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.

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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 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."

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