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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » BioWare - The Long Strange Journey of Greg Zeschuk

Default BioWare - The Long Strange Journey of Greg Zeschuk

January 29th, 2013, 23:46
Originally Posted by Warmark View Post
True, but the rise of Indie developed games along with the help of things like Kickstarter has helped bring back some of that old developer magic.
Yeah agree 100%. And, lets hope that *some* of the old dogs such as Braben & Fargo still have some new tricks to show us.
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January 30th, 2013, 01:15
on these very boards we go on about how sad it was for Piranha bytes dev to die of cancer, I'm pretty sure many of you wouldn't feel the same way for the Dr's. This is definitely bizarro world.

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January 30th, 2013, 07:28
He said everything that needs to be said with this quote.
You know it's sad I wish I could deliver on that, but I don't think I would be as good as I was in that space historically. Like I said, the fire wasn't there.
I think it was time and will thank them for the games from there past I did enjoy. It was there recent games that soured my outlook on them. I wish both success and hey if that spark ever comes back I'll be waiting.

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January 30th, 2013, 08:58
It's pretty common and people felt the same way when SSI, SirTech and Origin got closed down/stop producing games as well. It is very sad when such things happen and it is only natural some people feel angry. The case of bioware is slightly different and to be be frank the founders deserve criticism, there was no geniune reason they couldn't have kept going the way they were - greed did rear it's ugly head. Growth for the sake of growth, or using the latest technolgy for the sake of making something mass market is the very definition of selling out. How much more satisifying would it have been for themselves personally if they had of left on a high note.

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January 30th, 2013, 10:00
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 10:13.
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January 30th, 2013, 10:03
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
I don't think this is what's happening at all - maybe its the exclusive group at Bioware that he only chooses to listen too.
I was surprised to hear this claim too, because that's not the writing on the wall I've been reading. I'm sure there are some people out there who took it personally when the docs left, but that's not a sentiment I've read from any of the comments I've seen.

IMO Bioware fans are again vilified with misquotes, and people just run with it without questioning if there's any truth behind it. Because, you know, pointing and laughing is more fun.
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January 30th, 2013, 22:13
Just why Zeschuk lost his passion for gaming remains a bit unclear.
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January 31st, 2013, 01:28
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Aye, life grinds you down. Sometimes starting over can be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Too true.
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January 31st, 2013, 02:17
He was at a crossroads - one road led to the continued high-pressure life of scrutiny under EA and rabid Bioware fanatics / haters. The other road: a mellow life of touring the best microbreweries in the land and drinking lots of good beer. He chose wisely.

But seriously, yeah - 20 years of anything and you get burned out after a while. I'm thankful for the games he helped bring about and don't begrudge him moving on at all. I wish him well and might even check out his beer show.
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January 31st, 2013, 14:53
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
on these very boards we go on about how sad it was for Piranha bytes dev to die of cancer, I'm pretty sure many of you wouldn't feel the same way for the Dr's.
No, I dont think so. And I wonder where you get that impression from.
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January 31st, 2013, 17:36
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
on these very boards we go on about how sad it was for Piranha bytes dev to die of cancer, I'm pretty sure many of you wouldn't feel the same way for the Dr's. This is definitely bizarro world.
Projection much? Why you constantly feel the need to address the entire website as if it's some kind of collective with this victimised tone is what's bizarre.
I suggest you get some perspective and try to see people as individuals rather than continue to build this strange generalised fantasy you appear to have.

One simple measurement I often bear in mind when considering how much Bioware have changed is the depth and challenge of their combat encounters; particularly when it comes to dragons. Dragon Age at least for me, just doesn't compare well when it comes to Baldur's Gate II, mechanically and tactically.
The intensity of the fights with the many majesetic dragons from BG2 have stuck with me over the years, whereas I struggle to really remember too many from Dragon Age or any of their other games post-KotOR. It might seem a simple observation, but I think it's certainly a minor indicator of the nature of change at Bioware over the years.

Regardless of my musings, all the best to Mr Zeschuk in his chosen future endeavours and many thanks for the good times spent with your games!

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January 31st, 2013, 17:48
No one is blaming opportunists for being opportunists. It's a very natural reflection of a very natural drive.

I'm sad no matter who passes away - but that doesn't mean I have to be blind to what they did when they were alive.

For the record, the good doctors at Bio did better in the earlier years than most. So, overall - they've been a gift to the gaming community.

What happened later, is more about a natural evolution of a company that gets too big with too many cooks in the kitchen.

However, it would be foolish to ignore that and pretend it didn't happen.
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January 31st, 2013, 23:31
BG2, which is hailed ny almost all os us as an example of a very good rpg were wide criticized back in the days (1998 or 1999?) for doing away with 1) exploration in BG1 2) railroading the player experience in hubs and 3) irritating characters (Imoen and Jaheira, anyone….). And Jade Empire still has a small, but very loyal fanbase.

Even Dragon Age: Origins were criticized a bit - or a lot - e.g. the Fade portion and the Deep Roads in this game felt, to many players, including me, way too long.

Let me be clear about this: I much prefer the Bioware games of today than the ones of yesteryear e.g. Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic and so on and so forth. The characters in the Mass Effect 2 and ME3 games are much better written than in ony other Bioware games out there, let alone in any other games out there. (The Witcher games as the exception, of course…) The story in DA2 is much much better than in most other games, and the story is also way better than most gamers say it is: It tells a story of a human who by way of his or her own accomplishments goes from rags to riches. The sidekicks, ehm, I mean npcs, e.g. the followers, are some of the best written ones, I've seen in a videogame - ever.

The point of alle this is to say this:
When BG2 was released there was an uproar in the Bioware community, when Jade Empire was announced, there was an uproad, when Mass Effect was annonuced, Bioware got a lot of flack for this, when DA: Origins was annonced, not so much. But when it was released…….. every Bioware game has seen its share of criticism.

My educated guess is this; criticism will always follow in the wake of the Bioware games.

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