Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, known affectionately as the Docs, founded BioWare in February 1995 with Augustine Yip. They had just recently graduated from medical school, and decided to turn their college programming hobby into a career.
Yesterday, after almost 20 years creating successful games such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Jade Empire, Balder’s Gate, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the Docs announced their retirement, not only from BioWare, but from game development entirely.
While they’ve only just announced their retirement, Muzyka and Zeschuk gave EA their six-months-notice back in April.
So what are the Docs planning to do now?
According to Muzyka:
I now desire to take on a brand new entrepreneurial challenge. I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next ‘chapter’ will likely focus on an entirely new industry, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary – investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing. There’s a good description of the goals of this form of entrepreneurship here. Impact investment, or social entrepreneurship, can range from simply thinking about social goals along with the usual business profit goals, all the way to a dedicated focus on a social entrepreneurship portfolio with the social impact defined as the primary goal. For me, getting involved in social impact investment stems from the simple hope of helping the world to be a better place.
Zeschuk, meanwhile, has more humble goals:
Some of you will be curious what I’ll be doing next, and I can state that I’m not going to be working in games for a while, and there’s a strong possibility that I won’t be back. After my departure I’m going to be spending significant time with family and friends, as well as pursuing some personal passion-driven projects related to craft beer. The main project I will be working on is a web-based interview show called The Beer Diaries where I interview notable brewers and showcase their beers. If things go well, I’ll work on other beer-related shows, apps and projects. If not, I’ll have drunk a lot of tasty beers and may be back in games or even something else completely different. Ultimately time will tell.’
Charity and beer. That’s the way to spend a retirement. Best wishes, Docs.
The announcement comes only a day after the unveiling of Dragon Age III: Inquisition, and General Manager Aaryn Flynn confirmed the rumored Mass Effect 3 Omega DLC in his letter addressing the retirement. The timing is a bit odd, taking some wind out of the sails of the other exciting events.
Some critical fans, on the other hand, have been reacting in somewhat predictable ways. Despite both men thanking EA in their open farewell letters, many have accused the gaming company of being so terrible to work with that Muzyka and Zeschuk bailed. Of course, there will always be fans who are happy to blame EA for everything. While the pressures of working for a large company might have contributed to the desire to retire (as it would for anyone in any business), I’m not a fan of demonizing EA.
What do you think? Leave comments below!