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Bioware's Zeschuk: On leaving games and the "EA bear hug"

Dr Greg talks losing the fire and keeping in touch with Muzyka

Bioware co-founder Dr Greg Zeschuk has explained why he left behind his successful development company for pints of ale, and what made Bioware able to thrive in the grip of mega-publisher EA.

"I just felt like my passion was waning," he told Polygon.

"It's one of those things that's always really funny because, if you're really grumpy, you know you go, 'Ah, I'm just going to leave,' and then you're, 'No, no, no.' And then finally there's this point where you know you go, 'Hey, you know, I think it's time to go."

He added that a mix of pressure, stress and a need for change were all contributing factors for him and that the simultaneous departure of his co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka was more coincidence than design.

"You know, it's one of those weird things. We didn't both hatch our plots and then reveal them to each another. I think that there was just ongoing conversation that was kind of we both felt it was the right time to move on."

Bioware was founded in February 1995, and after finding success with Balder's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Jade Empire, before being acquired by EA in 2007.

"I think one of the reasons that we survived and succeeded within EA was that our company was mature enough and there was enough good people throughout to handle the EA bear hug - something that is well meaning but vigorous," explained Zeschuk.

"We needed to be strong to survive that and I think we did and you evolve from that as well."

He's also kept in touch with Muzyka, who is now concentrating on his new company Threshold Impact.

"We're very close. We always joke with our wives that arguably we've spent more time with each other than our wives for that fifteen to twenty year period."

Zeschuk's latest project is The Beer Diaries, which helps artisan beer makers learn their trade and spread the word.

"One of the few things I find kind of funny is the responses of the fans, because they sort of respond that they are kind of mad at us for leaving because they think we owe them more games. 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."

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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