It hasn’t been a good few years for Bioware. Now fully part of the EA gestalt, the once infallible Bioware name has been a little tarnished by the poor reception to Dragon Age 2, an explosion of nerdrage at the ending of Mass Effect 3 and low subscriber numbers for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
This rough patch is now rounded off by the end of an era, with the company’s founders not only retiring from EA but from gaming entirely. Doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk both announced their departure from the company via blog posts, with Muzyka off to mentor and support a new generation of entrepreneurs, focusing on projects designed to have a social impact.
Zeschuk on the other hand is off to involve himself in the world of craft brewing, with plans to launch a raft of beer related projects, starting with an online interview show called The Beer Diaries.
This departure really does mark the end of one of the most significant partnerships in gaming. Bioware was initially formed by the two Doctors, back when they were actual practicing medical professionals. In the intervening years the company has been responsible for some of the greatest titles in gaming history – Baldurs Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic being some of the biggest. Despite recent controversies, the Bioware name stands tall in the RPG world, alongside other luminaries like Interplay and Black Isle Studios.
With the founders gone, that isn’t the end for Bioware. The third of last night’s blog posts came from the general manager of Bioware Edmonton and Montreal, Aaryn Flynn, who praised the founder then quickly started sounding the “everything’s ok” alarm, highlighting not only the recent announcement of Dragon Age 3: Inquisition (and its promises to take the criticisms of DA 2 onboard) but also the fact that Mass Effect spearhead Casey Hudson is not only overseeing the development of a new game set in the Mass Effect universe, but also an entirely new IP (odds are that we won’t hear anything about this until he next generation consoles are announced).
This is certainly the end of an era for one of the most interesting game developers of past decades, and the gaming industry will be a little poorer without Muzyka and Zeschuk. Here’s hoping that Bioware can recover from its stumbles in recent times and return to the beloved status of years gone by.