LFG: Mythic and Bioware Merged By EA

By Jim Rossignol on June 24th, 2009 at 5:42 pm.


Big business announcement day, then. EA will merge Mythic and Bioware to create a new MMO and RPG division. The new division will apparently be headed by BioWare boss Ray Muzyka, while BioWare’s other co-founder, Greg Zeschuk, will become Group Creative Officer. Mark Jacobs, the outspoken boss at Mythic, will apparently be leaving the company, and has made no announcement about future plans.

This internal rejiggery will not affect any of the Bioware games currently in development (Dragon Age, The Old Republic, Mass Effect 2), but it clearly has some broader implications for the future. Not least of which is that someone is getting quite serious about taking on Blizzard in that millions of dollars of MMO subscriptions business. Hmm.

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72 Comments »

  1. Larington says:

    No telling what the long term consequences of this will be, do find myself wondering if this is really necessary.

  2. Bhazor says:

    Oh, good. So whats left of Bioware’s “A Team” will be even more dispersed than they already are.

  3. goodgimp says:

    And EA assimilates another one… sigh.

    I still pine for Bullfrog to this day.

  4. Dante says:

    That’s… odd.

    I suppose it gets Bioware some experienced heads for MMOTOR, but it makes me extremely worried for the future of their single player games if that’ll be their focus.

    Any idea on what they’ll be called? Myoware? Bithic?

  5. goodgimp says:

    Probably something overly creative like “EA “

  6. Drakkheim says:

    I can’t really see any upside to the consumer in this. Isn’t this close to how EA destroyed Origin and Westwood? Fold em in with existing business units and force new management down their throats and pump out shovelware sequels til all the talent leaves.

  7. invisiblejesus says:

    Given Mythic’s crap performance lately it’s hard to see a serious downside to this. If Mythic’s management had been placed in charge of Bioware, I might feel differently.

  8. Magnus says:

    Ahh yes, just what we need, more emphasis on MMOs.

    Are my beloved traditional RPGs going to go the way of the dinosaur? I had hoped with the likes of Dragon Age, that things were beginning to look up, but I guess I’ll be left pining for the fjords.. I mean the late 90s when all was right with the world (if you have nice rose-tinted specs anyways).

  9. Pani says:

    I didn’t see this one coming.. Wow, speechless.

    I don’t think you made the announcement big enough, I had to read it 3 times over before the words sunk in.

    Maybe this is another ploy at making a MMO bigger than WoW. Man I hope they don’t try (and probably fail) again.

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    James G says:

    Bah. Probably not a good sign, although I suppose it might benefit the technical side of the TOR. However its a bit discouraging to those who prefer the single player RPG to MMOs.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    Whoops! They said they weren’t doing this anymore and i believed them. Well, mass effect 2 will be good, after that its a crapshoot. I don’t trust ea enough to not see oncoming doom here.

  12. NoRCoN says:

    What is with the takeovers/buyouts/mergers today? First id, now this.

    Next up: “Blizzard and Valve Unite!”

  13. Low Quality Beard says:

    I wonder if I should cancel my WAR subscription.

  14. BigJ says:

    World of Team Fortress?

    Oh wait, that’s already what’s happening.

  15. Tei says:

    It seems the lack of a 3th faction in WAR has been the snow sliding down the mountain….
    Since withouth the 3th faction (or other solution), all WAR servers become insta-imbalaced.
    EA has been fueling TOR for very long. It seems EA really thinks TOR will be “BIG”. But I don’t see how.. Bioware is a console game studio… that seems to make console games that double as good RPG games. But the MMORPG market is a PC market. I don’t see how Bioware will be able to deliver a MMORPG with enough deep and persistence. But he!.. I hope soo.
    I see this as EA canivalizing a car to add 2 extra tires to his favorite one.

    EA could be evil, but have my sympathy, since I like evil stuff that deliver something that work. My problem is games like Battleforge …. gimped by some bad decissions by EA (or thats is me? I don’t know, I am just a simple gamer).

  16. cyrenic says:

    Should they just call it the MMO division? :P

  17. Markoff Chaney says:

    Hrmmm. Not sure if Buh? or Hunh? covers it better. What an odd 1-2 shot of mergerness going on today.

