But in a good way
BioWare co-creator Greg Zeschuk doesn't make video games any more. The Doctors have left the building, and Zeschuk (awesomely) now spends his time making videos about beer. The man is a legend.
However, he's found time to defend EA in the face of some golden poo flinging this week, rejecting notions that EA crushes companies that they absorb, and instead painting a picture of creative freedom.
Chatting to GamesIndustry, Zeschuk was asked if he felt "that BioWare's games were ever made to conform to some homogenous EA standard", and his answer was emphatic:
"No, I definitely reject it. And I can explain it too. The best analogy I use, in a positive way, is EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself. It was really interesting because we really made all the choices we wanted to make ourselves; these are all things we wanted to try. And that's something to remember - while we were independent we didn't have quite the resources we had as part of EA, and then we got to EA and it was like "wow we can do all this stuff." We had to be really thoughtful about what we wanted to focus on.
"I remember this really distinct moment where - it was probably five or six months - we were just starting to wrap our head around how we worked with the company. And it took months for this formal period of joining EA, and learning how everything works, and when the initiation was done, we were sitting around asking how do we do stuff. It dawned on us, you just do it. That was the biggest revelation, that rope that EA gives you; they 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.
"The one caveat is at the end of the day for any company you have to run a profit, so you have to be thinking of things that actually make you profitable. So while you're taking all these creative risks in trying crazy stuff you almost have to simultaneously focus on the bottom line. The top line is not enough. In some ways, being independent I would say we had to be more conservative - being part of a big company, you could be more aggressive and try stuff. I think that's something people [struggle with] when they join EA; they do too much or they do too little."
Definitely check out the full interview, as Zeschuk goes into detail on Mass Effect 3's controversial ending, deflecting fan backlash, Riccitiello's departure and SWTOR's legacy.