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November 16th, 2007, 00:24
You may remember BioWare recently called for fan questions to submit to the Doctors in the aftermath of the EA acquisition. Well, the resulting video and podcast is in - I haven't had the chance to watch it but someone let us know if Dragon Age gets any decent responses:
BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk wanted to take the time to answer questions directly from the fans about the future of BioWare, Mass Effect, Electronic Arts and even facial hair. We tried to get both of them to admit to being alien beings crafted in distant labs by an advanced race of brains in jars, but they are much too wily for us.
We asked BioWare's very own forum community to provide us with their burning questions, and our community team put them to our fearless leaders. Watch the video of the entire interview or download the podcast.
More information.

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November 16th, 2007, 00:24
According to the news thread on this:

http://forums.bioware.com/viewtopic….98120&forum=41

so far one person says its mostly on Mass Effect.

If true this would be consistent with interviews they've had in the past: making sure that most of the time is taken promoting their latest project.

I've requested a transcript as I just can't sit through podcasts, especially if I want to see if my questions got answered.

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November 16th, 2007, 17:42
Yes, the podcast was mostly about Mass Effect and the recent EA aquisition of Bioware/Pandemic. I think there were many great questions about Mass Effect and EA and how the buy-out from EA would affect Bioware's ability to make games.

This was to be suspected, I think, as the fan interview was announced shortly after EA had bought Bioware/Pandemic. Another question which really was great, I think, is what they do all they at the office. They didn't tell me much that I wasn't suspecting anyways, but it was nice to see that they confirmed they were holding meetings, making strategic decisions etc.

I asked them what made them decide to become game makers instead of medical doctors. And they answered this question (In fairness, other persons have also asked this question). Anyway, they said that they couldn't point to a specific instance (or point in time) where it became clear. But they did say that they thought they could do point, medical doctors as night — game makers at day But then the game making just sort of took overhand.

I sort of expected them to say that their first 'game' was a type of medical software who could help the medical industry scan lungs, chest etc. for eventual problems in this area, but for some reason they didn't - or maybe I'm more heard of hearing that I think I am.
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November 16th, 2007, 18:55
Lemme know if they mentioned anything about a PC port of Mass Effect… would you kindly?

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November 16th, 2007, 19:16
Bioware is still operational? GAWD I thought it'd have been closed down by now. It has already been EA owned for like one day!
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November 16th, 2007, 19:55
Heh, they're not officially until the beginning of next year. Though I see what you mean, even the thought of being EA owned should have its consequences.

There were a couple questions about the EA acquisition, but the responses were the usual "How exciting it is for us to work with EA" PR. Overall they sounded like detached businessmen, no longer actively involved in game development.

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Last edited by Lethal Weapon; November 16th, 2007 at 20:01.
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November 16th, 2007, 20:33
Standing on the outside, you just never know how an acquisition is going to turn out, not until the dust settles. Sometimes they can be great opportunities for creating change.

On the inside, it's a good time to smile and say things like, "How exciting!" But no matter how straightforward it may all seem, the truth is there are always only a handful of people holding the axes in their hands. And even fewer tell them where to swing.
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November 16th, 2007, 23:35
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
Heh, they're not officially until the beginning of next year. Though I see what you mean, even the thought of being EA owned should have its consequences.

There were a couple questions about the EA acquisition, but the responses were the usual "How exciting it is for us to work with EA" PR. Overall they sounded like detached businessmen, no longer actively involved in game development.
But they are detached businessmen - yet they are still actively involved in game development. It is still game development to me, if you make managerial (leader) decisions on what games to make, how to market your games, what content should be approved for Mass Effect or Dragon Age or other games.

I once asked David Gaider on the Codex how much Ray & Greg decides re: game development at Bioware. By his answer I certainly got the impression that Ray&Greg are still very much actively involved in game development, but from a managerial position, not a hands on position. They are the leaders of Bioware. They have a responsibility for making the correct strategic business decisions as to where Bioware need to go in the future.

From David's answer I sort of gathered that Ray&Greg still decide pretty much everything e.g. they need to OK everything, maybe not in detail, but in the general overview of a game's development such as what races should there be in Mass Effect or how should the combat be as well as OK the story. The same holds true for Dragon Age I think. I think they also have in say in how the game is being marketed. Of course, they're going to take this opportunity to talk about their upcoming game, Mass Effect and its awesomeness. It would be really weird, if the didn't, I think.

