BioWare Co-Founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk Retire

Published 2 years ago by , Updated October 4th, 2012 at 12:14 pm,

BioWare Muzyka Zeschuk Retiring

Having begun their journey in 1995 and constantly revolutionized the games industry with innovative RPG’s, BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk both announced their retirement today. And not just from BioWare, they claim, but from game development entirely.

Certainly one of the more non-traditional paths to studio inception, Muzyka and Zeschuk founded BioWare together (along with Augustine Yip) after earning medical degrees at the University of Alberta. It’s only appropriate, if rare, then, that the two would decide to step down together as well – and indeed they released dual parting letters on the BioWare website today outlining the reasons for their departure.

According to Ray Muzyka, the decision to leave BioWare didn’t come easy. He writes in his letter that he’s “moving on to pursue an entirely different set of challenges,” but that exiting the video games industry is purely due to his thirst for a “new chapter” in life. That chapter: entrepreneurship. Specifically, “investing in and mentoring” in entrepreneurs with the goal of engineering philanthropy and social change.

I feel the need now to move on to a new chapter in my career. With the growth of BioWare to multiple locations as part of a public company, following two decades of multiple successful product launches across many platforms and business models, I’ve largely personally achieved what I wanted in videogames; I now desire to take on a brand new entrepreneurial challenge. 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.

Zeschuk, on the other hand, appears to have grown more weary of the business after nearly 20 years of devotion. He writes of the pain and regret accompanying such a choice, but of why it was necessary for him and his family:

“I’ve reached an unexpected point in my life where I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation.”

Like Muzyka, Zeschuk sees returning to games as a distant, and perhaps even unlikely proposition. In addition to more family time, he’s committed to pursuing craft beers and aims to host a web-based interview show on the subject. If game development ever does return, it will be on the other side of tasting a few good brews:

“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.”

Both developers had nothing but kind words for the relationships and corporate partnerships forged during their run – they concluded by thanking the BioWare team; fans; and Electronic Arts, who acquired the company in 2007. It’s hard nonetheless, though, to ignore the many changing attitudes regarding BioWare over the last few years.

BioWare Founders Muzyka Zeschuk Retire

There’s a strong contingent of fans who see legendary RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic and the first Mass Effect as the product of a different studio, the creative output of an independent juggernaut before Electronic Arts negotiated their way into the mix. Under the wing of the publisher, arguments abound that Mass Effect 2 was an appeasement to modern-day first-person shooters; that Mass Effect 3 – it’s controversial ending – was rushed and constrained; or that Dragon Age 2… well, yeah, Dragon Age 2.

Parting letters certainly wouldn’t have been the place for Muzyka or Zeschuk to abandon grace and humility in any case, but ultimately speculation won’t dissolve any time soon as to the complete reason they left.

Not to mention where BioWare is headed without their stewardship.

Ranters, what do you think about the departure of Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk from BioWare? How will their absence impact the studio in the future?

-

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: BioWare Blog (Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeshuck)

TAGS: BioWare, Dragon Age, Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age 3, Electronic Arts, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Star Wars, The Old Republic

15 Comments

Post a Comment

  1. Muzyka submitted his six months notice in April – about a month after the release of ME3. Gee, I wonder if there’s a connection.

    • It was probably something to do with EA rushing them on their games. No artist wants to feel rushed, and if I recall, Bioware’s last two games got horrible reception, The Old Republic not included. It had to have been frustrating seeing their creations become rushed and mediocre, as opposed to when LucasArts or Microsoft was their publisher.

      • Once it becomes about making money and not making art, it’s just a matter of time before the whole thing falls apart.

        • That… sorta rhymed. lol

  2. And not a single F**K was given that day…

  3. First Drew, now Ray and Greg. Why do I sense EA’s stink all over this?

    • You forgot Brent Knowles.

  4. “I’ve reached an unexpected point in my life where I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation.”

    This is the answer to DA2?

  5. They’ve lead the company that has given me some of my favorite games ever in Baldur’s Gate, KOTOR, and the Mass Effect Universe. I sincerely thank them for that….good luck on future endeavors Ray & Greg.

    I’m worried what will happen to Bioware now though, they were so ambitious at the beginning and have been pushed to make sacrifices to be more mainstream since EA bought them. With Ray & Greg gone it might give EA more of an opportunity to meddle.

  6. Dear Gamerant, it’s Neverwinter Nights, not Knights
    This is truly a day. But if were in their position, I would do the same.
    I don’t blame bioware for the recent f*** ups. I blame ea.
    And with them gone, it’s only going to get worse.

  7. Man, I am so sick of everyone bashing DA2. Sure it was a disappointment in some ways but it’s a decent game. It doesn’t deserve all the irrational hate piled on it. Just let it go guys…

    • I enjoyed DA2, I totally get the complaints against it though. But DA:O was far from perfect IMO…I was a lot more bored with that than DA2. Like basically everyone says, if they can take the positives from both they should have a pretty good game in DA3.

  8. There goes any chance of Jade Empire 2

    • I know. That angers me.

  9. After Baldur’s Gate, they haven’t put out a single game/series I liked. I’m not concerned. Good for them. They probably want to be with their families and s***, anyway.

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

Be Social, Follow Us!!