Bioware Founders Retire, Hint at Company’s Future
Well… that was unexpected. Bioware co-founders Ray Muzkya and Greg Zeschuk announced their retirement today. Both men issued heartfelt statements explaining their reasons for leaving, and offering effusive praise for the company’s employees and fans. They even let one of their now former employees hint at Bioware’s plans for the future. Read on for the details.
The annoucements were made on the Bioware Blog, where Ray and Greg published separate entries. Both mean took the time to explain how they came to the decision to retire, what the company, its employees and fans have meant to them over the years, and what their plans for the future were. Ray plans to become involved in something called “impact investment.” Here’s what Ray had to say about it.
I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next ‘chapter’ will likely focus on an entirely new industry, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary – investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing. There’s a good description of the goals of this form of entrepreneurship here. Impact investment, or social entrepreneurship, can range from simply thinking about social goals along with the usual business profit goals, all the way to a dedicated focus on a social entrepreneurship portfolio with the social impact defined as the primary goal. For me, getting involved in social impact investment stems from the simple hope of helping the world to be a better place. To that end, I’ll also be spending time getting involved with more charities in education, health care, and animal rights, areas where my wife and I’ve typically focused our charitable donations in the past. I am also spending more time learning about the work being done to defend human rights and civil liberty across the world. Net, I am passionate about both entrepreneurship and social liberty, and I want to find a way to pursue both of them.
Greg’s plans are just a bit different.
Some of you will be curious what I’ll be doing next, and I can state that I’m not going to be working in games for a while, and there’s a strong possibility that I won’t be back. After my departure I’m going to be spending significant time with family and friends, as well as pursuing some personal passion-driven projects related to craft beer. The main project I will be working on is a web-based interview show called The Beer Diaries where I interview notable brewers and showcase their beers. If things go well, I’ll work on other beer-related shows, apps and projects. If not, I’ll have drunk a lot of tasty beers and may be back in games or even something else completely different. Ultimately time will tell.
Bonus points to Greg for ending his statement the classic “Thanks…. for everything.” line from the Mass Effect games.
So that’s a bummer. We’re pretty big Bioware fans here at Save Game, and seeing the founders of the company abruptly leave is unsettling, to say the least. While they have been working with EA on a smooth transition since April, their departure still came as a shock to fans and employees alike. Anyone following Bioware developers on twitter had their feeds flooded with praise and well wishes for their departing leaders.
But it’s not all bad news. General Manager of Bioware’s Edmonton and Montreal studios, Aaryn Flynn, posted a followup blog, reassuring fans that the future of the company remains very bright, despite the departure of Ray and Greg. He reminded fans of the company’s unveiling of Dragon Age 3 yesterday, and of their continuing support for Mass Effect 3 singleplayer and multiplayer DLC. In particular, he confirmed the long rumored “Omega” DLC, which will apparently be the next singleplayer expansion for Mass Effect 3. The real highlight was his announcement that not only is Mass Effect’s executive producer, Casey Hudson, working on more Mass Effect, but he and his team is also in the early stages of planning an entirely new IP:
Executive Producer Casey Hudson and his team are coming off an amazing eight-year run with the Mass Effect trilogy. But they’re not done yet. We are releasing more multiplayer content and we have more single-player stories coming throughout the next six months, including Omega which is coming in the Fall. But the Mass Effect universe is vast, and Casey and our teams have plans for another full game. “Where to go next?” with such a project has been a question a lot of us have been asking, and we’d all love to hear your ideas.
While Casey continues to oversee the development of our new Mass Effect project, he and his leads are putting together their vision for an all new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology.
So not only is there another Mass Effect game on the way, the team responsible is already planning their next big thing. That’s enough to turn our frowns upside down, right? Maybe just a little? While I’m lukewarm on the idea of another Mass Effect game (what’s the point if I won’t be playing as my Shepard?) I am definitely curious to see what Casey and his team come up with for an all new game. The original Mass Effect was a true watershed moment for me. It redefined my definition of what a videogame could be. I can’t wait to see if Casey can do it again.