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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Greg Zeschuk - Moving From BioWare to Beer

Default Greg Zeschuk - Moving From BioWare to Beer

May 3rd, 2013, 01:24
IGN caught up with Greg Zeschuk and interviewed him about various topics, and of course beer.
My first question is obvious: what happened?
“Once you’ve done something for so long, at some point it’s just not that exciting anymore,” Zeschuk confesses. “I had trouble looking down the road at something that was just incredibly interesting and challenging and new and unique that stretched me personally. I think video games, for me…it was very clear what the future held. It was more of the same.” It’s a reply we’ve heard before, one that closely mirrors the message of the retirement letter he posted last September when he and partner Ray Muzyka stepped down. Naturally the gaming community was quick to offer other explanations — including the controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3’s unsatisfying ending and BioWare’s merger with mega-publisher EA — but when I question him, Zeschuk calmly maintains that his reasons were purely personal.

“The passion and level of engagement was so high that it makes it very hard to solve every scenario you wanted to solve at the end of it,” Zeschuk says of Mass Effect 3. “I always still sincerely think it’s because [the fans] really really care about what we make. It’s not random. It’s like, they may be disappointed when they can’t get the choice they want because they’re so intimate with their story or their character or their game. If it’s not just the way they want it, it’s not right. So it’s a very hard thing to reconcile, but the reality is, I can understand completely where it can come from.”

Anytime anyone writes about Greg Zeschuk, they’re always quick to point out one compelling piece of his personal history: before starting BioWare, Zeschuk was a licensed, practicing medical doctor. His choice to abandon years of training in order to make video games might seem brilliant now, but at the time, it surely felt like an insane risk. Speaking with him now, however, his decision somehow feels like the only one he possibly could have made. “It’s actually a personal philosophy of mine,” Zeschuk says. “For me at least, the secret to being happy, in a way, is just doing stuff. If I’m not doing stuff, I’m not happy. I think from a philosophical perspective, people kind of owe it to themselves to try to do things nowadays. There’s very little reason not to try to do stuff.”

Stuff like, say, quitting your job as an award-winning developer in order to pursue a new passion. While The Beer Diaries may not be the next Mass Effect or Dragon Age, it all makes perfect sense given Zeschuk’s mentality. “At the end of the day, at the very least, we did something,” he states. “Maybe we made some people angry, made some people happy… You can live your life without doing anything. The reality, though, is simply, having done something is really, really rewarding.” I think we can all drink to that.
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May 3rd, 2013, 01:24
hes a noob . Doctor pff, that what my hispter friends have set on their priority list
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May 3rd, 2013, 10:41
So he left because he lacked the excitment.
Right. We all buy that story. Next case please.

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May 3rd, 2013, 15:07
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
So he left because he lacked the excitment.
Right. We all buy that story. Next case please.
I dunno, if I had my work/company, in the span of roughly ten years, go from being ridiculously lauded (KotOR, Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins) to overzealously bashed (ME2, DA2, TOR, ME3) I'd probably lose all excitement over coming to work, too.
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May 3rd, 2013, 16:42
Can't remember some huge bashing on ME2.
DA2, putting the game itself aside, is far from not being excited with when you see the difference on Metacritic review sites and players' votes.
TOR is, no matter what they say, the result of EA "new" vision/mission religious crap modern companies do and in this case all EA games must be or contain multiplayer, good luck with that.
ME3 got bashed only for it's ending that felt like a smelly fart into audience's faces.

IMO still plenty of excitment if not too much of it.
But no control, no inovation, no design freedom - I'd leave myself.

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May 3rd, 2013, 18:20
I get where he's coming from in terms of big budget video games becoming pretty much all the same—that kind of money undoubtedly leads to a conservativeness in design. There's something to be said for working with a small team on something innovative and creative.
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