Ray BioWare: “Games are art, art requires risk to innovate”

Friday, 27th August 2010 12:40 GMT By Patrick Garratt


The debate on whether or not games are art will never end. BioWare head Ray Muzyka knows which side of the fence he’s on.

“We want to… push the idea that games are art, and that art requires a little bit of risk to innovate,” the exec told us at gamescom last week.

“It’s hopefully what allows us to do something that’s always going to be fresh and different for our fans.”

BioWare isn’t shy of risk-taking, Ray added, but the level to which the studio can push artistic limits is constrained by reality.

“I think we’re taking a crazy number of risks on all our projects, and that’s for the fans. We do it all for our fans at the end of the day.”

He went on: “We’re also trying to constrain risks on all of our projects at the same time, because it’s about making sure that we can deliver a game at quality and a certain target of feature-set and scope.

“It’s always a balance, right? But we’re definitely ambitious in the way we approach our game-building.”

I know what I like

The question of whether or not games are art is a perennial topic, one which recently felled US critic Roger Ebert.

Ebert was forced to admit he may have been wrong in a Chicago Suntimes article – titled “Video games can never be art” – after nearly 5,000 comments pretty much called him an ass.

“My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds,” said contrite Roger.

“What I was saying is that video games could not in principle be Art. That was a foolish position to take, particularly as it seemed to apply to the entire unseen future of games. This was pointed out to me maybe hundreds of times.

“How could I disagree? It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art.”

Ray thinks we’re already there, Roger. Maybe you two should get together.




  1. Blerk

    If a cow cut in half or a messy bed can be considered art then I’m thinking practically anything can be.

    But I think the more important question is… why does anyone give a shit?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Gheritt White

    If a piece of art is created in a forest, but nobody is around to see it, then what is the average rainfall per annum (per square centimetre) in the Amazonian basin?

    Or something…

    #2 4 years ago
  3. mington

    If an unfinished sentence can be considered art then…

    #3 4 years ago
  4. AHA-Lambda

    i wouldnt consider most art nowadays to be art so fuck if i know =/

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Stardog

    Games are not art. Case closed.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Gheritt White

    Art was art right up until Deco. Everything since has been pap, IMHO.

    Actually, scrap the IMHO.


    #6 4 years ago
  7. Herlock

    “Games are art, art requires risk to innovate”

    Mass Effect II innovate…right!
    It s became a TPS Shooter congrats!

    #7 4 years ago
  8. DaMan

    they’re akin to exploitation films, or what pop is to music.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Freek

    Can’t the gaming press in general just agree not to give Ebert more press, attention and free promotion for saying something incredibly stupid?

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Blerk

    I like his brother Q*Bert better.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. DSB

    @7 Exactly. Not only is the whole art argument completely ridiculous, but if anything, Bioware have been real busy reducing all their games to the lowest common denominator.

    Doctor Ray must’ve been prescribing himself some of the funnies.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. sebbie16

    People who say games cannot be art have not played Okami. That game was beautiful.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. olih1707

    @5 Their are games that are art . For example the recent arcade game,Limbo,is not just beautiful, but has the undertones and subtext which is essential for anything to be considered art.

    However, Bioware should not consider their games to be art. As much fun as mass effect 2 was, for example,the relationships between characters and their back stories were, in my opinion, forced and shallow with a few exceptions. The reason for this is that with the dialogue wheel, you can optionally ask anything about their back story with very little limitations and so the concision in their dialogue is not needed, as it is in novels,plays or cinema, so the subtleties and strength of the character’s dialogue weakens.

    The irony is that Bioware is weakened by what makes them strong and unique. The multiple open choices and heavy amount of changeable dialogue to say or do what you like, makes the narrative harder to control and the dialogue weakened due to the amount of time it would take to make a deep script with such a large amount of script.

    This is not to say Bioware are not close, because their ability to create interesting back stories, relationships and worlds is exiting for an industry that, 15 years ago, were extremely basic with their narratives. However it is the lack of concision and intelligence in their script and characters that stop Mass Effect 2 from becoming art. A pretty painting with little or no subtext isn’t art.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. LOLshock94

    how are half of u guys members this is the worst arguement ever

    #14 4 years ago

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