Goodbye BioWare, Hello Indie

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Goodbye BioWare, Hello Indie

The story of two game developers who left their dream jobs at BioWare to go indie.

Read Full Article

Interesting to see this perspective as I have watched the quality of Bioware games go downhill since EA bought them.

I can understand why one wouldn't want to be part of a giant organization, one face among many.

I don't think the phrase tiny cog is appropriate. It's more like alternate an alternate route for rush hour.

And some people try to say that publishers only just provide the money needed for the creative process. Hardly, they have Bioware leashed and trained to do exactly what needs to be done for the highest chance of profit. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I'm allowed to be bitter about corporate needs being more important than creativity or public relations.

This is really no surprise that the internal "atmosphere" changed, since their games did too. I do pity the veteran developers in that situation. I would hate to be a part of a big conglomerate, no matter what my job was.

Surely there must be a way that you can create a large game and still remain a relatively tight-knit development team, without all that antagonistic corporate bullshit.

MammothBlade:
Surely there must be a way that you can create a large game and still remain a relatively tight-knit development team, without all that antagonistic corporate bullshit.

Yes, but it's very hard to maintain. For the most part, companies exist to make money/go where the money is, and going corporate definitely helps with the money stream in the short term.

BioWare's a sinking ship, like every company acquisitioned by EA.

In a year all of its current staff will be either fired or making Sims DLC at EA Canada. These guys did the smart thing.

Zen Toombs:

MammothBlade:
Surely there must be a way that you can create a large game and still remain a relatively tight-knit development team, without all that antagonistic corporate bullshit.

Yes, but it's very hard to maintain. For the most part, companies exist to make money/go where the money is, and going corporate definitely helps with the money stream in the short term.

Yeah cash-flow tends to be the crimper on staying independent.

Also lots of start-ups seem to end up having the end goal being to be bought out by a bigger company, Bioware seems to have been no different.

Respect for them on leaving and going alone - risky, but sounds like they enjoy it for all it's troubles.

Some people work well in start-ups others do well in established companies with all the associated structures that entails. Horses for courses I guess.

(Also really like this post about day 1 DLC in ME3 http://www.beesonpie.com/2012/02/run-dlc.html?utm_source=BP_recent )

Gotta give these guys some respect, they didnt like what they were doing and they decided to do something about it.

That email from the guy in a different department just screams "DICK MOVE" to me, why would you do something like that O.o The team spirit seems to have been hit with a brick and left bleeding on the floor if thats whats going on in there these days.

Thanks for a good article of journalism, looking forward to read more. Will be interesting to see what this guys can do in a non publisher game.

KiKiweaky:
Gotta give these guys some respect, they didnt like what they were doing and they decided to do something about it.

That email from the guy in a different department just screams "DICK MOVE" to me, why would you do something like that O.o The team spirit seems to have been hit with a brick and left bleeding on the floor if thats whats going on in there these days.

The guy who sent the e-mail should be fired. Really! Even in a big corporation that kind of behaviour shouldn't be accepted.

EA's restrictive policies prevented him from finding a creative outlet on his own. They claim ownership over any competing product - this includes indie games - done by employees, even on their own time.

Whoa whoa whoa - fucking what?!

That's obscene!

No, really. That's fucking obscene!

Christ. I need to stop right there, because by my own standards I shouldn't even be declaring this fact unless I'm prepared to back it up and i don't have a reasonable argument right now, so consider this comment merely one step short of mindless observation.

But holy shit. Fuck you, EA.

PingoBlack:

DressedInRags:

EA's restrictive policies prevented him from finding a creative outlet on his own. They claim ownership over any competing product - this includes indie games - done by employees, even on their own time.

Whoa whoa whoa - fucking what?!

Believe it or not, it's common to nearly all corporate employment contracts.

Wow. I'm amazed I never heard about this before.

That.... yeah, that should be made completely illegal. Right now.

In my opinion.

Mayhemski:
Standard practice in most companies - while you work for them they own your creative output that relates to your field. So game designer - any games you make they own the games but not your any paintings you do while indulging your hobby for landscape water colours*.

Really not shocking at all. As an old boss put it if your still pissed off when you've put your own millions on the line good on you, till then deal with it as a fact of life.

*Have heard of some companies that have tried claim the watercolours now that is shocking/stupid.

"Deal with it as a fact of life"? what, accept the unacceptable simply because that's the way it is?

DressedInRags:

EA's restrictive policies prevented him from finding a creative outlet on his own. They claim ownership over any competing product - this includes indie games - done by employees, even on their own time.

Whoa whoa whoa - fucking what?!

Believe it or not, it's common to nearly all corporate employment contracts.

Standard practice in most companies - while you work for them they own your creative output that relates to your field. So game designer - any games you make they own the games but not your any paintings you do while indulging your hobby for landscape water colours*.

Really not shocking at all. As an old boss put it if your still pissed off when you've put your own millions on the line good on you, till then deal with it as a fact of life.

*Have heard of some companies that have tried claim the watercolours now that is shocking/stupid.

