EA squashes rumors of BioWare co-founders departure

Publisher says Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka are still with company, but Zeschuk is taking time off and considering new projects.

Electronic Arts has squashed rumors that BioWare's Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Dr. Ray Muzyka had left the studio they co-founded.

Zeschuk and Muzyka on the day of The Old Republic's launch.

Earlier this week, German site GamersGlobal reported on rumors that Zeschuk and Muzyka had jumped ship after the disappointing launch of BioWare's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic. The site noted that Zeschuk's LinkedIn profile had been updated to say he had ended his stint as general manager of BioWare Austin in May of this year. (It still lists him as presently employed in the position of BioWare co-founder.) In addition, GamersGlobal attributes a "trusted source" at BioWare Austin with information that neither Zeschuk nor Muzyka was present at a company-wide meeting last week and that Zeschuk actually hadn't been seen at the studio for weeks.

An EA representative denied the rumors to GameSpot, saying, "When Greg Zeschuk announced the reorganization of BioWare Austin in May, he outlined his plan to return to his family in Edmonton for a much deserved vacation. Greg also announced the new GM of BioWare Austin and SWTOR, Matt Bromberg. Greg is still with EA. He's now back in Canada, taking time off and thinking about new projects. No changes with Dr. Ray."

The Old Republic launched in December of 2011 and quickly gained a subscriber base of 1.7 million. However, that figure has since fallen below 1 million, and BioWare Austin sustained a number of layoffs along with its restructuring. As for the game, EA is converting it from a subscription-based business model to free-to-play, with the transition expected to happen in full this fall.

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248 comments
sonicare
sonicare

Those guys may just be getting tired.  They cashed out huge on Bioware when they sold themselves to EA. 

kiopta1
kiopta1

I don't think they are leaving but it would be interesting to see what they would have  come up with had they left to start of new company...then again the industry is so tough I doubt they would make it even if they made something amazing.

musalala
musalala

Given the legendary status of EA"s PR  Bullsh#tting I find this comment extremely suspect , KOTOR failed to be the WOW killer it was hyped to be

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

How the mighty have fallen. You know what they say: you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas. 

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

After playing Heavy Rain, I really don't think that highly of Biowares "choice driven" games. Anyone can die in Heavy Rain, but the story just keeps moving forward, and it has multiple endings. Mass Effect was mostly just gimmicks when it came to player choice. How big of an impact did the "major choice" at the end of ME2 really have in the next game? And choice is almost non-existent at the end of ME3, even with the extended cut. Bioware is a great developer, but the choices really don't make much of a difference.

Ghosthunter54
Ghosthunter54

Anyone else notice that everything EA touches dies?

kayos539
kayos539

Start a new company and make that Jade Empire sequel already.

tgwolf
tgwolf

I was always naively under the assumption that EA and WoW came along in the 21st Century...now that I think of it and having played .hack// and reviewing Tron movies I am almost convinced that they were the origin of ALL things evil. I'm sure Satan became Satan because he worked for EA after kicking his WoW habit the first time!

cfstar
cfstar

I would've preferred if he leaved and founded his own company... I don't think BioWare has no talent left, i can feel some ambition in their latest games, but the execution is rushed and lacking in detail. DA2, Tortanic(i can't call it anything else, lol) and ME3 wouldn't have been completely different games, obviously, but i think something with more care would've come up if EA hadn't put their hands on them. Course, BioWare were already going with the reduction of RPG elements before EA bought them(Jade Empire), but that's not necessarily bad if done correctly.

 

But oh well, even if that never happens, we have CD Projekt now.

naydub
naydub

Those two have most likely endured a crisis of conscience. The idea of security is fine, but self-reliance breeds innovation. 

I won't say Bioware got lazy, but it appears they didn't maintain that same level of proficiency they showed up until ME 2.

Some folks complained about KOTOR 2. I was one of them, but I understand that it was used to fund ME 1 and Jade Empire.

They had a company that set trends; not defined by them. I would bet a steak dinner that the Doc and the Dr. spent many a day shaking their heads in disgust at many of the decisions they allowed EA to make.

Step out fellas get back out there on your own. The market will support good games. When you're ready, we'll be waiting with open wallets. 

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

Why would the co-founders of Bioware leave because TOR stinks? Wouldn't the lower level people leave?

 

"Crap, the huge game we made is a huge flop!"

"We better bail on our company!"

CommodoreRaslin
CommodoreRaslin

Whether or not they left is completely immaterial.

