BioWare Co-Founder Explains Departure

BioWare Co-Founder Explains Departure

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Greg Zeschuk cites "everything" as his reason for leaving BioWare.

When Greg Zeschuk, one of the founders of RPG giant BioWare, left his post after two decades on the job, responses ran the gamut from "go with God" to "good riddance." A number of fans theorized that Zeschuk was upset with the company's direction under EA, or the problems plaguing Star Wars: The Old Republic, or simply having worked the same job for twenty years. Recently, Zeschuk clarified his position - somewhat. Instead of a few specific reasons for heading out, the doctor-turned-designer-turned-beer-aficionado says that he was exhausted by the entire process of videogame development.

"Everything's a factor," says Zeschuk. "There's nothing that's not a factor, but there's no single one thing." Zeschuk describes game development at BioWare as intense, and says that he had been subjected to high pressure and stress on a very regular basis for every one of his company's projects. "It's sometimes rewarding and sometimes it's not. And you just get tired of it after awhile."

Zeschuk also understands the frustration that fans felt at his departure. Many gamers expressed disappointment with his decision, but Zeschuk does not believe that his future efforts would have lived up to his past ones. "I don't think I would be as good as I was in that space historically. Like I said, the fire wasn't there." In spite of some harsh criticism that BioWare endured after Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, Zeschuk still has positive feelings about his fans. "We are big boys and you have to be able to deal with that criticism. I totally get that passion. One of the absolutely exciting things about having worked in the game space is that the level of passion people have for what we create is insane."

Since leaving BioWare, Zeschuk has been hard at work on a web show that highlights craft beers from around the world. This makes sense, of course: Kicking back after a day of work with a beer is a great way to relax, so kicking back after twenty years of work involves entire breweries.

Source: Polygon

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Well according to Graham, one reason is that anybody who didn't like ME 3 is too stupid to tell the difference between him and Casey Hudson.

Sounds like the man hit a severe case of burnout. When that happens then the best thing to do is to step away from the subject in question and do something else for a while. Though I admit it's nice to see he hasn't been soured on the fans. After all the hate BioWare has managed to earn, I wouldn't be surprised if he was.

Halyah:
Sounds like the man hit a severe case of burnout. When that happens then the best thing to do is to step away from the subject in question and do something else for a while. Though I admit it's nice to see he hasn't been soured on the fans. After all the hate BioWare has managed to earn, I wouldn't be surprised if he was.

Of course he had to be diplomatic. But I read "the level of passion people have for what we create is insane" as "gamers are extremely bitchy and hard to please" :)

tautologico:

Halyah:
Sounds like the man hit a severe case of burnout. When that happens then the best thing to do is to step away from the subject in question and do something else for a while. Though I admit it's nice to see he hasn't been soured on the fans. After all the hate BioWare has managed to earn, I wouldn't be surprised if he was.

Of course he had to be diplomatic. But I read "the level of passion people have for what we create is insane" as "gamers are extremely bitchy and hard to please" :)

I'd say gamers are painfully easy to please given what we've seen coming down the tube and getting 10/10s then getting fervently defended against any and all criticism. The people who actually have standards and expectations or, hell, even see a game as 7/10 instead of being flawless get sledgehammered in to the ground by the torrents white-knights who see any negative statements as haters or entitled bitching.

More on-topic, if anyone has hope of Bioware returning to their "glory days" I think we can safely say that hope is gone or about to be. The people who made Bioware what it was before EA ripped its soul out are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship.

If his reason for leaving was something along the lines of "Because I'm sick and tired of making the same damn game over and over again with only slight changes to the setting." I would have deified the man on the spot.

Sylveria:

I'd say gamers are painfully easy to please given what we've seen coming down the tube and getting 10/10s then getting fervently defended against any and all criticism. The people who actually have standards and expectations or, hell, even see a game as 7/10 instead of being flawless get sledgehammered in to the ground by the torrents white-knights who see any negative statements as haters or entitled bitching.

More on-topic, if anyone has hope of Bioware returning to their "glory days" I think we can safely say that hope is gone or about to be. The people who made Bioware what it was before EA ripped its soul out are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship.

Really? I've seen quite the opposite. I've given up on defending any game I like at all on these forums. Especially something like ME3. I'm just going to end up with 10 notifications in my inbox about how I'm EA's bitch and a horrible person. Not worth it in any way.

We are big boys and you have to be able to deal with that criticism. I totally get that passion. One of the absolutely exciting things about having worked in the game space is that the level of passion people have for what we create is insane.

Wow, that's weird coming from somebody from Bioware. I guess that kind of attitude is why he wasn't welcome there anymore.

BloodSquirrel:

We are big boys and you have to be able to deal with that criticism. I totally get that passion. One of the absolutely exciting things about having worked in the game space is that the level of passion people have for what we create is insane.

Wow, that's weird coming from somebody from Bioware. I guess that kind of attitude is why he wasn't welcome there anymore.

I was thinking the exact same thing. He seems pretty far from that butthurt developer who didn't like what people were saying on the Bioware forums.

Frostbite3789:
Really? I've seen quite the opposite. I've given up on defending any game I like at all on these forums. Especially something like ME3. I'm just going to end up with 10 notifications in my inbox about how I'm EA's bitch and a horrible person. Not worth it in any way.

As far as I'm concerned, you are perfectly allowed to like unpopular games and even defend them. The reason that the defensiveness has spiked so high (in both directions) is the 'defenders' coming out and saying that fans aren't *allowed* to be upset about problems with their game. "You didn't develop it, you don't get to complain" is something that I saw parroted about in different forms all over the place. This did nothing but make the backlash worse, and lead to retaliations (which I'm not defending, mind you) against people who legitimately liked the game, like you.

Skimming the title, I was expecting this article to describe a new Bioware game called "Departure"

I've liked the company for quite a while, I wish him the best and if he returns with a good idea, I hope to see it on Kickstarter.

Looks like he just borned out. I guess its good that he found out that he did and left. certainly better than forcing a burned out artist to be creative. that never works.

as for the whole side debate of "defenders", i have to agree that there are both bashing and defending from both sides to such extreme levels....
ME3 is a good example, everyone just took a side and went all out on another one. there was no middle ground save for few people who saw things like these in the past. this is a problem with many things, not games alone, its just that games are more noticable for gamers, than, say, politics.

And yeah, gamers are ridiculously easy to please. myself included.

tautologico:
But I read "the level of passion people have for what we create is insane" as "gamers are extremely bitchy and hard to please" :)

how are we not ...?

we, as a group, are pretty quick to grab the torches and pitch forks at even the slightest inconsequential changes, let alone major ones (though it rarely amounts to more then pissing and moaning)

I'd rather he have left if he felt burned out then force himself to stay for the fans. I understand why fans are upset by his leaving, but KOTOR and Jade Empire weren't made by being a chore and a paycheck. They were labours of love. If Greg didn't feel that love for making games, quality would suffer, and fans would become even more upset. I think his quitting when he realized how he felt was the best decision for all involved.

 

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