BioWare co-founder claims he had "a lot of influence at high levels within EA"
Greg Zeschuk, the co-founder of BioWare who left the games industry earlier this year along with long-time partner in crime, Ray Muzyka, has some interesting things to say about working with EA. In a recent interview with GamesIndustry International, the RPG magnate-turned-Internet beer celebrity downplayed the idea that EA was pulling the strings after the buyout—even going so far as to say that he and Muzyka had "a lot of influence at high levels within EA."
"I really enjoyed my time at EA," Zeschuk told GamesIndustry. "It's interesting, people make a lot of assumptions about us and our feelings and how they treat people, but honestly we were treated really well. I made a lot of friends there, and I respect the people there a ton."
He was also quick to put the blame for poor fan reception to projects like Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 on BioWare's own attempts to branch out, more than the meddling of a hypothetical corporate overlord. "They [EA] don't second-guess you, they don't say you shouldn't do that. We had complete creative control over a lot of it; some fans didn't like some of it and some of it was experimental, quite frankly."
At the same time, however, Zeschuk expressed that he would discourage independent studios from selling to a publisher. "Put it off as long as you possibly can," he advised. "It's funny, we have this file in our office of all our prior offers that we had—we had a lot of really interesting offers from people to buy BioWare over the years. Some of them we considered and thought a lot about. For us, a lot of it was about building a strong business that could survive being acquired, because one of the challenges of being acquired is very simply that it can destroy your company; it can be very, very disruptive. So if you can, put it off, and ultimately if you can, don't even do it."
You can read the full interview on GamesIndustry, featuring discussion of whether or not he might dip his toe back into the gaming space again, why the next generation of consoles is probably not going to be "that big a deal," and how craft brewers are similar to indie developers.