Gah: Stupid double-post

DressedInRags:

EA's restrictive policies prevented him from finding a creative outlet on his own. They claim ownership over any competing product - this includes indie games - done by employees, even on their own time.

Whoa whoa whoa - fucking what?!

That's obscene!

No, really. That's fucking obscene!

This is standard practice.
Hell I'm just a regular software developer (ie I don't work on games or anything) and my employment contract says that I can't work for any company that makes the same kind of software as my employer does, for like at least a couple years after leaving the company.

Its so that you can't leave your company - and come out with your own competing product that you developed using resources of your former employer, or sell off proprietary info to competitors. Of course since this is all legal stuff we're talking about they have to extend the clause to include everything as to not leave any possible loopholes.

EDIT: I'm not saying that it doesn't suck, or that it can't/isn't abused by companies, but I figured it'd be worth mentioning what the other side of the coin is.

As much as Bioware are my favourite studio (yes, still), EA are treating their teams in a fucking disgusting manner, and I know what it's like to be one face in a massive corporation. It's soul destroying, utterly soul destroying.

Good on them for leaving and doing what they want to do, to give themselves the creative atmosphere they enjoy. I wish them both the very best of luck.

Tanakh:
Will be interesting to see what this guys can do in a non publisher game.

You need not wait much longer, NEO Scavenger just released yesterday!

http://bluebottlegames.com/main/node/2

I'm Dan Fedor, from the article, btw. Brook included the link in the article, but it might've gotten snipped out in the editing process by accident.

I'd love to hear what you guys think!

dcfedor:
You need not wait much longer, NEO Scavenger just released yesterday!

http://bluebottlegames.com/main/node/2

I'm Dan Fedor, from the article, btw. Brook included the link in the article, but it might've gotten snipped out in the editing process by accident.

I'd love to hear what you guys think!

Neat! I was about to rage to Skyrim crashing (due exessive modding), but worth the crash to see this. Alredy registered to the site and got the first(?) Yukon Edition of your game, because i love u guys from old times and love the current indie scene; heck, when i am done with my phd i wanna go indie dev :D

Edit: Also... damn mexican pesos to USD conversion, i guess will kiss this week toro suhi goodbye -.-''

Tanakh:
Neat! I was about to rage to Skyrim crashing (due exessive modding), but worth the crash to see this. Alredy registered to the site and got the first(?) Yukon Edition of your game, because i love u guys from old times and love the current indie scene; heck, when i am done with my phd i wanna go indie dev :D

Woohoo! Indeed you are the first Yukon Edition owner :) Sounds like I need to call up the printers about some postcardage!

Hope you enjoy the game so far, and I look forward to your feedback!

Oh, and don't forget to vote on new features, if you see any that catch your eye!

dcfedor:
Woohoo! Indeed you are the first Yukon Edition owner :) Sounds like I need to call up the printers about some postcardage!

Hope you enjoy the game so far, and I look forward to your feedback!

Oh, and don't forget to vote on new features, if you see any that catch your eye!

Well... i might be overestimating the Escapist bump, but heck, this game has the potential to sell like pancakes here. You should have said it plays like and feels a lil like a beta of old school Fallout with some very interesting changes; this is nerd central, people here are in love with Fallout, and an old school fallout that you can influence the development and vote on features? It will be several posters wet dream.

The old Bioware spirit is strong with this one.

(You guys are the first EVER to make me quote starwars)

Tanakh:
Well... i might be overestimating the Escapist bump, but heck, this game has the potential to sell like pancakes here. You should have said it plays like and feels a lil like a beta of old school Fallout with some very interesting changes; this is nerd central, people here are in love with Fallout, and an old school fallout that you can influence the development and vote on features? It will be several posters wet dream.

The old Bioware spirit is strong with this one.

(You guys are the first EVER to make me quote starwars)

You're giving me chills, man. I'm glad to hear you think it's moving in the right direction. I've been somewhat light on marketing so far, just because GDC and ME3 are big on everyone's minds.

But before long, I hope to start marching around forums, flash portals, and the like, and hopefully drum up some more interest.

So thanks again! And I promise not to tell anyone you quoted Star Wars ;)

EA: Masters of pretending their customers and employee's aren't human beings.

Interesting to get that insight into the Bioware offices.

I guess that's why they've been going down the shitter lately.

Hi just been playing Neo Scavenger. Very cool once I got the basics, down, love the premise so far. Only 1 question any chance of getting a larger font at all? Guess playing all these games has done for my eyesight?

Draxyle:
And some people try to say that publishers only just provide the money needed for the creative process. Hardly, they have Bioware leashed and trained to do exactly what needs to be done for the highest chance of profit. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I'm allowed to be bitter about corporate needs being more important than creativity or public relations.

This is really no surprise that the internal "atmosphere" changed, since their games did too. I do pity the veteran developers in that situation. I would hate to be a part of a big conglomerate, no matter what my job was.

The reason corporates do this is because of you. Your Super/Pension plan/whatever more than likely uses shares to get you returns, people who have no idea those 'evil corporations' are actually owned partially by them, invested for the maximum returns.

