In an interview published yesterday in Gamesindustry.biz, Bioware founder Greg Zeschuk said ”The best analogy I use, in a positive way, is EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself,” when asked about Bioware and EA’s relationship. According to Zeschuk, EA gave Bioware a lot of leeway to craft the games the way Bioware wanted to. Zeschuk also believes the EA acquisition was necessary from an economical perspective, as it happened shortly before the financial collapse, which Bioware might not have been equipped to survive without EA.
Zeschuk thinks that the general oinion of EA is flawed, saying ”It’s interesting, people make a lot of assumptions about us and our feelings, and how they treat people, but honestly we were treated really well. I made a lot of friends there, and I respect the people there a ton.” So contrary to what the Internet has said, EA may not have corrupted Bioware to make the controversial decisions with Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3.
When asked about those two games, Zeschuk believes that it was really just a small minority of gamers who were dissatisfied, as ”The Internet is the ultimate megaphone, so a small number of people can sound really loud, so that’s one caveat to remember.” He also highlighted that Bioware were doing things differently, particularly when it came to portraying characters.
Zeschuk was actually quite critical of the way the Internet is used and abused, saying ”I also think the culture of anonymity on the Internet gives an incredible pulpit to people, but at the end of the day, they should be more thoughtful about how they use it,” referring – most likely – to the outcries following the Mass Effect 3 ending.
However, he understood why people reacted strongly to the ending, as games are a ”very powerful medium where people are so engaged in them that they feel they almost own them. We created such passion for the Shepard character that they wanted, perhaps unreasonably so, to dictate the outcome.” I think he hits the nail right on the head here. People stopped seeing Shepard as a character – maybe even a messianic one at that – and more of an extension of themselves, which can be problematic when you’re trying to tell a story.
Zeschuk also gave his perspective on the slowing console game sales, saying ”Everyone’s kind of holding out hope for the new consoles, but I honestly don’t think they’re going to be that big a deal. I worry a lot that unless Microsoft or Sony pull something magically out of a hat, it’s pretty much the same old, same old repackaged…”
When asked about what his proudest achievements with Bioware were, Zeschuk he didn’t highlight any specific games, but rather ”…helping people realize their potential and helping some of the creators we worked with within Bioware really get to another level and be really successful.”
After leaving Bioware, he has created a site called The Beer Diaries, dedicated to promoting craft beer. When asked about a possible return to the games industry, Zeschuk remarked ”It’s a kind of been there, done that feeling.”