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View Full Version : The Doctors leave BioWare



SirKicksalot
18-09-2012, 07:50 PM
BioWare's blog (http://blog.bioware.com/2012/09/18/ray-muzyka-greg-zeschuk-retire/) includes links to their farewell letters.

Looks like Ray will do charity and social stuff and Greg, uh, something about beer.

Heliocentric
18-09-2012, 07:54 PM
Beer and charity eh? Clearly dragon age 3 will be deficient in these 2 things.

Rauten
18-09-2012, 07:57 PM
Beer and charity eh? Clearly dragon age 3 will be deficient in these 2 things.

As if anyone expected charity in an EA game. I'm kinda surprised they lasted this long since they got bought.

fiddlesticks
18-09-2012, 07:57 PM
Does that mean Matt Smith will join Bioware?

Internet
18-09-2012, 08:00 PM
I knew Bioware has been shedding talent, but wow.

Heliocentric
18-09-2012, 08:03 PM
Does that mean Matt Smith will join Bioware?

Who? DYSWIDT?

Sketch
18-09-2012, 08:04 PM
Doctor Who

Heliocentric
18-09-2012, 08:07 PM
Doctor WhoHighlight my post for evidence of fail.

Smashbox
18-09-2012, 08:12 PM
That's pretty unbelievable. I wonder if they're happy to be done or if they regret selling to Electronic Arts. Their studio has certainly changed a lot in the past few years, and it doesn't take insiders to notice.

Word up, docs.

Prokroustis
18-09-2012, 08:18 PM
Is it bad that I'm more excited about The Beer Diaries than Bioware's next project?

Jesus_Phish
18-09-2012, 08:23 PM
Pretty shocking to see it happen and I was really hoping they were doing it to start over again but alas I guess not.

ado
18-09-2012, 09:21 PM
Wow... Did not expect that. And I hate to say it but those farewell letters read a lot like: "Yea, selling out to EA made us hate what we do. So we're moving on." But maybe that's just my EA-hate making me read shit that isn't there.

Anyway, looking forward to the Beer Diaries.

Nalano
18-09-2012, 09:43 PM
Wow... Did not expect that. And I hate to say it but those farewell letters read a lot like: "Yea, selling out to EA made us hate what we do. So we're moving on." But maybe that's just my EA-hate making me read shit that isn't there.

Well, the words themselves are the usual "I'd like to thank the Academy" pablum, but the simul-quitting while they're not that old is its own statement.

Smashbox
18-09-2012, 09:47 PM
We'll see. In the interview next summer when they lay it all out. "EA ruined Bioware, but we're really, really rich now."

Frenetic Pony
18-09-2012, 10:07 PM
So... was Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3 and TOR their fault, or EA's?

Obviously based on history and the fact that the term "EA'd" exists the latter seems more likely. Gah I hope Sim City will be good, but there's this terrible feeling its going to end up like Spore or something.

Either way I wonder why they're just quitting. Molyneux just kept going (praise the crazy man), is EA really THAT bad?

Vicious
19-09-2012, 12:17 AM
They never sold to EA.
They sold to Elevation Partners, Elevation Partners sold to EA.

The blind hatred and dislike of EA is really starting to cloud peoples vision.

They also announced Mass Effect before selling to Elevation so whatever people think about EA being the result of the drop in quality of Bioware games, it aint true.

FriendlyFire
19-09-2012, 12:30 AM
They never sold to EA.
They sold to Elevation Partners, Elevation Partners sold to EA.

The blind hatred and dislike of EA is really starting to cloud peoples vision.

They also announced Mass Effect before selling to Elevation so whatever people think about EA being the result of the drop in quality of Bioware games, it aint true.

Not to take sides, but I'd just point out that Mass Effect was a very different beast from its two sequels. The entire game changed with ME2, while ME3 has comparatively very few differences to ME2.

SirKicksalot
19-09-2012, 12:36 AM
Why do people ignore Jade Empire? That's a very dumb RPG. I love it but all current gen BioWare games are more complex.
KOTOR was a massive shit sandwich compared to their older RPGs too.

