Despite Their EA Overseers
When EA purchased VG Holdings in 2007, the internet suffered what approximated a minor bout of cardiac arrest. You see, VG Holdings owned Bioware, who in turn had provided videogame fans with years of quality service, from Baldur's Gate to Star Wars and more recently Dragon Age and Mass Effect. EA now determined Bioware's direction, and this frightened us all. Dragon Age 2's substandard quality did nothing to assuage fears, but Bioware insists they still operate with "huge autonomy".
""One thing we commonly see is when fans don't like something we do, they put in the comments, 'Oh those EA guys, they're making BioWare do...'", co-founder Greg Zeschuk told Eurogamer. "And I always chuckle because we are EA, we're BioWare - we're both, and we still have huge autonomy in terms of what we do. We're not being forced to do anything or told to do anything. We make the decisions. We take input."
EA have been criticized in recent years for supposedly forcing Bioware to cater their projects for a specific sort of audience. Case in point, Mass Effect 3; whose shift to a more action-oriented approach appears to be aimed at all the Call of Duty and Halo fans who love spending so much money on shooting things. According to Zeschuk, however, that's "not remotely true". Whatever the quality of a Bioware game is, its down to Bioware decisions, not EA's.
However, Zeschuk and fellow co-founder Ray Muzyka did admit their time spent under EA's wing has opened their eyes to "commercial elements". While the pair didn't go so far as to admit Bioware now looks at their projects with commercial appeal in mind, they did concede juggling this with their own principles was important.
"The key is to never lose sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, we're making entertainment and art," he explains. "We're tying to make a fun experience for the fans. They're one of our key stake holders and we have to deliver and exceed their expectations." Both Zeschuk and Muzyka operate much higher in the EA ranks now, overseeing their entire RPG line - Mass Effect, Dragon Age and more - as well as the upcoming launch of Star Wars The Old Republic. Considering their new status, it's not hard to imagine the pair fighting for Bioware's "autonomy" in the EA boardroom. [Eurogamer]