It is clear to me that Ray&Greg was consulted & said 'OK' to the marketing ploy for Mass Effect which were (and is) to get other than RPG fans interested in the game. That's why the combat mimicks the combat in Gears of War and other shooters, so that shooter fans will buy this game. RPG fans and fans of Bioware's games will buy the game, nearly no matter what, I think. In this day and age, therefore, it is imperative to expand your market share. And one of doing this is to market the game as a shooter so that shooter fans will buy the game. And so Mass Effect was (and is) marketed. Hopefully, the shooter fans aren't that let down or frustrated when they find they'd have to put points into say assult rifle just to aim and shoot something.

Sadly, Ray&Greg didn't say when Mass Effect is coming to the PC, but they did say something about Dragon Age, though. Not much, but something. They have even dropped a DA hint some time ago when they were being interviewed by paper, magazine or gaming website. They've told the reporters that Dragon Age is nearly finished and that they've played it the whole weekend, yet they only thought they would play for maybe 5-10 minutes. In the same interview they also told the reporter that they played the actual game, not a demo or anything, but the actual finished game. This probably means the game is nearing completion and ready to be shipped - after finding a publisher.

While we're oin the subject of Dragon Age:

David Gaider has hinted (in the Dragon Age forums) that there would be more tactical combat in Dragon Age than there were in Baldur's Gate - the only thing more tactical would than this combat would be genuine turn-based combat, but that's just a guess on my part, so don't spread any rumours now, please.

As for Ray&Greg selling Bioware to EA:

They could have thought that EA buying them would mean financial security, since tit would mean no more worries where the money to the next games should be find as well as Bioware needn't worry anymore about where to find a publisher for their games. This is a business decision - and they are the only ones to make it. Whether it was a good or bad decision, well, only time will tell.
I know one thing for certain: Bioware is a vey well managed company, both financially and terms of management. This means we won't get another Origen on our hands, since it it my understanding that the Origens devs. didn't really know how to manage all that money they got from EA and thus spent it all at once or nearly did so.

In this fan interview, they also reveal that their favorite games are Wasteland and one of the Ultima games, I think.
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November 17th, 2007, 08:24
Originally Posted by ariesxxxx
As for Ray&Greg selling Bioware to EA:

They could have thought that EA buying them would mean financial security, since tit would mean no more worries where the money to the next games should be find as well as Bioware needn't worry anymore about where to find a publisher for their games. This is a business decision - and they are the only ones to make it. Whether it was a good or bad decision, well, only time will tell.
I know one thing for certain: Bioware is a vey well managed company, both financially and terms of management. This means we won't get another Origen on our hands, since it it my understanding that the Origens devs. didn't really know how to manage all that money they got from EA and thus spent it all at once or nearly did so.
Meanwhile

Originally Posted by ariesxxxx in another forums
Ok, let's try and stay cool about this. It might not be true If it is, though, Bioware can wave goodbye to being named among the top 100 employees of Canada for a very very long long time

EA Games does not want deep progessive games with outstanding stories, they just want (as I see it) to churn out the same games after one another year after year after year. Dragon Age will surely be cancelled, the same will the Sonic RPG as this does fit EA's company's profile which is to make as many action games as possible. So console games will be all Bioware will be making for the next 10 year or so, I fear

Remeber, though, this is all guesswork and speculating on my part, as I don't know if this is true or not. However, if is true, my guess is that Bioware will be gone as an independent gaming entity within the next 5 years or so. EA have done this with all the companies they have bought, Origin and Looking Glass Studios? and many, many more.

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November 17th, 2007, 12:40
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
David Gaider has hinted (in the Dragon Age forums) that there would be more tactical combat in Dragon Age than there were in Baldur's Gate - the only thing more tactical would than this combat would be genuine turn-based combat, but that's just a guess on my part, so don't spread any rumours now, please.
There's plenty of ways to make combat more tactical without deviating from the BG-style real-time-with-pause.

A simple example - make position count. Height, cover, even mobility on the battlefield - all these things could have an impact on combat. Jump on that table for a boost to your attack bonus over that oponent on the floor. Duck behind that tree for an armour bonus while taking pot-shots with magic spells. All those things add to tactical decisions without requiring turn-based play.

Much as I would love to see full turn based play as in ToEE, I just don't think we'll ever see it from a developer like Bioware - it turns off too many players, and that means reduced sales.
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November 17th, 2007, 19:45
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
Meanwhile



Yes, yes, very funny….

But I'm allowed to change my mind, I hope ?

I'm also allowed to, I hope, to go through every possible scenario, aren't ?

