They Operated on your Hearts and Souls!
It’s official- the two kings of gaming are stepping down. Announced via the Bioware Blog today co-founders of Bioware Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk are retiring. Known loving around the industry as the “Doctors” of gaming both men were instrumental in the creation of the modern RPG. From the modernization of party based dialogue in Neverwinter Nights to it’s subisquent advacement in the KOTOR franchise before it’s culmination in Mass Effect.
The news of retirement may not come as a shock to most, as rumors of their retirement in April sprouted (which turns out to be exactly when they tendered their resignation). As to why the Kings of RPG’s deigned to leave their thrones? Here’s what Ray has to say:
I feel the need now to move on to a new chapter in my career. With the growth of BioWare to multiple locations as part of a public company, following two decades of multiple successful product launches across many platforms and business models, I’ve largely personally achieved what I wanted in videogames; I now desire to take on a brand new entrepreneurial challenge. I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next ‘chapter’ will likely focus on an entirely new industry, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary – investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing. There’s a good description of the goals of this form of entrepreneurship here. Impact investment, or social entrepreneurship, can range from simply thinking about social goals along with the usual business profit goals, all the way to a dedicated focus on a social entrepreneurship portfolio with the social impact defined as the primary goal. For me, getting involved in social impact investment stems from the simple hope of helping the world to be a better place. To that end, I’ll also be spending time getting involved with more charities in education, health care, and animal rights, areas where my wife and I’ve typically focused our charitable donations in the past. I am also spending more time learning about the work being done to defend human rights and civil liberty across the world. Net, I am passionate about both entrepreneurship and social liberty, and I want to find a way to pursue both of them.
Most of these same sentiments are echoed by Greg but he will undertaking an entirely different (and seemingly delicious) endeavor.
Some of you will be curious what I’ll be doing next, and I can state that I’m not going to be working in games for a while, and there’s a strong possibility that I won’t be back. After my departure I’m going to be spending significant time with family and friends, as well as pursuing some personal passion-driven 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. 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.
All in all this signifies an end to an era, but already critics of Bioware are hailing this as the dreaded results of corporatism. Citing Bioware partnership with gaming giant EA as “responsible” for souring these visionaries to the industry. While there is not substantive proof of this from Bioware or the Doctors a follow up blog post by Aaryn Flynn (GM of Bioware Edmonton and Montreal) has some big news for all of our favourite Bioware franchises:
• DRAGON AGE 3: Inquisition – Yesterday, we announced that BioWare is now developing the next chapter of the Dragon Age series. Executive Producer Mark Darrah and our teams have been meeting with fans about what they want in a new Dragon Age game. I love spending time with the Dragon Age team as they work on Inquisition. The thought-provoking discussions, the fun, and most of all, the discovery of what’s possible on a new engine is both exhilarating and humbling.
• MASS EFFECT – Executive Producer Casey Hudson and his team are coming off an amazing eight-year run with the Mass Effect trilogy. But they’re not done yet. We are releasing more multiplayer content and we have more single-player stories coming throughout the next six months, including Omega which is coming in the Fall. But the Mass Effect universe is vast, and Casey and our teams have plans for another full game. “Where to go next?” with such a project has been a question a lot of us have been asking, and we’d all love to hear your ideas.
• BRAND NEW GAMES FROM BIOWARE – Both Dragon Age and Mass Effect started as single games but grew into vast universes. But we aren’t stopping there. While Casey continues to oversee the development of our new Mass Effect project, he and his leads are putting together their vision for an all new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology.