BioWare - The Long Strange Journey of Greg Zeschuk
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January 30th, 2013, 09:00
Bioware started their path downhill long before the EA takeover. Personally, I put it at Jade Empire.
That's not to say they've been making crap games - just games that have been emphasizing mass-market values above gameplay and mechanics. I've been enjoying games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect (the first one) - but they've clearly been inferior to what they could have been.
That said, this is nothing new and it happens to almost all companies that get too big for their own good. It becomes about something other than making the best art - but instead what will keep the huge size intact, because you don't want to lose people after hiring them.
It's a very nasty spiral fed by perpetual capitalistic opportunism - and very few people understand the progression in time to prevent it.
As for Bioware getting extra grief, I think it has to do with their visibility and their particularly distasteful PR department. I don't know how many times I've heard a developer or PR mouthpiece defend their decisions - as if they weren't doing EXACTLY what people were afraid they were doing.
More than that, though, I think it has to do with how fantastic they used to be. Nothing can provoke disappointment or bitterness more than something you love that leaves you - and treats your poorly afterwards.
Whether that's down to company policy or some "higher-up" decree - I couldn't say. That's why I don't put it on the people talking - but on the companies behind the people talking.
So when I bitch about EA/Bio - I'm not talking about invididuals. But I'm not going to cut individuals unwarranted slack even so, because they're a part of it - and if they don't want to support corruption of the art, they don't have to feign ignorance and lie to themselves or the fans. That's not impressive human behavior.
It's not about feeling entitled to better games - it's about being treated with a straight face and honesty. If you're going to corrupt your artistic process - then be frank about it - or if you can't manage that ("Oh my god, we might lose fans if we tell them the truth about our process"), then stop whining about people being upset. That's what happens when you're a liar in public.
Don't forget the fans created their opportunities as much as they did themselves - and they're not giving us anything for free, we actually have to pay for their games. So "entitlement" is about getting a product that's not developed entirely for the mass-market, with dumbed down and streamlined mechanics - because that's what we've come to expect from the past. If you've changed your ways, be honest about it.
It's not so hard.
These doctors bailed late - and not immediately after the takeover. They could have bailed a long time ago, but they chose to stay. Their downwards spiral is clearly unstoppable now - so maybe that wasn't too comfortable. If they want to tell themselves that the fans are feeling wrongly entitled - and they haven't done anything to deserve criticism - that's their choice. It's just another way of being dishonest in public.
Last edited by DArtagnan; January 30th, 2013 at