BioWare Founder Disputes Public Perception of EA
BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk has spoken out in defence of EA, saying the mega-publisher doesn’t force changes onto developers but rather gives them enough freedom to make their own mistakes.
In an interview with Games Industry, Zeschuk explained that his experience with EA had been a largely positive one, though the greater resources that became available through EA were slightly overwhelming at first.
“The best analogy I use, in a positive way, is EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself,” he revealed.
“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.”
Zeschuk goes on to describe that he clearly understood how stuff worked with EA about six months after joining the company, and it wasn’t a case of being dictated to; quite the opposite.
“We were sitting around asking how do we do stuff [and] it dawned on us, you just do it,” he explained. “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.”
Despite this, Zeschuk does acknowledge that working for a larger company did mean BioWare had to think about profitability a lot more, admitting, “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.”
EA acquired BioWare back in 2007, just before the release of the hugely successful Mass Effect Franchise. This isn’t the first time that Zeschuk has spoken out about the experience of joining EA; earlier this year, he spoke about the “bear hug” BioWare experience upon joining EA, explaining that the studio was thankfully strong enough to survive.
EA’s come under a lot of flack lately; the company was named “Worst Company in America” for the second year running yesterday. Upon discovering the nomination, company COO Peter Moore responded with a blog post engaging with some of the most common criticisms levelled at EA.
What do you reckon? Does Zeschuk’s endorsement make you think the hate for EA is irrational, or do you think it genuinely is the Worst Company in America today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Luke Karmali is IGN’s UK Junior Editor. You too can revel in mediocrity by following him on IGN and on Twitter.
By Luke Karmali