Founders of BioWare Speak About MMOs

Gamasutra has posted an extensive, 4-page interview with Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk. Many UO players may not necessarily recognize the names, but they are the founds of BioWare, and Dr. Muzyka is the head of BioWare and Dr. Zeschuk is the Vice President and “Group Creative Officer” at BioWare. that’s very important to UO players as Ultima Online is a part of BioWare (BioWare Mythic) within Electronic Arts.

Obviously the majority of the interview is going to revolve around Star Wars: The Old Republic, the upcoming MMO from BioWare, but I think it’s important to note how they view the MMO industry and MMOs, as both of them are in a position to influence UO. The so-called Ultima reboot also falls under their domain.

The interview even starts off discussing their influence within BioWare:

Ray Muzyka: We set vision statements. We talk about core values a lot, and we try to live them. We set a vision. Our vision for our group within [parent] EA, for BioWare, is create, deliver, and evolve the emotionally engaging games in the world.

Some of this is really ironic, given how UO is treated by EA at times:

Ray Muzyka: We talk about them a lot. Yeah, we take them seriously. Like, we make decisions in that context. Our employees, our customers, our investors, we try and deliver things that are really aligned with all three of those groups to have a sustainable business long term. We try to make decisions that reflect quality in the workplace, quality in our products, entrepreneurship. We try to be very humble, high integrity with how we deal with all the people we work with, and all those stakeholder groups.

There is discussion of the various studios within BioWare, including BioWare Mythic under which UO directly falls, working across the studios to help one another, but it sure doesn’t feel like UO is getting much help, even though we know UO developers have helped out with Star Wars:

RM: It’s very collaborative, too, where different team members will help one another even across studio groups. So, we have Edmonton, Austin, Montreal, Virginia, and Ireland, the five studios within BioWare, and of course our great partner studios within Electronic Arts.

A lot of people are contributing trying to make the games as good as they can be and give feedback and play them and sometimes work on different projects from different locations. So, it’s very much a team. It’s a large team, it’s a distributed team, but we have a common sense of purpose and identity and shared common values. Everyone’s very passionate about their craft.

RM: Great support from EA to build our games.

GZ: There’s a lot of EA support in all our stuff.

RM: In fact, that’s one of the reasons we joined EA, like the inspirational leadership from guys like John Riccitiello. He’s still inspirational to us. He’s a mentor to us. The opportunity to become a publisher, as well as a developer. So, we’re doing all aspects of that now. We’re working with the sales and marketing teams directly, the development teams. That’s pretty exciting. You know, it’s a way to get closer to our consumers and the ability to pursue new things. Like when we joined EA, we had two studios, right?

It’s a very interesting read, but at the same time UO players will be slightly frustrated, as UO doesn’t get directly mentioned and all of the wonderful things they talk about, the support they are getting from EA, etc., none of that appears to be trickling down to UO. One would think that when they talk about their stable of games and how important MMOs are, that UO and Dark Age of Camelot would get mentioned, even in passing, but no, that’s not to be.

I think UO has some support – we are getting artwork, quest, and new player system upgrades. But the people at the top of BioWare have had ample opportunity to discuss UO publicly, or at least offer some public support of UO, and it just doesn’t happen. I don’t want to say they are pretending that UO, and DAoC, don’t exist, but it feels like it.

Read the full article at Gamasutra

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