Vicious
19-09-2012, 12:40 AM
I didn't find ME1 and ME2 that different, and saw an inevitable evolution that began with KOTOR and (hopefully!) ended with ME3.

Critics and fans also seemed to much prefer ME2 to ME1.

pakoito
19-09-2012, 12:48 AM
Gah I hope Sim City will be good, but there's this terrible feeling its going to end up like Spore or something.
It will not.

Nalano
19-09-2012, 06:10 AM
Critics and fans also seemed to much prefer ME2 to ME1.

This.

Garrus and Liara came into their own and Mordin stole the show. The gameplay was smoother to the point where ME1 looked clunky in comparison.

goatmonkey
19-09-2012, 07:24 AM
This.

Garrus and Liara came into their own and Mordin stole the show. The gameplay was smoother to the point where ME1 looked clunky in comparison.

I agree from this but prefer the tone and fiction in the first even if the characters are less compelling. I wish the whole series had kept the 60s/70s sci-fi homage thing rather than the generic space action man it became in 2 and 3.

Kadayi
19-09-2012, 08:27 AM
These guys didn't just quit yesterday. They each gave 6 months notice (SOP when you're a company director..hell some places make you give a year). Not sure what the timeline is on when events occur exactly in relation to ME3 debacle (in a dash atm) but it's worth bearing in mind.

Hypernetic
19-09-2012, 09:24 AM
Honestly I'm not really sure why everyone has/had such a massive hard-on for Bioware in the first place. How many games did they make that were actually great games?

I never played Baldur's gate, but I feel like the majority of people on message boards who jizz in their pants about that game haven't played it before either (see Kid Icarus, Psychonauts, and Beyond Good and Evil as other examples of games that people pretend they have played to sound cool).

So what else was there? DA:O and ME? Bioware already had this apparently great reputation before those games, so where did it come from? KOTOR? KOTOR, like most of Bioware's game was clunky and buggy as hell.

All of the Bioware games I've ever played have seemed very unpolished compared to other games with similar budgets.

I'm not being hateful or spiteful, I just really don't understand where their reputation as a premier game/RPG developer came from in the first place.

Oshada
19-09-2012, 09:25 AM
6 months would pretty much put the notices smack bang in the middle of the ending fiasco.... just saying.

The Eurogamer story (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-09-18-biowares-greg-zeschuk-and-ray-muzyka-retire-from-industry-to-pursue-beer-journalism-charity#comments)'s top comment is absolutely brilliant.

Hypernetic
19-09-2012, 09:29 AM
6 months would pretty much put the notices smack bang in the middle of the ending fiasco.... just saying.

The Eurogamer story (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-09-18-biowares-greg-zeschuk-and-ray-muzyka-retire-from-industry-to-pursue-beer-journalism-charity#comments)'s top comment is absolutely brilliant.

It also puts it right after the launch of their biggest/most anticipated game to date. It's much more likely that they saw the conclusion of their biggest franchise as a good time for themselves to step down and allow a new person(s) to take the helm.

I highly doubt some people being upset about the ending would be why they would resign from Bioware.

Kadayi
19-09-2012, 10:21 AM
but I feel like the majority of people on message boards who jizz in their pants about that game haven't played it before either.

I'd say with this board guess again.

Goateh
19-09-2012, 10:24 AM
Honestly I'm not really sure why everyone has/had such a massive hard-on for Bioware in the first place. How many games did they make that were actually great games?

Personally, it mostly comes from Baldur's Gate. They had other good stuff before Dragon Age or Mass Effect but Baldur's Gate was a big deal at the time. Yes, their games were broken at times and the D&D system wasn't particularly good for the style of games created but it was computer D&D (yes, I know it's not like pen & paper) with a huge world to explore.

I suspect they also gain goodwill from the whole series of Infinity Engine games, even the ones they had nothing to do with.

I'm not sure I can think of many similar games that were actually polished and worked all the way through at the time. They all gained significant fan patches that fixed numerous bugs, they all had pretty unusable UIs by today's standards and they all made combat far more fiddly than it should be.