It could well be that after the release of Dragon Age for the PC, that EA said to Bioware that they will only give Bioware funding for concole games….
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November 18th, 2007, 02:27
Is it just me, or has every Ray & Greg interview of the past couple of years just been blatant PR-speak? It's never any actual insght into the two founding members of Bioware, it's just PR of their latest game, with a side order of "isn't the latest Bioware news wonderful" - which in this case is the EA takeover (we love EA and the money that their takeover has deposited into our personal bank accounts!).

The Bioware success story is a bubble that's ripe to burst. It'll be interesting to see how Ray & Greg's interviews pan out when they begin their downward spiral… will they be able to put a positive spin on even that? Or will they even care if they're smart and jump ship while they're ahead?
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November 18th, 2007, 04:00
I don't agree with the bursting-bubble metaphor but, yes, I'm tired of the PR-speak. I don't really bother to read anything direct from these two because I know I'll never get any real insight, except when it coincides with the PR.

They'd make great politicians — always "on message".

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November 18th, 2007, 05:06
I had hoped the community questions might get a different response than the Hilary type plant questions but with so many predictable responses in 8 pages of the thread that made it easy for them to pick and choose. Many of the questions are same ones they've answered for years "what was you first game/software", "why did you choose to become game designers instead of doctoring.", etc.

I had asked them if they felt that they did more good as employers of 100's of people in a mutli-multi-million dollar company than as doctors. I doubt that phrasing of the question got answered but I thought I would challenge them. A medical doctor has a lot of responsibility they've put on themselves and one could justify a career change to become a politician or a minister might be more important but its difficult to find a higher calling.

Ed Roberts, creator of the of the Altair 8800 in fact left computing to become a medical doctor.

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November 18th, 2007, 17:20
Originally Posted by Holly Avenger View Post
Is it just me, or has every Ray & Greg interview of the past couple of years just been blatant PR-speak? It's never any actual insght into the two founding members of Bioware, it's just PR of their latest game, with a side order of "isn't the latest Bioware news wonderful" - which in this case is the EA takeover (we love EA and the money that their takeover has deposited into our personal bank accounts!)….
It's not just you. The generic overload of hype from Bioware (and many others, of course) has grown far higher than the level of any useful information about the game. In many ways I'm dreading the announcement of Dragon Age, because even though I'm curious about the game, I know I'll have to wade through buckets of buzzwords and meaningless adjectives to find whatever few facts the marketing department deems applicable.

It often seems to me that the same person, or perhaps computer-assisted word processing program, composes all press releases across the board for all the big publishers, cutting and pasting them with a few changes, like name and genre. The level of hyperbole soars while the content dwindles.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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November 18th, 2007, 23:14
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
I had hoped the community questions might get a different response than the Hilary type plant questions but with so many predictable responses in 8 pages of the thread that made it easy for them to pick and choose. Many of the questions are same ones they've answered for years "what was you first game/software", "why did you choose to become game designers instead of doctoring.", etc.

I had asked them if they felt that they did more good as employers of 100's of people in a mutli-multi-million dollar company than as doctors. I doubt that phrasing of the question got answered but I thought I would challenge them. A medical doctor has a lot of responsibility they've put on themselves and one could justify a career change to become a politician or a minister might be more important but its difficult to find a higher calling.

Ed Roberts, creator of the of the Altair 8800 in fact left computing to become a medical doctor.
I actually them a question like this 'you both started out as medical doctors, at what point in time did you decide to become game makers' or something like that.
They really didn't answer that except with some vague and general chit char responses like 'well, back in the day… blaaa….blaaa. played a lot of games…started to make games…. blaaa…. blaaaa.' and such answers.

I wasn't trying to corner them or take them by surprise or ask them a question they've answered a 1000times before. I asked the question beacause, as I teacher, Im genuinely interested in what it takes for people to make their up to minds to do something different from what they've done all their life. If I look back at my life, I can probably say that's there is a defining moment where I decided to become a teacher or to study the subjetcs I did at the university level.
I had hoped they would have said, 'well, we realized we made better gamers than doctors since….XXX or YYY', but sadly, they didn't.

Ray&Greg also just don't strike me as the type of people who sit back and are very reflective of what they have done with their life. They strike me more as people who like to do and certainly like to about their company's, Bioware's, latest game. And this is actually their job as CEO&President at Bioware, to promote their games, and defend their business decisions, like the EA merg, eh, EA take-over of Bioware/Pandemic.

I hope Bioware will still be here 50 years from now, but EA and Atari are the only game publishers and developers, and maybe Microsoft, too, that made it past the 25th year mark so far…so there's still truth in the old sentence 'that in 100 years, we'd all be dead…'
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