 

Bioware has already proven that they ran out of the secret sauce which caused us to become addicted to their games in the first place.

vault-boy
vault-boy

Start bitching about Mass Effect ending in 3...2...1... now.

jdt532
jdt532

I wish those guys would leave and start a new studio outside of the control of EA. Maybe Drew Karpyshyn and Brent Knowles could be their first hires. We can hope....

strayfies
strayfies

That's too bad, those guys could probably deal a lot of good IP without EA pumping it for DLC / brainless sequels. 

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I am glad Dr. Zeschuck is taking time off and thinking about new projects. Why don't they make an RPG about medicine? I mean, they are doctors; surely there are interesting stories to be told about that.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

Please....

 

Mass Effect 3....93 Metacritic, 70+ Scores, highest reveiwed game of the year, second highest reviewed mainstream EA game of all time (Mass Effect 2 is #1).

 

Face it, the game is a success, its the vocal minority that doesn't like it.

 

And please, for all those who say ME3 was rushed, it had more development time than ME2 did. And don't tell me ME1 wasn't rushed by Microsoft to the 360 for the holidays...You know, the obvious beta ME1 was, or the copy and paste planets and dungeons.

 

And DAO wasn't exactly finished and polished either.

KristoffBrujah
KristoffBrujah

Seems Bioware is following the typical EA crumble dance. Sad times for those of us who still have the boxes of the original BG. They were the company that first introduced me to CRPG and I will forever be grateful. But those times are over and sadly this is probably Bioware hitting the downslope. The crash is coming unless they get creative. Thank God I have Bethesda and CD Projekt Red.

xMoonDevilx
xMoonDevilx

So basically.....physically they are still with the company, even though on vacation....but mentally, they have long departed?

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

They probably sold the company to EA with a contract to stay on for a set amount of years before they left, like most startups that get bought out

prismtech
prismtech

Maybe it is not a bad choice for Zeschuk and Muzyka to depart. Everything is simpler when it's back to square one.

blue_francis14
blue_francis14

Who owns the Dragon Age Origin and Mass Effect ip?

Darkeus
Darkeus

Right, sounds like PR to me."No.  They are not gone, that is silly."All the while looking at the empty offices....  Yeah, they are gone.

twztid13
twztid13

I knew this was going to happen soon. The Doctors care about their customers & go to extra legths to make sure their games' stories are 100% cohesive & driven by player choice. Those things are missing from ME3 for the most part, so I bet it was a 'Casey Hudson project". This will mark the end of a great era in story & choice in gaming, unfortunately, as they are irreplaceable, imho.

Vojtass
Vojtass

Oh well, BioWare's era is ending. CD Projekt RED is a rising star now.

sune_Gem
sune_Gem

The only game I've been dissapointed in with BioWare of late is Dragon Age 2. Yes, I was dissapointed when I seen the ending to Mass Effect 3, but I wasn't dissapointed in the game as a whole, not by a longshot.

XIntoTheBlue
XIntoTheBlue

I have been disappointed by BioWare ever since they sold their souls to EA. With the exception of the original Dragon Age (since that was in development for a long while before EA was around), I did not like any further products. After playing the second Dragon Age, I was like, "What sort of POS is this? Coming from a legendary developer?" I hate developers who are owned by publishers a lot. I think it removes a lot of diversity in games.

 

Even if Greg and Ray split off and do their own thing, I am doubtful I'd want anything they make. Hell, look at what they condemned BioWare to?

Ocard69
Ocard69

this is the problem with big publishers owning once independent studios. They crush their creativity and they suffer burnout. The Mass Effect trilogy got worse, we got The Old Republic MMO instead of KOTOR 3 because an MMO brings in subscription money as well.

 

Look what happened to Bungie. Halo 3 and Reach were good, but they were not revolutionary like the first game. They were burned out. Luckily, the whole studio left Microsoft, rather than just the founders, and while they have an agreement with Activision (the worst of the big publishers) they remain independent.

 

Infinity Ward is a similar, yet more bizarre, deal. West and Zampella were sure to leave to pursue greener creative pastures if they hadn't been fired. They are working with EA now. WITH is the operable word here. Some might think "FOR", but it is "WITH" and they retain creative independence. I guess that comes along with first creating an entertain IP, and the achieving commercial success over a span of time with said IP. Past accomplishments can grant freedom to be creative again, on their own terms.

 

 

While we have yet to see anything new from Bungie, or know what West and Zampella are working on, I'd bet on it being creative, but not necessarily succesful. Taking risks is one of the first things that goes out the window at these large publishers.

 

THANK GOD Take Two fought off that take over bid. Can you imagine EA or Activision giving Rockstar 5 years to produce GTA V, and not make a spin off or something every year in between numeric releases (I really would have liked spinoffs in the vein of vice city or San Andreas, but I will take quality over quantity any day). hopefully the can avoid the creative spirit crushing other (much larger) publishers exhibit.

