LFG: Mythic and Bioware Merged By EA


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.

72 Comments

  1. Jockie says:

    @ Sunjammer – Agreed to a degree, but the potential for something great is lurking there. As long as the industry doesn’t content itself with copying WoW over and over I think we’ll see MMO’s evolve into something pretty darn special eventually. Wouldn’t bet against these guys being the ones to take them to the next level at least.

  2. Azhrarn says:

    “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?”

    Unless WAR was a record breaker, EA was always going to see it as a failure. They don’t want a slice of the MMO pie, they want the pie, preferably while putting everyone else out of business or buying them.

    WAR was doomed to fail because of that. Yes it is easily sustainable at the 200k subs it has now, but to EAs shareholders less than several million subs = failure because WoW could do it.

  3. Kadayi says:

    The only game that is going to top WoW is WoW2 when its announced in a few years period. The present player base is so heavily invested in the product as a social participatory experience (its AIM with multiplayer co-op) that they simply aren’t going to give it up, esp after the amount of time they’ve sunk into the product already. Sure whenever a new game comes out there’s a bit of an exodus by people eager to check it out, but check it out for a month or 2 is all they do before heading back to their level 80s. People who give up WoW permanently are generally people just giving up MMOs (because they’ve realised MMOs are complete time vampires), not because they are going to another one. Sooner publishers and their boards realise this, the better and the less developers will get roped into wasting years making games whose development cycles will last longer than their products shelf life…

  4. Kirrus says:

    Bad. Very, very bad. I remember what happened to Westwood, and the quality of the C&C games when EA took them over.

    Don’t get me wrong RA1’s madcap storyline was.. well, mad, but they put it together with such flair, and the acting was actually half decent. The same cannot be said for RA2.

    It’s not like EA is a good company to work for either – they are really, really aggressive, and push their staff to the absolute limit. (Heard stories from a friend of a guy who used to work as a manager in one of their teams)

  5. Nick says:

    The problem with Warhammer is the awful, awful netcode/servers/engine and their apparent cluelessness to balance. They are doing things wrong they did right in DAOC and there is no excuse for that. Hell its built around large scale PVP but the awful netcode/engine/servers cause lrge scale PVP to be all but unplayable. Its a shame.

  6. Alex says:

    It’s not just grumbling from friends of friends, EA had to pay out when they lost that class action suit over unpaid overtime.

  7. SteveHatesYou says:

    @Kirrus:
    “It’s not like EA is a good company to work for either – they are really, really aggressive, and push their staff to the absolute limit. (Heard stories from a friend of a guy who used to work as a manager in one of their teams)”

    This is partially true. Some EA studios have horrible histories (I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Tiburon and EA LA – which is actually where that class action suit originated), but it really depends on the studio and the managers. I used to work for one, and it wasn’t a bad experience – I was never really forced to work overtime.

    EA takes a lot of flak because of the EA Spouse ordeal (and deservedly so), but it’s given people the impression that it’s true for the entire organization, and that they’re the worst offender. Believe me, there are game companies that treat their employees far worse, who never get taken to task for it.

  8. FunkyLlama says:

    *sigh* EA continues to leave a trail of destruction wherever it goes.

  9. h4plo says:

    @Nick:
    I couldn’t agree more. The damn game not functioning properly is the biggest hindrance that it has – because when it does work well, it’s awesome. My biggest rustration was getting stuck randomly on game objects attached to the ground – it seemed like there was a per cent chance everytime I crossed a tile that I’d get stuck for ten seconds. Real gamekiller as melee.

    On a decently powerful system with the effects kitted out, WAR was also a beautiful game. In a very chaotic sort of way – giant purple explosions and angry sun imagery flaring up all around, it made for a neat experience.

    also: is Marc Jacobs that guy that was super energized in the class description videos? I must have watched those things like twice in prolonged anticipation for WAR. He was irritating, but if it is that guy, then too bad – sad to see someone with so much zeal for his product fail so miserably.

  10. Lafinass says:

    I’m not sure I’d particularly call Warhammer a failure. It did a lot of things right, some of which have been borrowed by Blizzard in patches lately, and is a great deal of fun for the first 60% of the game. And while they might be taking their sweet time fixing the issues much of the community has with that other 40%, I’d rank it a better game than some of the challengers to WoW’s throne.

    Though I agree with a lot of the posters here, this does not bode well for the RPG future of BioWare.

