RUMOR: Zeschuk Quits BioWare Austin (But Still Part of Company), Studio To Be Renamed

There’s nothing else to say to the rumor burning up the Internets this morning, other than “Holy. Sh*t“, so I’ll get right to it. Via VG 24/7 comes possible word of a major shakeup at BioWare that may bring an end to BioWare Austin, and may well leave the fate of the rest of the company in serious doubt. BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk, since 2010 the General Manager at the studio behind Star Wars: The Old Republic, has apparently given a stealth announcement, via his Linkedin profile, that he stepped down from his position in May.

That would seem pretty definitive, as the only BioWare credit left on Zeschuk’s current resume is his position as co-founder of BioWare. Zeschuk hasn’t made any public statement, but if this is true, it’s yet another blow to BioWare Austin after a brutal year. Despite far exceeding Electronic Arts’ publicly stated expectations for The Old Republic, in May Electronic Arts levied layoffs and announced BioWare Austin would be restructuring, culminating in last week’s announcement that TOR would be switching to a free to play model.

More ominously, additional rumors claim that Electronic Arts is set to rebrand BioWare Austin as ‘EA Austin’, and that they’ve already replaced Zuschek with Major League Gaming CEO Matthew Bromberg. There’s also the rumor broken by German site Gamers Global that suggests things at BioWare may be far more shakier than even a cynic like me believed. According to anonymous company sources, neither Zescjuk nor his BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka were present at a general meeting of BioWare management that took place a few days back. The BioWare source claimed this was unusual and had never happened before.

Readers may recall how it was Muzyka, and not director Casey Hudson, who finally broke the company’s near-silence on the controversial (and, frankly, terrible) ending to Mass Effect 3. His statement was an extremely heartfelt apology that contrasted sharply to the generally dismissive responses the Mass Effect team delivered previously, hinting at significant disagreement behind the scenes. And now this.

Electronic Arts has refused to comment on these reports, other than claiming that Zeshuk has “outlined his plan to return to his family in Edmonton for a much deserved vacation.” We’ll know how true they are if and when EA announces a change to BioWare Austin’s name. I’ll state for the record right now that if BioWare still exists as anything remotely similar to the company it is right in 2 years, I’ll be shocked.

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8 Comments on RUMOR: Zeschuk Quits BioWare Austin (But Still Part of Company), Studio To Be Renamed

Batman1301

On August 10, 2012 at 8:26 am

I think Bioware is pretty well finished. EA dug the hole for them a couple of years ago and is now prepping to fill it in. The last few games they have put out weren’t anywhere up to quality with what Bioware had produced before being aquired by EA. ME1 and DA1 were the last good games from Bioware. The last few (DA2, ME3, SW:ToR) just did not go over well. EA is just adding to their game company body count. RIP Bioware.

Brad

On August 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

Agreed. Bioware will likely be wiped out by year’s end. I personally feel that many of the decisions made over the past couple of years involving Bioware were probably engineered by EA to cause Bioware to lose their customer base in order to justify closing them down.

That said, the next ME game will likely be a full FPS that mirrors the COD series heavily, with no real story or character development.

Ingvar

On August 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Maybe it´s for the best. So we can get a new “Bioware” without EA!

Underlaw

On August 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

In the day that bioware launches Mass effect 3, i posted in theyr forum, in this site, and in the other games site, that BIOWARE and EA Games, will broken, and will shut donw in a maximum 5 years…. i should have invested in future action market.

James

On August 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Maybe they will reform Black Isle

Kevin

On August 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm

It appears that as much as things change, EA’s business model stays the same. Buy up company, loot the hell out of its intellectual property, and then destroy it.

I hope the good doctors at Bioware learned their lesson, as it will only be a matter of time before Bioware ceases to exist. Maybe Zeschuk realized he sold his soul, and wants out.

R.J.

On August 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm

If they change the name of the Austin studio, I won’t be surprised. EA was using the Bioware name because it used to be synonymous with a high level of quality. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Sure, EA itself is at least partly to blame in terms of rushing games and such, but Bioware has had several missteps in a row. Dragon Age 2 was disappointing, even if it was still a decent game, that isn’t enough for a company like Bioware. Mass Effect 3 had a terrible ending that was only somewhat fixed, and that only came about because the fans kept the pressure up. And SWTOR has had issues with people leaving and starting off with a subscription model when gamer expect free-to-play. Simply put, the name “Bioware” doesn’t conjure the same feelings as before.

Sadly, this is par for EA. They have knack for buying companies with significant goodwill built up and running them into the ground with their constant demand for sequels with more and more sales. It’s not surprising that the project lead for Dragon Age Origins left Bioware saying that it was “no longer the same company” that he used to work for not too long after EA bought them.

sapito

On August 11, 2012 at 1:56 am

End of the line bioware!…were is my devil emoticon?! >:D