NathanH
19-09-2012, 10:25 AM
Honestly I'm not really sure why everyone has/had such a massive hard-on for Bioware in the first place. How many games did they make that were actually great games?

I never played Baldur's gate, but I feel like the majority of people on message boards who jizz in their pants about that game haven't played it before either (see Kid Icarus, Psychonauts, and Beyond Good and Evil as other examples of games that people pretend they have played to sound cool).

So what else was there? DA:O and ME? Bioware already had this apparently great reputation before those games, so where did it come from? KOTOR? KOTOR, like most of Bioware's game was clunky and buggy as hell.

All of the Bioware games I've ever played have seemed very unpolished compared to other games with similar budgets.

I'm not being hateful or spiteful, I just really don't understand where their reputation as a premier game/RPG developer came from in the first place.

Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 really were very influential games and on top of that are also really good.

Edit: Was there even any RTwP cRPG of note before Baldur's Gate?

Jesus_Phish
19-09-2012, 12:17 PM
I like Bioware because I played their games when I was young, so their name has a special meaning and memories of fondness. I'm smart enough to know that the games were buggy and unpolished but I loved them warts and all (the same goes for Obsidians games). I do know that the Bioware then and now are like most things very different and while I've enjoyed most of DA:O, choice elements of DA2 (though I had to force myself to finish it) and almost all of the ME series I still think I prefer old Bioware. TOR was of no interest to me and this action of slapping Biowares name on everything (see the new C&C coming out) won't make me rush out and by it.

I'd love for them to get back to their roots but I think that time is long passed.

eRa
19-09-2012, 12:30 PM
Beer may be one of the few pursuits more worthy than videogames, I salute you Dr. Zeschuk.

deano2099
19-09-2012, 12:33 PM
I never played Baldur's gate, but I feel like the majority of people on message boards who jizz in their pants about that game haven't played it before either (see Kid Icarus, Psychonauts, and Beyond Good and Evil as other examples of games that people pretend they have played to sound cool).

Nah, Baldur's Gate sold like hotcakes at the time, relative to the market. If you were into PC games back then, you likely played it. Psychonauts and BGE are different in that they were critical darlings that really didn't sell.

KOTOR and Jade Empire also did well at the time; they're clunky in retrospect, but they were early real-time 3D RPGs. NWN was the only real clunker, and even that was redeemed somewhat by the expansions.

I think it comes down to BG 1 and 2 being excellent, and every other Bioware game facing the expectations of living up to it. And every time, they don't quite get there but the game is good enough that people hope that the next one will be 'the one'.

Nalano
19-09-2012, 01:06 PM
NWN was the only real clunker, and even that was redeemed somewhat by the expansions.

NWN's selling point was the modability. There are still persistent worlds being run.

Kadayi
19-09-2012, 01:58 PM
Nah, Baldur's Gate sold like hotcakes at the time, relative to the market. If you were into PC games back then, you likely played it. Psychonauts and BGE are different in that they were critical darlings that really didn't sell.

I think both Psychonauts & BGE have shipped a lot of units over time (same with mirrors edge) to the extent that sequels/spiritual successors are mooted. Blade runner was a commercial failure at cinemas, but it cleaned up in terms of video & DVD sales as well as directors cut versions later on. Initial sales aren't everything.

Finicky
19-09-2012, 02:31 PM
This is the how manieth studio that EA has managed to turn into a shell of its former self? I lost count years ago.
Anyhow I'm glad, now if bioware games would stop selling in the next few years then they can finally put it down.

@ hypernetic, I think it's mostly because of KOTOR (BG is just too long ago the majority of the target audience of ME etc probably wasn't born then or still being bottle fed)
Which makes it pretty weird since bioware have been making the exact same game in a different skin with a worse and worse story since KOTOR... (kotor 2 , ME, dragon age are all the exact same formula as the original).
I had my fill after Kotor, not sure why people were willing to put up with reskinned more of the same.