Indies on the other hand, there's 2 sides: The one who does well with their creativity, and the one that gets rooted by piracy, ruining their life (more often than not, it's the latter).

As sad as it is we all knew it was happening all along, ever since EA acquired bioware and started using more and more slaves to work on the game the spirit of what used to be a bioware game just evaporated.

There is a reason why the quality from DA:O to DA2 went down hill with skiis.

Brook Bakay:
Goodbye BioWare, Hello Indie

The story of two game developers who left their dream jobs at BioWare to go indie.

Read Full Article

I'm somehow seeing Bioware leaking talent left and right, between Brent Knowles (who was Lead Designer for DA:O) leaving right before Dragon Age 2, Drew Karpyshyn leaving as Mass Effect Lead Writer, these three guys leaving to found their own Indie studio and make a game they actually wanted to do (The Banner Saga), the guys talked about in this article and the countless number of people that likely don't even get any headlines it's hard not to see why their games are on a steep decline in regards to quality (which could also largely stem from the corporate culture), hell there was a post I saw lately that from the original "Mass Effect" writing team from when the franchise started only 2 people still work on the project over here. The cycle other companies like Origin, Bullfrog, Westwood, Maxis, Pandemic and many others went through being owned by EA seems to be repeating and I don't think "SW:ToR" will save Bioware from that fate.

Mayhemski:
Hi just been playing Neo Scavenger. Very cool once I got the basics, down, love the premise so far. Only 1 question any chance of getting a larger font at all? Guess playing all these games has done for my eyesight?

Cool, glad you're enjoying it so far!

Re: the font, I think it's possible. I may have to abandon the 800x600 resolution to accommodate a larger font, but the small res was mainly to fit the demo version on Flash portals. Since the Beta is exclusive to Blue Bottle Games, maybe I can just increase the resolution?

Lemme look into that. Can't hurt to try!

MammothBlade:
Surely there must be a way that you can create a large game and still remain a relatively tight-knit development team, without all that antagonistic corporate bullshit.

With making big games comes big budgets. With big budgets comes the corporate bullshit. I'm no insider but I bet it would be very, very hard to keep them separate especially if the developer is owned by a publisher.

It hits hard for me being a real huge fan of Bungie. They tried to spin it well but when Microsoft butted in and started marketing ODST as a full 60$ game when it was intended to be an expansion you could feel Bungie's uncomfortableness with the whole thing. Their split from being owned by Microsoft was hard fought and by giving up all of their rights and claims toward the Halo franchise tells how much Bungie was willing to give up in order to gain true independence.

At least there's a possible bright side to Bioware's dwindling: all these veteran and experienced people from the company leaving to form their own studios could likely become standard companies themselves in the future with enough luck and success, and will start looking for their own talent, creating more jobs for eager people wanting to work in the industry. I myself live in Edmonton, not too far from Bioware's own headquarters, and in a few years will be out on the field as a software programmer, so hopefully some of these indie studios will be hiring by the time I get out :)

Well i don't see what was wrong with the culture at EA, the Escapist told me Dragon Age 2 was a perfect game /trollface.

Seriously though, you can feel the decline in Bioware's products, Dragon Age was... eeehh it was ok i guess it lacked any real interest for me and the unlocks and armor were just the most boring, generic things i have ever seen in an RPG. Dragon Age 2 was just a head scratching mess. It looked bad at launch, it had techical issues for the PC right down to its core, it's content was recycled constantly and its restriction of the RPG formula was baffling. They didn't seem to know what they were going for and ended up with a total mess.

The industry is changing, the big developers have real competition for time from really decent start-ups. Hopefully some of these studios will remain independant and be able to grow in resources enough to really hurt the monolithic publishing dionsaurs. We've already seen some of it in europe over the past few years; The Witcher 2 (version 2.0 at least) was a game i would put toe to toe with any modern AAA rpg.

DressedInRags:

EA's restrictive policies prevented him from finding a creative outlet on his own. They claim ownership over any competing product - this includes indie games - done by employees, even on their own time.

Whoa whoa whoa - fucking what?!

That's obscene!

No, really. That's fucking obscene!

I already knew stuff like this was going on, and that is one of the many reasons why I am kind of ok with the idea of there being another game crash. I would like to see most of the current biggest names in gaming gone, bankrupk and living under bridges. Gaming has no future if these are the kinds of people gaining more and more control over it. And if there is a crash, and history repeats itself (as it often does) the next time gaming appears it will be all the better for this.

these are some very intrestinting points of view,nice article

Is that a... is that a 2D isometric RPG?

*cannot download quick enough*

This makes me think - what if game industry eventually collapse after all? I suppose the big problem here is that copyright laws don't protect the artist at all.
Seriously, it's outrageous how it's perfectly legal worldwide to claim ownership of something you didn't create. The original author should be the owner of IP. EA claims bloody ownership of any game it's employees create in their own free time?
And you, world, try to pass stuff like SOPA and ACTA? Really? First deal with real thieves of IP, aka companies like EA and Activision. You know, those are the pirates that actually hurt the authors, so to speak.
Seriously, claim ownership of something your employee create in his/her free time? That's entering slavery territory, no less.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here