EA “gives you enough rope to hang yourself”, says BioWare founder

Wednesday, 10th April 2013 00:38 GMT By Brenna Hillier

BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk has challenged the common perception of EA as a controlling overlord forcing its studios to shoe-horn unwanted elements into its games, saying what EA really provides is freedom and resources – so developers can make their own mistakes.

Speaking with GamesIndustry, Zeschuk said he ‘definitely rejects’ the notion of EA demanding multiplayer, micro-transactions and smart phone spinoffs for all games.

“The best analogy I use, in a positive way, is EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself,” he said.

“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 said he distinctly remembers being a couple of months into BioWare’s buyout by EA and “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,” he said.

“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.”

Zeschuk said at the end of the day any company needs to turn a profit, so it’s important for teams within EA not just to experiment with “creative risks in trying crazy stuff”.

“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 in 2007, just prior to the release of the blockbuster Mass Effect series.



  1. povu

    That definitely makes for a catchy headline that everyone can take out of context for internet flamewar funtime.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. ps3fanboy

    EA wins Worst Company in America poll for the second year… what did you expect?… free beers, high bonus pay and trips to Hawaii?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. NightCrawler1970

    So with other word, if Bioware messed up with the release of the game, than EA will be in fully deniable.. in that case, BE INDEPENDENT!!!

    @4, thanks mate for the correction…. it’s hard to have 4 languages in ya head, typo is possible…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    I’m pretty sure it’s “Be independent.”

    #4 2 years ago
  5. freedoms_stain

    So what are we supposed to take away from this? Bioware are shitty developers who have shitty ideas?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. dirtsheep

    Indeed, EA has gotten the golden poo award twice in two years now. And ‘most everyone thinks it’s soundly deserved.

    I don’t know anything about big business, but I do know that a whole lot of us miss the old Bioware, when games were made for the fun of gaming instead of for profit margins. Baldur’s Gate, anyone? Even Neverwinter Nights was a joy, and…ahem…supported by the company.

    I’ve been committed, for instance, to Dragon’s Age from a point of years before it was released. Disappointed, mostly, and very disappointed in its support. Dragon’s Age II? Was this Bioware, or was this more mere EA greed? I can’t imagine that this is what the company would have wanted. The original company, that is.

    Big business takes over gaming. No news there. It took over publishing a couple of decades before. It takes over everything of interest, eventually, and sucks the life out of it, and we’re left hungrily trying to survive on the few dregs it leaves us.

    Is this really what we want?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. zinc

    I still play ME1 & ME2 regularly, but really struggle getting into ME3. The game actively depresses me.

    But thats Bioware all over. When its good its great, when its bad, it grates.


    #7 2 years ago
  8. GrimRita

    EA desperate to roll out the ex-big guns just to save face hey? Well this is just utter bullshit.

    Until EA took over the running of SWTOR, it was shaping up to be a half decent MMO. Until EA took over the running of WAR it was shaping up to be a half decent MMO.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. roadkill

    Wow! It turns out that I had the wrong idea about how EA is running it’s business. But, hmm.. all those money, all those resources. How can they afford to do that? I think it’s bad management. The guys at the top are being payed too much, the guys at the bottom are being given too much and look how the company is doing now..

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Talkar

    But reddit and mindless haters say that EA are evil, surely someone who worked closely with EA doesn’t know as much as those people right?

    #10 2 years ago

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