Former BioWare Co-Founder Reckons Consoles Have an Uncertain Future
Written Wednesday, April 10, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Since leaving BioWare, Dr. Greg Zeschuk has gone on to write about beer. That doesn't mean that he still doesn't have a few strong opinions about the games industry however, with the man discussing everything from his time with EA upon its acquisition of the studio and BioWare's new IP in a new interview. He also believes that the days of consoles might be numbered.
"Everyone's kind of holding out hope for the new consoles, but I honestly don't think they're going to be that big a deal. I worry a lot that unless Microsoft or Sony pull something magically out of a hat, it's pretty much the same old, same old repackaged and I don't think they're going to change the dynamic of the retail market," Zeschuk commented. "I don't see how they can - the market is what it is."
Zeschuk went on to praise recent successes within the console market, citing Activision's Skylanders series, which he finds particularly impressive.
"Well, you still see successes in the market. Honestly, Activision and Blizzard have been doing really well, and they've been very disciplined and focused, but how long can they continue?" said Zeschuk. "They've been relying on a smaller number of titles, but no title works forever, and obviously they will be working hard to replace the games they're working on. So they're probably one of the shining examples of company that's done well by really doubling down on a very narrow amount of things, and trying some different stuff - I'm actually really impressed with Skylanders."
Talking about his time working with EA, Zeschuk also had a lot of positive things to say, noting that the company allowed BioWare complete creative control over its games. A major contrast to EA being recently voted the worst company in America by Consumerist readers. "I really enjoyed my time at EA. It's interesting, people make a lot of assumptions about us and our feelings and how they treat people, but honestly we were treated really well. I made a lot of friends there, and I respect the people there a ton," he said
"EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself," he added. "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 continues: "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. 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."
Finally, Zeschuk is also excited for BioWare's new IP and the next instalments in the dev's popular series, such as the next Mass Effect title and Dragon Age III: Inquisition, both of which are expected to arrive on next-generation consoles, utilising the Frostbite 3 engine.
"I really do feel that the folks there are going to make some amazing stuff. Even around our departure we were seeing the stuff coming down the pipe and it was amazing," Zeschuk said of BioWare's latest projects. "So it's in good hands and I'm really happy with where it's headed; it's exciting. And I think Ray commented on this, but it's going to be really cool to play a BioWare game where you don't know everything about the story and characters already. It'll actually be a nice surprise rather than a fulfillment of design documents."
What do you make of Zeschuk's comments? Do you think the console market is on its last legs? Do you think the next Xbox and PS4 will be the "same old, same old, repackaged"?