Big news out of BioWare this morning. According to an internal meeting with the studio’s highest personnel, and of course a public address by BioWare themselves, company co-founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka have announced their retirement from not only BioWare, but the gaming industry as a whole.
Often referred to as “The Doctors”, due to their medical degrees, Zeschuk, Muzyka and Augustine Yip founded BioWare in 1995 in order to establish a world class game studio specialising in a mutual passion: role playing video games. Them and their team came to fame with the widely regarded classic Baldur’s Gate, growing further with Baldur’s Gate 2 and Neverwinter Nights. In 2003 the studio took a break from the Dungeons & Dragons license to develop Knights of the Old Republic, a favourite among many Star Wars fans, and a new intellectual property in the ancient China inspired Jade Empire.
Over the course of the current generation, BioWare has made numerous strides shaping the company’s business structure and portfolio. Perhaps most importantly, the studio as a whole was acquired by publisher Electronic Arts in 2007, making them a full subsidiary though retaining the same name. In addition to this, BioWare founded two new properties: the science fiction Mass Effect and dark fantasy Dragon Age. Since the acquisition the former has seen a complete trilogy, and the latter two titles with a third, Dragon Age III: Inquisition on the way. Additionally, BioWare launched its very first full scale MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic, a multiplayer focused spiritual success to their Knights of the Old Republic series.
As it stands, the departure of Zeschuk and Muzyka leaves BioWare absent of it’s original founders, as Yip left back in 1997 for a career in medicine. Both Zeschuk and Muzyka have issued statements (here and here respectively) to explain their departure, both noting a growing disinterest in the video game industry as a whole, and each retiring to spend more time with their families and friends.
Not to leave BioWare’s future in doubt, a second statement has been issued detailing what the studio intends to get up to over the next couple of years. As mentioned, Dragon Age will continue at an unspecified date with Dragon Age III: Inquisition, meanwhile Mass Effect 3 will see a new single player and multiplayer content, included an Omega themed mission pack in Spring. The company also confirms that an entirely new Mass Effect title is in the works. Lastly, regular producer Casey Hudson is heading a whole new project to establish yet another intellectual property, though when we’ll see this game is a mystery to all of us. Our bets are on next generation.
While we wait, Rocket Chainsaw would like to thank Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka for their contribution to BioWare projects over the years, and wish them the best in the years to come.