  11. Serondal says:

    I’m interested, how would you guys rate Lord of the Rings Online versus WoW and Warhammer ? I know they’re not related to what is going on here, but what do you consider to be the top contender to WoW. After all if the mmorpg is going to be a hit it at least has to beat out the second place mmorpg behind WoW

  12. cjlr says:

    I don’t know if I can even find it in my black and cynical heart to be disappointed. Once EA bought Bioware and Mythic, the writing was on the wall… I mean, I still remember what happened to Maxis and Westwood.

    But, really, at this point nobody’s going to ‘beat’ WoW. Snowball effect, anyone? It’s damn hard to break into that much of a lead in the market. Especially when all the competitors are trying to duplicate instead of innovate – sound like any companies you know? Damned EA. It’s people like them who gave us Meet the Spartans, and if the mere thought of what that probably fortells for our precious gaming industry doesn’t send you crying for a bottle of your strongest booze, you’ve no heart.

    Y’know, off the top of my head the most prominent non-WoW MMOs are Eve and LotrO, both of which are at least different enough to attract a slightly different audience. Plus, LotRO has a built-in draw for pre-existing LotR fans, which I assume accounts for a fair bit of the playerbase. Galaxies used to be the same for Star Wars fans, before SOE killed that one; maybe TOR will catch that wind. Obviously EA hopes it will.

  13. Andrew says:

    @ cjlr Too right. My stupid thoughs on the MMO market. Analogy time: WoW is like massive huge succesful supermarket. Like it or not it sells pretty much everything you want at a great price. Now every publisher on the planet wants a piece of Wows pie. So they set up smaller shops down the street selling pretty much the same things but not quite as good. And theres dozens of these smaller shops who all think they are gonna make tonnes of money and be as successful as WoW. It’s NOT going to happen any time soon. People think because of the number of WoW subscribers that theres a huge MMO market ripe for the plucking. There NOT sadly. Sure the better ones will draw plenty of people that are interested. But nothing can touch WoW. MMO’s are just another bandwagon for publishers to jump on. They all have to have one. Kinda like motion sensors for the consoles at this years E3. But yeah ranting sorry. Bioware, my favourite SINGLE PLAYER rpg developer….i hope this doesnt affect them too much. It would be a terrible loss to the gaming world to see them become “EA MMO or EA Canada” and become uninspired franchise milkers

  14. EA says:

    I don’t see what everyone’s complaining about. This sounds like good news to me!

  15. ids says:

    Pretty much these means the end of Dark Age of Camelot. Because the game doesn’t break over 5,000 or if it does it a rareity. For War Hammer online it means that bio can or not do writing for the game give permission by games workshop. But also means that if you do a bad job you will get fired or laid off. Over only time will tell.

  16. M.P. says:

    We are Minsc of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your eyeballs will be assimilated.

    Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it… :(

  17. Lobotomist says:

    Just answering Serondal’s question:

    LOTRO is probably the only serious contender to WOW so far.

    I would say that Turbine is for MMO , what Bioware are for singleplayer RPG. And i am talking about PVE (quest oriented MMO , and not player versus player ones)

    Mythic stands out as company that produced what is considered among best PVP MMOs

    Something that was not reproduced in WAR

  18. Lars Westergren says:

    Every Bioware game since they went primarily console-oriented has been at best “meh” to me, this sounds like just the final nail in the coffin.

    Go, go, go, Obsidian, our last great hope. Please be good, Alpha Protocol.

  19. Subject 706 says:

    Anyone surprised? All publishers who are on the stockmarket act like this. Maximum profit over good games anyday.

  20. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Interesting. I read this more as: Mythic failed to do well enough with WAR (in the eyes of EA overlords), so gets lumped in with Bioware. WAR and TOR being MMOs.

    Why would this be bad for Bioware? I mean, other than being part of EA, which they were anyway. It’s not as if their games have been unsuccessful.

  21. GRIMDARK says:

    wow they combine a Singleplayer RPG team and a MMO RPG team.

    I wonder which side will get shafted.

    The answer:

    Both of them.

  22. Flimgoblin says:

    @Nick It has been pretty terrible (still is when two pairings are locked and the entire server is fighting over one keep) but for the most part it’s been improving since release. Too late for many.

    @h4plo That’s Paul Barnett who’s still there afaik. (who some people seem to really dislike – his “the coders screwed up!” youtube video met the problem of “half the internet has no sense of humour” but he did come back with this, credit for that eh? link to youtube.com )

    Mark Jacobs did a couple of podcasts about crafting but nothing on the classes iirc.