    I guess I can probably count out BioWare from the SPCWRPG experience going forward? TOR already had me scared, but this just cements it, in my future viewing opinion head. Keep up the good fight CD Projekt and Bethesda!?

    Maybe, if we are lucky, we can get a Dragon Age MMO. It would explain some of those animations a little better. I’m sticking with Buh?

  18. Azhrarn says:

    ok, so the best RPG developer of the current age is merged with the worst MMO bunch of idiots EA had the stupidity to buy…. This is going to be messy.

  19. SteveHatesYou says:

    Sounds like Mythic has become Bioware Fairfax. I guess EA is really pushing Bioware as their brand name for RPGs. Must be frustrating for the Mythic founders.

    EA made a lot of noise about adopting a “city-state model” when Riccotello took over (i.e. they’ll allow studios to keep their own identity and processes, rather than forcing them into the EA way and destroying them, like they did with Bullfrog and Origin). Technically, this doesn’t go against that statement, but I wonder if it’s a sign that they’re going to lapse back into their old ways?

  20. Stupoider says:

    Aww, SteveHatesYou. I miss Bullfrog. So much. :(

  21. Nick says:

    Well, that almost guarentees the KOTOR MMO will be badly coded.

  22. Nick says:

    In fact, I don’t hold much hope for any future RPGs from EA. Oh well.

  23. Joshua says:

    This is as simple as Mark Jacobs getting fired because Warhammer turned out to be a dud.

    By his own pre-release statements, if they were merging/closing servers or had less then half a million subs the game wasn’t doing well. Well both happened, and quickly.

    Must be frustrating for the Mythic founders.

    Mark Jacobs WAS one of the Mythic founders. This was a simple case of getting punished for screwing up. The implicit assumption of a “city state” model is that you gotta take a bite out of any shit sandwiches you make.

  24. Zaphid says:

    I have no idea if Mythic has another MMO in the works, but it has apparently lost the trust of EA because Warhammer didn’t make enough splash

  25. Legionary says:

    Did you hear that noise? It was as though a million gamers cried out in terror, then were suddenly silenced…

  26. Serondal says:

    If EA wants to buy up companies and destroy them that is their business. Maybe all this poor business they’ve been doing has been one of the reasons for the rise of the Indie game market which has been a huge increase as of late. That wouldn’t be a bad thing.

  27. Blast Hardcheese says:

    @Norcon

    Blizzard is owned by Vivendi, the same company that Valve moved to physical publishing with EA because Vivendi was worse for them.

    How bad do you gotta be to have EA be a better choice? Here’s a hint: Fight your developers for ownership of a game you only publish and have no rights to, over something as ridiculous as Cyber Cafe distribution.

    Vivendi also owns BMG at this point in time. They are most certainly worse than EA now.

  28. Vinraith says:

    This may not be a bad thing. The Old Republic, like any MMO, is going to require a substantial support and continued development staff. Before I’d been concerned that Bioware would be unable to continue producing quality SP games while maintaining a major MMO. With the addition of the Mythis crew, though, a sensible division of labor may be possible.

    Not that that’s what they WILL do, but it’s probably what they SHOULD do.

  29. heartless_ says:

    The writing is on the wall IMHO.

    Dragon Age’s odd trailers and suspect gameplay trailers.
    Now this.

    Give Bioware two years and EA should be able to find a hole to dump them in as well.

  30. _o/ says:

    http://www.warhammeralliance.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4226831&postcount=53

    “For clarity:
    Mythic is not “merging” with Bioware.
    Mythic and Bioware remain independent EA studios within a larger MMO/RPG group.
    Thanks!”

  31. Carra says:

    I see everyone complaining how bad WAR is. It had some nice review scores, what’s wrong with the game? Sure it didn’t get the half a million subscribers it wanted but so does pretty much every mmorpg that goes up against WoW.

    It seems like EA admits that WAR failed and now they’re fuelling TOR. I just hope that game will live up to its created expectations.

    And it’s not like they stop making single player games. They’ve still got Mass Effect 2 & Dragon Age to come. With all these games coming up I’m sure they can use some expetienced developers. Even though that last “violence” trailer made my respect for Bioware go down a bit…

  32. Eli Just says:

    @Vinraith If that’s the case that would be awesome, leave Bioware to do their thing and have Mythic with the help of some key TOR guys support TOR.

