Yesterday Dr. Ray Muzyka & Dr. Greg Zeschuk, co-founders of BioWare, announced that they were retiring from not only BioWare, but from the games industry as a whole. Both men stated that this decision was not made lightly, but that they both felt that it was time for them to move onto new projects. I wanted to pay my respects to the men who founded one of my favorite game developers, as well as remind other gamers that regardless of whatever missteps you may feel BioWare has made recently, it should not tarnish our memories of the amazing games they’ve been responsible for.
Muzyka & Zeschuk, along with Augustine Yip, founded BioWare back in 1995 after graduating from medical school in Alberta — that’s a province in Canada for the geographically impaired. The three had not only played games on their own time, but had done some programming during their education. Their very first game was Shattered Steel, a mech simulation game released for the Mac in 1996. However, it wasn’t until two years later that the company released their first major gaming success, which set the groundwork for BioWare becoming an RPG expert: Baldur’s Gate. Selling over two million copies, it is ranked along with Diablo for revitalizing the computer RPG genre & set examples for future PC games.
But enough with the history lesson. What has been my experience with the BioWare games that has made me such a fan, even if I sometimes feel like shaking my head?
The first BioWare game I ever played was Jade Empire. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know I love this game & still play it after all this time. It was my love of Jade Empire’s well-constructed story & setting that encouraged me to play the Knights of the Old Republic games even though I’m not a huge Star Wars fan (although my experience was slightly diminished by the fact that my mom mistakenly bought me the second game before the first, which basically ruined the big plot twist of the first game). From there came my beloved Mass Effect & the Dragon Age series. And although Dragon Age isn’t among my favorite games, I still consider it a great fantasy RPG.
For giving us these wonderful games, I salute Muzyka & Zeschuk. Thank you. Thank you for giving an emphasis to storytelling & player choice, & for never being afraid to try something new in your games, even if it didn’t always work out. I wish you success in whatever your future endeavors are.