I get why people may have thought DA was great (first time playing a kotor game) , or why they liked bioware (thought BG or kotor were good) but the two combined makes no sense.

offtopic: I got beyond good and evil at its original release on pc and while fairly charming it was pretty rubbish as a game. I got bored a few hours in and stopped playing in the factory where I was photographing rats as if it's some pokemon game.
Just hipster mentality and peer pressure on the interwebs that make the majority of 'fans' pretend it was good or that they even played the game.

Wizardry
19-09-2012, 02:43 PM
Edit: Was there even any RTwP cRPG of note before Baldur's Gate?
Darklands.

NathanH
19-09-2012, 02:45 PM
Darklands.

Oh yeah. Shouldn't have forgotten that one.

Shane
19-09-2012, 02:46 PM
Honestly I'm not really sure why everyone has/had such a massive hard-on for Bioware in the first place. How many games did they make that were actually great games? (see Kid Icarus, Psychonauts, and Beyond Good and Evil as other examples of games that people pretend they have played to sound cool).
Other than the BG games, I have yet to play a Bioware game that I would call great. I have found both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series to be unexceptional (ME3 and DA2 were simply dreadful). They do have a lot of polish, they do have characters spewing snarky one liners that neckbeards like to salivate over so much but that is all there is to them. Their games feel like the CoDs of rpgs, all style no substance. The gameplay is repetitive and is dumbed down to the point that it feels like a chore to get to the decent bits, the storylines are amateurish and uninspired and the dialogue tends to be cringeworthy.

Psychonauts is awesome.



So what else was there? DA:O and ME? Bioware already had this apparently great reputation before those games, so where did it come from? KOTOR? KOTOR, like most of Bioware's game was clunky and buggy as hell.
KOTOR doesn't hold a candle to KOTOR 2.


Personally, it mostly comes from Baldur's Gate. They had other good stuff before Dragon Age or Mass Effect but Baldur's Gate was a big deal at the time.
And Black Isle Studios had a role in making Baldur's Gate what it is.

gundato
19-09-2012, 02:50 PM
Disclaimer: I haven't gotten around to reading their actual blog posts yet, just the RPS summary

From what it sounds like though, I don't think this is a "rage quit" as it were, and it isn't them spiting EA. It sounds like they both just want to try other things in life.

If there IS any disgruntlement, I think it would be a mixture of the ME3 fiasco ("Everything is horrible because I didn't realize the entire third game was the ending, not the last five minutes!") plus the general tone. In the era of BG and even NWN, people LIKED video games. They would say "Wow, this campaign is a piece of crap. But imagine all the fun stuff we can do with the toolset!". These days, you get "Oh my god, I hated the last minute or two, I am going to try and sue and scream how much I hate it!" or "Worst X ever"

But even that doesn't really seem to be there. I think it is just that both of them have decided to move on. If they hadn't both basically said "Yeah, no video games planned in our future" I could see it as them splintering away. But there isn't.

Wizardry
19-09-2012, 02:54 PM
This is the how manieth studio that EA has managed to turn into a shell of its former self? I lost count years ago.
Origin
Bullfrog
Westwood
Maxis
BioWare

What's missing?


@ hypernetic, I think it's mostly because of KOTOR (BG is just too long ago the majority of the target audience of ME etc probably wasn't born then or still being bottle fed)
I think that's because Knights of the Old Republic came out for consoles, where as their previous games didn't. This is why Knights of the Old Republic is so well regarded by console gamers, because it's usually the first ever western RPG they've ever played.

CuriousOrange
19-09-2012, 03:02 PM
Bioware are decent, I've enjoyed their games but none of them have ever stood out. They have always been completely derivative. BG is their closest to a classic, but even that is like Planescapes plain sister.

db1331
19-09-2012, 03:03 PM
I must be the only person on the planet who absolutely hated Mordin. It was painful every time I had to hear him talk. I purposely killed him off in my game, just to be rid of him. I actually did a fist pump when he died. It went down exactly like this, if you switched out Mordin for Miranda:

http://www.awkwardzombie.com/index.php?comic=022012

Lacero
19-09-2012, 03:18 PM
Origin
Bullfrog
Westwood
Maxis
BioWare

What's missing?