 

TRUST ME. THIS IS GOOD NEWS.

 

Fresh blood on Mass Effect and KOTOR might be good news too, but not if EA has anything to say about it.

 

I don't understand EA and Act/bllizz. They have such bad PR... You would think it would hurt sales. But maybe it isn't, so they know they can go on being bullies and creative oppressors and still make a tonne of cash.

 

Sorry for my Canadian spelling.

Mimicry
Mimicry

 

 Reap what you sow Bioware. Reap what you sow.

danmanpro
danmanpro

I guess I shouldn't be holding my breath for Dragon Age 3 then.

jchristenberry
jchristenberry

Thats a real bummer to see the user base fall below 1 mil.  I really like this game.  I think if they spent less time making you push through all the annoying side missions and more time on the core story of your character, it would have been a much more enjoyable experience.  Or not an MMO.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Only a matter of time before Bioware is Bioware in name only. EA have already got rid of a lot of good staff members, forced Bioware to work in ways which they wouldn't ordinarily have done, and then with ToR about to die a slow, painful death, I can't see the founders sticking around.

 

Why would they? Go found Bioware 2, and release KOTOR 3, Jade Empire 2, and BG2 with modern technology.

vadagar1
vadagar1

damnit bioware is still a sith lord apprentice, I sense a disturbance in the force.....

Frost259
Frost259

Well guess all it takes is a crappy ending (Mass Effect 3) a stupid MMO (SWTOR) and a rushed half assed sequel (Dragon Age 2) to bring down what used to be my personal fav dev. Oh and of course whatever the hell that Sonic RPG was, anyone else remember that lol.

Lamachina
Lamachina

it would be cool if it were true. perhaps it will be soon. i'd like to see bioware/ea colapse more. it  renews my faith in gamers to see that makers of bad games are not rewarded

tgwolf
tgwolf

They didn't, however, squelch any indication of WHAT keeps that unholy pact in force...

thebeasle
thebeasle

We can all lament the death of BioWare (and I do). But can you blame Zeschuk and Muzyka? They built a great studio and brand and cashed out for a ton of money I'm sure. They may have been exausted and losing their creative edge anyway.

 

Will Wright did the same thing and he's still a hero of mine.

 

Zeschuk and Muzyka were seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. They ceased to be BioWare and "became" EA. When that happened, the good company that was BioWare was destroyed.

Albaficas
Albaficas

those bioware staff how left or got kicked out should join  CD Projekt RED

it seems they are the only who can make quality RPG today

 

and plz dont bother to mention bugthesda thx

Albaficas
Albaficas

i didnt know that 2+ mil wasnt a success launch lol but anw.

 

all i want to say and gamespot can ban me for all i care is F@CK YOU EA for ruining a such great company bioware once were.

MoreThot
MoreThot

I remember in a galaxy far away and long ago... Electronic Arts (what it was known by back then) actually made fun and good games. Now, lets put it this way. EA is satan for the gaming industry and Activision the main minion. But oh well, the good old days are over... 100+ games released a year and only about 4 or 5 are actually good and memorable. This is the sad world we live in today. Its all quantity > quality.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

This is good to hear. Bioware is one of my favorite developers. But I'd feel more comfortable actually hearing this from Ray and/or Greg. EA could just be putting up a smokescreen to delay the impending riot that will happen on teh internets if this ends up being true.

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

Oh oh! I've heard this one before, now all we need is for Joker to come strolling in and throw a quill pen in EA's neck and we can call it a scene.

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

Just like all the other dead studios. EA always fired the leader if the game didn't do as well as expected. Just look at Warhammer Online MMORPG. The boss was fired after the game tanked. It would be news if the two doctors didn't get fired.

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

This sounds like Westwood Studios all over again.  Bioware is done.  I say in two years they will be liquidated.  I'd feel sorry over their recent misfortunes, since they have made some of the most enjoyable games in the past, but they embraced the EA purchase in the beginning.  They wanted to take a shortcut, sell their shares and make a quick buck.  They brought this upon themselves.

deathstream
deathstream

BioWare was going downhill before they went to EA.  Anyone bashing EA but supporting Activision, Bethesda or 2K is a bandwagon-hopping sheep.

Joeguy00
Joeguy00

I actually just remembered to cancel my Dead Space 3 / Crysis 3 pre-orders (80 euros total) and I bought Dishonored, Darksiders II and Borderlands 2 (80 euros total) instead.

 

Not arguing about the games quality or anything, they look rather good; however I forgot I was avoiding EA titles till I see them giving BioWare proper development time. Think I came off well anyhow. Not that I made a dent in their wallets mind.