  33. SteveHatesYou says:

    @Joshua:
    Yes, but Jacobs wasn’t the only founder. But I suppose the other ones might not even be at the company anymore. Either way, they put a lot of hard work into building a studio identity, and now that’s being taken away.

    I don’t buy that this is deserved punishment though. I know fans like to heap all responsibility (good and bad) onto the developer, but that’s just not how games are made. The people who own the money are the ones who ultimately make the calls, especially when you’re talking about a project the size of an MMO (which doubtlessly made use of a lot of EA’s resources outside of Mythic).

    We really have no idea what went on during Warhammer Online’s development, so it’s pretty useless to try and assign blame for its underperformance.

  34. MrBejeebus says:

    hopefully bioware will keep the same team for mass effect 3 and the rest of their rpgs, dont want any mmo shinnanigans in there, no sir!

    I can see TOR attracting a different market than the fantasy mmoers and some people that are tired of WoW, didnt see this coming anyway, I dont care about Mythic all that much, but Bioware are in my top 5 developers, and if this harms their games, I will go to EA myself and slap them and call them fools

  35. Guhndahb says:

    This is utterly disheartening. I don’t consider Bioware the paragon of RPG development, but they are important to it. Now they’ll certainly be focusing on MMOs which hold no interest for me.

    I don’t have anything against Mythic, they’ve done some good things with MMOs over the years. But this just tells me that EA doesn’t understand that RPG and MMO development are practically unrelated. Or, worse, that they just don’t care that they are different because all they want to do is MMOs.

  36. armlesscorps says:

    The MMO subs market is more like a billion dollar industry, if you look at just wow subscriptions alone you have got 10 million people spending close to 100 pounds a year on subs, they had a total revenue of over a billion a couple of years back. Thats just one game.

  37. Wooly says:

    Oh dear god. I bloody hate EA. Will Bioware as we know it cease to exist, and become EA Canada: lets fail at trying to be better than WoW!

    What does this mean for the Single-player CRPG genre? Bethesda doesn’t count. They make good sandbox games, but AWFUL RPG’s.

  38. Joshua says:

    We really have no idea what went on during Warhammer Online’s development, so it’s pretty useless to try and assign blame for its underperformance.

    EA sunk a lot of money into the game, and even delayed it a couple times to give Mythic more time to get it right. They didn’t.

    That said, Jacobs ran Mythic and was lead designer of the game. I doubt he was the only reason the game failed, but it does not sound unreasonable to get rid of the guy that not just ran the studio that made your underwhelming game, but designed that same underwhelming game.

  39. Lobotomist says:

    RIP Bioware , Mythic

  40. Sunjammer says:

    MMOs are bullshit. This is terrible. Worst thing ever.

  41. Hoernchen says:

    Sounds a bit like “EA killed Bioware” – maybe even “EA killed RPG single player games”…..

  42. Alex says:

    I was worried when Bioware announced their weird partnership/co-purchase with Pandemic to those private equity guys, but I guess this is where is actually starts.

    At least Pandemic seems to be unscathed at this point.

  43. Bob says:

    Wonder who will be next to merge? Valve and Google? Cyndi Lauper and Charles Bronson? Who knows anymore!!!

  44. Jonas says:

    I do not approve.

    That is all.

  45. Wooly says:

    MMOs are bullshit. This is terrible. Worst thing ever.
    Amen to that!

  46. Grumble says:

    Please! SOMEBODY IT STOP!

  47. Eric says:

    Is Warhammer really doing that poorly? 100K or even 50K subscriptions is not a poor number. I know it’s not WoW numbers, but then who is doing WoW numbers but Blizzard these days?

  48. Borat says:

    i approve of ea getting rid of online activation for the sims 3. (in fact it doesn’t even have a securom disc check. just a “regular” disc check) a good move in the right direction.

    ea should buy even more studios/developers. there are too many wild oats out there contaminating the pc gaming landscape and poisoning the well.

  49. Stupoider says:

    I really hope you’re trolling, Borat. :<

  50. jackflash says:

    If Bioware were a retail store it would be Walmart.