Pandemic
Mythic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_Electronic_Arts

Kadayi
19-09-2012, 03:26 PM
ITT people who can't move on

NathanH
19-09-2012, 03:27 PM
I guess KOTOR also set some very influential standards (I think...) in modern party-based choice'n'consequence RPGs: you have an HQ from which you adventure, all companions you recruit live in the HQ, you pick a few to go adventuring with you, they level with you whether adventuring with you or not, they can't die through combat, and at least some of them are integral to the plot.

Nalano
19-09-2012, 03:34 PM
From what it sounds like though, I don't think this is a "rage quit" as it were, and it isn't them spiting EA. It sounds like they both just want to try other things in life.

People usually don't quit at the heights of their careers, tho. Personally, I think it could be interpreted as the shift between "a personal passion" and "a well-paying job" over the past few years. They both made special mention of EA's financial and managerial support but little mention of creative opportunities. But, like I said earlier, the blogs are your usual all-positive pablum.

The secondary discussion of people arguing over when Bioware jumped the shark is even more dreck. And for once, Gundato-kun, we agree.

Jesus_Phish
19-09-2012, 04:43 PM
If there IS any disgruntlement, I think it would be a mixture of the ME3 fiasco ("Everything is horrible because I didn't realize the entire third game was the ending, not the last five minutes!") plus the general tone. In the era of BG and even NWN, people LIKED video games. They would say "Wow, this campaign is a piece of crap. But imagine all the fun stuff we can do with the toolset!". These days, you get "Oh my god, I hated the last minute or two, I am going to try and sue and scream how much I hate it!" or "Worst X ever"

My god I wish I had a time machine to go back.

I remember being excited to hear Dragon Age would ship with the toolset, but sadly nothing nearly as good as anything for BG came of it. Just a bunch of nude models and XXX rated uncanny valley scenes.

Oh to when gaming wasn't what it is today...

SirKicksalot
19-09-2012, 04:52 PM
Pandemic


Not EA's fault. Pandemic is one of those studios that couldn't adapt to the new console generation.

gundato
19-09-2012, 05:00 PM
My god I wish I had a time machine to go back.

I remember being excited to hear Dragon Age would ship with the toolset, but sadly nothing nearly as good as anything for BG came of it. Just a bunch of nude models and XXX rated uncanny valley scenes.

Oh to when gaming wasn't what it is today...
Morrowind was the eye opener for me. When it first came out, it was a wonderland of new quests, new equipment, and house mods.

Near the end of its life cycle (so shortly after Oblivion came out), pretty much every new mod was "Better Bodies Required: Nipple rings" or "Real Sex in Suran!".

Oblivion tried to recover, but it devolved into that pretty quickly. As a result, I refuse to even look at the nexus for Skyrim and just rely on the (filtered) Steam Workshop.


Not EA's fault. Pandemic is one of those studios that couldn't adapt to the new console generation.
Honestly, I would argue that of most "developers who got screwed by their publishers". The problem is: Some people like a publisher and don't want to admit they screwed the pooch. So we get "evil publisher!"

Does the publisher have an effect? Sometimes. It really depends on the genre and what kind of game. But a good dev team can output good games, even under heavy restrictions/pressure.

Take Obsidian. If you ask their fans, they have gotten screwed over by anyone who has ever funded any game they ever worked on. You would think they would have learned something by now (although, their comments on the KS suggest they might have)
Then you have Infinity Ward. They bitched and moaned that EA were restrictive and turning them into a farm, so they jumped ship to Activision and made more Medal of Honor games for a few years (they just called it Call of Duty). Then they bitched and moaned that Activision were stifling and trying to screw them over, so they jumped ship again (I think back to EA? I didn't follow too closely) and are most assuredly making another manshoot.
J. Michael Straczynski and Rob Liefeld do work of varying quality and then throw huge hissy fits every single time Marvel or DC express some creative control (mostly to keep the character and universe viable for more than the duration of the run), and it happens like clockwork.

