third we won't be seeing for a while. And of course we have Star Wars: The Old Republic coming out, and EVE Online.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

So sad, one of Bioware's co-founders, Greg Zeschuk, has now become a EA corporate shill. How long will he last I wonder.

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

WoW already has almost everyone who wants to play online RPGs. It's just stupid to keep making 10 a year. The Witcher, a single player RPG, sold well over a million copies - Warhammer - 300,000. The PC needs more single player games, if it's going to stay popular as a gaming platform.

NightRaVeN75
NightRaVeN75

Star Wars the Old Republic looks awesome, but I will probably need a better computer to run it...Probably need a computer with like 4GB ram, dual core processor, Nvidia GE force 9600 GT or something like that

gonzalezj1
gonzalezj1

@ Allegedman EA = Unicorn Enough said.

jmartinez1983
jmartinez1983

Mass Effect 2, I will be calling in sick to work for a few days when that comes out.

bschroth
bschroth

why do so many dump on EA for consolidating? with tough economic times upon us and still ahead they need to cut every cost they can. although i think the costs they should cut are the takes of the fat cats at the top who don't do the real work. and give incentives based on sales and performance to workers, not metacritic ratings.

backatcha
backatcha

Bioware rocks. EA, pull your head out of your butt and quit ruining great developer studios.

Gamingguy87
Gamingguy87

I think EA is turning itself around. It seemed they were screwing over developers by taking too much charge on projects. But Mythic and Bioware sound like they work very independently of EA. I guess EA learned if they push developers too hard they get sloppy, buggy, under developed games.

MafiaBroad82
MafiaBroad82

Taking this opportunity to say I CANT WAIT FOR OLD REPUBLIC, DRAGON AGE, OR MASS EFFECT 2.

Cicatraz_ESP
Cicatraz_ESP

Taking this opportunity to say I CANT WAIT FOR OLD REPUBLIC.

dakan45
dakan45

well ea are bad publichers, but its the fact of many worse products simply made them look good.

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

EA are pretty okay nowadays, I think. Lots of good new IPs and quality games.

Barighm
Barighm

Somehow I get the feeling Mass Effect 2 should have been released a lot sooner.

irish4eva
irish4eva

I actually think EA are pretty good publishers. *puts up flame shield*

lutomboy
lutomboy

cool... now dont mess it up

B3tches_Killz
B3tches_Killz

i really hope EA will leave the Star Wars Mmo alone..im gonna cry(not really) if they ruin that game.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

@LiquidSifu80, Not a chance dude. ME2 will be ruined with EA at the helm a great XBOX exclusive gone. I'm dreading C&C 4 because ever since EA got a hold of it, it has been awful, just look at Red Alert 3 and Kane's Wrath. Their was however a supprisingly good game that came from EA and that was Dead Space. I just want EA to realize they are pissing fans off and pretty much everyone hates them.

LiquidSifu80
LiquidSifu80

@ terror ninja Although I feel you are putting it a bit strongly, I do agree to a certain extent. Many games are completely ruined when EA puts their fingers on it. They are commercialized and the soul is taken from them. What's worse, EA is made stronger by the market and by many magazines and websites who promote their games too much. (i.e. which are bought). I just hope that Mass Effect 2 will remain unscathed...

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Cobra5
Cobra5

WAR was OK. I liked combat much much better then WoW, and the classes/races were much better balanced and a *lot* more varied. But the rest of the game held it back. ORvR (Persistent world PVP) is pointless, keeps are very poorly designed and laggy as hell, and there was only one big city per faction.

Inconnux
Inconnux

look how many great developer studios EA has purchased over the years and through micro mismanagment has destroyed... rushing games like Warhammer our before they are ready... hopefully they don't destroy Bioware as well... but what happens when EA forces them to rush out a large product like the Starwars MMO and it flops? I can see EA firing major players in Bioware and EA will be looking for the next company they can buy and destroy. Pessimistic? hmm mythic, bullfrog, westwood studios, Origin, Maxis, Blackbox...

abosh1
abosh1

bioware certainly do make some brilliant games, hopefully it continues!!!

Saije
Saije

LOL, Bioware is like EAs golden child right now. I kinda feel sorry for them, it must be hard to work with all those expectations and pressure on your shoulders. Then again it is Bioware were talking about. I don't think they've ever made a game I don't like. Just do what you do best Bioware.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

My hope is that they go back and continue to rework the parts of WAR that made it falter. I'd love to play Warhammer again, but only if they make it fun for a single player to level in, among other changes. I love the universe. But, if it doesn't get the love it needs, I'll definitely be checking out SW:TOR!

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope something good comes out of this

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

ROFL let go the guy who has created the 2 of the best MMO's yet made. DAOC still has gameplay depth that is unmatched by other MMO's including WHO. But WHO was a great game too. Oh well now EA can get back to doing what they do best, making good games suck.

jazilla
jazilla

yeah right. he makes it sound like its business as usual. if that was the case, mark jacobs would still be in charge of his baby. i feel so bad for that guy. HE was Mythic.

IceJudge
IceJudge

Pretty exciting. Im waiting eagerly for TOR, and i played DAoC for about 4 years a while back. I just pray to God Mythic Keeps its ToA-type-Game-ruining-expansions away from Bioware lol.

The_AI
The_AI

Cool. I've actually gained a lot of respect for EA recently. Activision seems to be the real enemy. :P

Bobzfamily
Bobzfamily

Funny how none of the comments are about the story itself, merely the word 'veep' :p

Kuckies
Kuckies

veep: slang for VP = Vice President