Et tu, Brute?

I am not fond of EA, though I try not to be irrational about disliking them. Supposedly some effort has been made to improve working conditions there. I will freely admit that I have bought and enjoyed games from EA.

They just bought BioWare/Pandemic, as you may already know (from here, or here, or elsewhere). And while there are probably plenty of blogs out there saying the same things, I’d like to say my piece.

I love BioWare. I love their games; I loved Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire and I’m really looking forward to Mass Effect. I didn’t play the Bladur’s Gate games or Knights of the Old Republic, because I didn’t have a good enough computer or an Xbox at the right times, but I know those games were good (my friends had them). BioWare is among a small few of the top game studios of the world, raising the bar with their high standards for quality in their titles.

“These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I’m glad to be working with them again. They’ll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties,” said John Riccitiello, EA CEO. “We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders.”

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka have to be down in the dumps about this. BioWare has spent years building up to the point where they could work on and own their own intellectual properties, and it would be safe to bet any arbitrarily large amount of anything of value that they weren’t intending to do it for the benefit of Electronic Arts.

I’m sorry, guys. I feel your pain. Mass Effect, which will be your first widely successful original IP game, releases next month. On the very eve of your greatest moment you have been betrayed by your investors. It is not difficult to see their motivations; they do not understand your drive, your passion, your purpose. They see only money. But that does not reduce the sting. They have sold you into servitude to a taskmaster from which we know you have no hope of the type of mercy which was bestowed upon Bungie.

I understand. And I will wish and hope that when you leave in a year or two (or less or, I suppose, more) to start over again, beginning a new company, that the next venture will not suffer the same fate as this one. BioWare may continue to produce quality titles… but we all know that it won’t be the same.

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