Does having a bad boss help? Not at all. But some people just don't play well with others.

Jesus_Phish
19-09-2012, 05:03 PM
The nexus is very much the same as you'd imagine. I guess what happened was with the transition out of 2d and into 3d games people got less interested in making new stories, items and realms and more interested in taking female npcs out of their clothes and giving them new animations.

Nalano
19-09-2012, 05:05 PM
Near the end of its life cycle (so shortly after Oblivion came out), pretty much every new mod was "Better Bodies Required: Nipple rings" or "Real Sex in Suran!".

Devolved into that? The mod scene started as that and never really went very far from its roots.

gundato
19-09-2012, 05:18 PM
Devolved into that? The mod scene started as that and never really went very far from its roots.
I disagree. You had some "eccentric" modders, but it was predominantly house mods and gear of varying qualities. At least, at the start.

Nalano
19-09-2012, 05:26 PM
I disagree. You had some "eccentric" modders, but it was predominantly house mods and gear of varying qualities. At least, at the start.

Dude. Ever since we could have nine pixels in a square, somebody's made a nipple mod for it. First Adopters (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheRuleOfFirstAdopters) applies to games too.

deano2099
19-09-2012, 05:26 PM
Take Obsidian. If you ask their fans, they have gotten screwed over by anyone who has ever funded any game they ever worked on. You would think they would have learned something by now (although, their comments on the KS suggest they might have)

DS3 was fine, KOTOR2 was documentally rushed by the publisher. New Vegas was no more buggy than any other game on that engine.

That just leaves Alpha Protocol and NWN2 as questionable. I know it's a weird co-incidence but there aren't enough games for it to be that unlikely...


Devolved into that? The mod scene started as that and never really went very far from its roots.
There's more non-adult stuff than adult stuff.

Koobazaur
19-09-2012, 08:40 PM
Which makes it pretty weird since bioware have been making the exact same game in a different skin with a worse and worse story since KOTOR... (kotor 2 , ME, dragon age are all the exact same formula as the original).
I had my fill after Kotor, not sure why people were willing to put up with reskinned more of the same.

Yep that's very true. I did enjoy KOTOR at the time, and ME was best described by someone on another forum - ME is the McDonalds of RPGs, a comfort food. It's a very polished and well done, but also somewhat expectable and generic.

If you feel like just getting some good RPGins action in, ME totally fills that in and is an enjoyable experience, just don't expect much more than that. That's how I approached it and, as a result, really enjoyed it. Haven't played sequels yet.


offtopic: I got beyond good and evil at its original release on pc and while fairly charming it was pretty rubbish as a game. I got bored a few hours in and stopped playing in the factory where I was photographing rats as if it's some pokemon game.

Agreed, aside from a few set pieces and an amazing end-game sequence (imho), I was vastly disappointed by the game. All the "colorful imaginative characters" seemed kind of... hollow. Like "lets have a cow-man for the sake of having a cow-man" - it had absolutely no impact on the game or the world, there was no story behind them, they added nothing.

The game also tried to have a bit of mystery of "who are the bad guys" and "can you really trust the rebel group you're supposed to be working for?" which completely failed because
a) it was so damn obvious from the first 5 minutes who the bad guys are and;
b) you had absolutely no choice in your actions or whom you follow, so when the game asked you "can you trust them?" it instantly forced you to whether you did or not...


NWN's selling point was the modability. There are still persistent worlds being run.

Aye, and for that I am sad it never gained in popularity. The main campaign was rubbish, but I played A LOT with the toolset and it was not only a really powerful, but also efficient compared to anything that existed on the market at the time. A really wonderful tool for making RPG adventures that never quite took off.

And playing on some of the persistent worlds was, honestly, some of the best online RPGing action I've ever had, much more fun than any MMOs I tried.

Nalano
19-09-2012, 08:59 PM
Aye, and for that I am sad it never gained in popularity.

To me, hardcore roleplayers are their own worst enemies. From the left sides of their mouths they say "why don't more people play with us?" and from the right they say "fuck you for not playing my way!"

But that's a discussion for another time.