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BioWare owns its “creative culture,” is free to make new IPs, says Gibeau

Tuesday, 11th September 2012 14:54 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Frank Gibeau has said the firm backs BioWare on whatever creative endeavor it sets upon, whether it’s a new IP or another entry in the Mass Effect series.

Speaking with Kotaku, EA’s games label president said the firm doesn’t force BioWare to develop anything, as the firm has loads of faith in Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson.

“If [executive producer Casey Hudson] decides on a story that he wants to tell, guess what? He’s going to be able to step forward at EA and we’re going to back him with capital for him to be able to go build that experience and tell a new story in the Mass Effect universe if that’s what he wants to do,” said Gibeau.

“If he wants to do something different, a new IP, he’ll have our backing as well. He’s a profoundly talented guy. He’s got our confidence. And the audience loves him. So that’s how it really works.”

The firm also didn’t interfere with the choices BioWare made regarding Mass Effect 3, Gubeau said, and it supported Hudson’d decision regarding the controversial ending to the third installment.

“Casey is an artist. He made a choice about the story that he [and the team] wanted to tell as related to Mass Effect 3. And we didn’t intervene,” said Gibeau.

“It’s the same thing with PopCap, it’s the same thing with how we reinvigorated [SimCity studio] Maxxis. It’s the same thing with DICE. The way it actually really works is those guys report to me and they run their own individual businesses.

“They have their own individual creative choices. I will give them editorial feedback from time to time. But most of [my] time is spent doing research with customers and fans and understanding what’s happening, and understanding how to make our games better.

“The truth is BioWare has developed as BioWare and that creative culture is owned by them. There’s nobody in the central planning committee at Electronic Arts that rolls in the tank divisions [into our studios] when they get too independent or too risky or too thoughtful.”

Thanks, OXM.

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10 Comments

  1. TerraZet

    Oh, fuck off.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. viralshag

    Haha, more like “we’re going to back him with capital for him to be able to go build that experience. Just not right away, because it’s a mistake to launch a new IP at the end of a console cycle and we would rather have another Mass Effect or Dragon Age.”

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Fin

    In b4 people start bitching!!

    Dammit, too late…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. viralshag

    @3, Haha. I’m only joking. I actually don’t have any problem with EA. They’re my favourite publisher.

    It is quite funny though as they are kinda contradicting statements from him in a rather short space of time.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. roadkill

    Wait, if this guy is telling the truth than.. this is awesome! :)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Edo

    In b4 ass kisser(s)!!
    Dammit,too late…..

    #6 2 years ago
  7. TheWulf

    I don’t doubt this at all.

    It’d actually be foolish of EA to not let them do this. No, really, think about it. Why wouldn’t they? Thus far, technically, Bioware hasn’t put out a really unpopular IP. Some damned boring ones (in my opinion), but not unpopular. In certain instances, they’re essentially the Titanic of game developers.

    However.

    I suspect that they’re not entirely (or possibly remotely) free to realise their vision as they want to. They can create it, but EA tells them how long it’s going to be, how long the development cycle will be, what the financial model will look like, and what profit they’re expecting to make off of it. And EA will change the shape of the game whenever marketing tells them that X would be more popular than Y.

    And that’s going to change what their new IP ends up looking like. So that’s the kind of power EA chooses to have over Bioware. And that makes a lot of sense for EA to do, from their perspective and from a business standpoint. If Bioware create a new IP, it may just be a goldmine.

    In fact, I’m not entirely ready to blame EA for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’m fairly certain that that idea began in Bioware, rather than being forced upon Bioware. What I believe EA was responsible for was the execution of SW:TOR. I’m sure that there were a lot of suits pushing for them to ‘make it like WoW, because WoW makes money.’ And as we all know, that was its biggest failure.

    To be successful, these days, you have to be the stark opposite of WoW in many ways. (See GW2.) But suits and marketing aren’t always fully in touch with gamers and the reality of the market. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.

    So the future of Bioware is going to be interesting, to be honest. I’m sure that the new IPs will be interesting, but EA’s sticky fingers in the execution is going to cause some problems.

    (Anyone want to put money down on people misreading this and assuming that I’m being an EA apologist? This is going to be fun!)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. viralshag

    @7, I wouldn’t actually think the ‘make it like WoW, because WoW makes money.’ would be accurate.

    If you look at the other MMOs EA has published, WAR and TSW being among the more recent releases around TOR, neither were very much like WoW or TOR at all. If anything, both tried to bring something new to the table.

    I don’t think they failed with TOR because they tried to make it like WoW – although that might have been part of the problem – I don’t think they pick great projects to publish in the first place when it comes to MMOs.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. blackdreamhunk

    I am sure EA had a say in how much bi-wares spends and the ending of mass effect.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Joe_Gamer

    The only culture left at Bioware is the moldy cheese in the back of the break room fridge and even that probably has it’s growth deadlines handed down to it by some EA executive.

    This is a lot of marketing doublespeak that MIGHT even be technically true, but as Wulf so eloquently pointed out, it doesn’t come close to telling the whole story.

    As for SWTOR? I lay that failure on whomever chose the “Hero” engine for their grand MMO debut. What a buggy, godawful, and downright ugly abomination.

    #10 2 years ago

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