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Old 04-11-2013, 10:49 AM   #1
randir14
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Greg Zeschuk - EA Gave Bioware Complete Creative Control


According to Bioware co-founder Greg Zeschuk, EA gave the studio complete creative control. This would seem to contradict the notion that EA is solely to blame for ruining the company.

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"They don't second-guess you, they don't say you shouldn't do that," said Zeschuck, speaking to GamesIndustry. "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." Zeschuck admits that profits were a concern, but doesn't hold it against EA. "The one caveat is at the end of the day for any company you have to run a profit, so you have to be thinking of things that actually make you profitable. So while you're taking all these creative risks in trying crazy stuff you almost have to simultaneously focus on the bottom line."
Read more at The Escapist

Thanks to Agnostic Pope for the heads up.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
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There. You can't blame EA for the shit ending, lack of choices in a game that promised them to you in the form of a trilogy.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:21 AM   #3
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But its so much fun to blame EA
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:22 AM   #4
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*cough* origin sucks *cough*
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by randir14 View Post
According to Bioware co-founder Greg Zeschuk, EA gave the studio complete creative control.
Quote:
"We had complete creative control over a lot of it"
"...over a lot of it..."

These two things are not the same.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:44 PM   #6
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He is right that EA lets Bioware have creative control. I know several developers that work there. I don't think EA trusts everyone, but until TOR and Mass Effect 3's ending (the rest of it was brilliant), they were golden. I'm not sure if there other teams get as much freedom.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:55 PM   #7
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Creative control doesn't necessarily mean EA isn't making harmful decisions. Things like release dates or "you must have multiplayer" might still come down from on high. The developers are then left to hit those dates or figure out how to make the multiplayer work. I have zero inside knowledge, but just from looking at what EA has done over the last six years or so, that's the vibe I get.

BioWare could've had creative control over DA2, but did they have control over its release date? There are a lot of great ideas in that game, that just felt rushed over all. EA has publicly stated they want multiplayer in all their games. ME3 seems to have been well received in that department with a lot of people enjoying the multiplayer - DS3, on the other hand, less so.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:10 PM   #8
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You know, I absolutely hated the ending of Dragon Age 2 and the fact that I had a mass-murderer/terrorist in my party whether I wanted him in it or not, and I got so exasperated that every time I went out of my way to save mages that were being shat on by their holders, they'd eventually come back into the story where they'd choose to turn themselves into demonic monstrosities. . . which broke cannon because mages don't just hulk-out and go demon, they choose it or resist it while on that magic plane of existence in the first game. . .

But the technical aspects of the game were great. It ran faster, had a better UI, and had much better combat than the original. All the problems I had with it (and I didn't even list them all) stem from the creative. A bad designer got the lead on that and didn't have enough oversight.

Also, despite all this, I still love Bioware. They make really fun games and I still had fun playing Dragon Age 2 when the story wasn't making me want to kill the designers. I also loved TOR when it came out, but after I had played over a hundred hours, the long load times, long travel times (made long by long load times), poor itemization, and lack of a dungeon finder to make endgame PvE not a chore just got to me. I've gone back once to play the F2P version of it and left after about an hour. I think I am going to have to get a solid-state drive before I can enjoy it again. Anyway, the point of this paragraph is that even their "failures" are pretty sweet games and I look forward to whatever they have next.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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Time for the obligatory Jennifer Hepler reference.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:29 PM   #10
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It takes a lot of balls to come out and say he made all the bad decisions that led to his once revered company to plummet in peoples estimations. I don't believe him of course, but if he wants to throw himself on that grenade to save no one then that is his choice.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:00 PM   #11
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It takes a lot of balls to come out and say he made all the bad decisions that led to his once revered company to plummet in peoples estimations. I don't believe him of course, but if he wants to throw himself on that grenade to save no one then that is his choice.
I agree. He already has cut his ties so this martyrdom reeks of dogma.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:18 PM   #12
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How about multiplayer, can we blame EA for wedging in multiplayer into a singleplayer game and making it count toward the endings?
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:33 PM   #13
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meh ME3 multiplayer 'counted' towards the endings--emphasis on the quotes. It was easy enough to meet the requirement without. The multiplayer was also a ton of fun, got way more playtime out of that then I did the main game.

I'd put the blame for forcing multiplayer on EA (though I think it worked out in ME3), and I know they like holding steadfast to handpicked release dates. I'd put--for better or worse--story direction, gameplay changes, and $DLC design all on Bioware though. At least the MP add-on stuff was free, and they tried to add stuff to 'fix' the ending for the fans.


Kinda hoping Bioware will take a break from Mass Effect and The Old Republic after all of this, and work on what I really, really want to see: Jade Empire 2. Not that I'm going to hold my breath. Pretty sure that even with the upset, they made a killing on ME3 (and not just the hopes of a lot of diehard fans in regards to the ending).

Keeping an eye on Dragon Age III though, sounds like they've taken a lot of the fan feedback from the first two games to heart.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:46 PM   #14
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You know I beat Mass Effect 3 and went online to talk about it in the spoiler thread after having loved how it wrapped up all the storylines. I was annoyed by the main ending - no boss, all the talking, and the choices that all kind of sucked, but it was a small blip in an otherwise amazing experience to me, but the internet was much louder about hating it than I was and after watching some of the fan videos that explained their POV, I agreed with them.

In any case, I loved it - the multiplayer with all it's free expansions (of course designed to keep you playing so you pay for packs, but still free new content!) - and all of the single player up to the ending.
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:44 PM   #15
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You CAN blame Ea for all the other garbage and recycled crap they put out and any company that they get their hands on seems to become SHIT!
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:53 PM   #16
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You CAN blame Ea for all the other garbage and recycled crap they put out and any company that they get their hands on seems to become SHIT!
Might be because the guys at the top, the ones actually making the real decisions get an aawwweeesssssoommmme payday when the companies get acquired. Then they start phoning it in while sitting on their piles of cash.

Without good direction and a management team that has seemingly gone batshit lazy everyone else does the best they can. Once the management teams contract is up (usually "key" people have to stay with the company 3 - 5 years to make sure to give the impression of a stable and smooth transition) they bail because they can't stand what has happened to their company. Plus: they've got millions now so why not take it easy?

So EA starts having more and more influence as the relative noob management team looks to them for guidance and the company starts rotting from the evil hand of EA. Maybe that's how it works.

Never seen this before. Nope, not once!
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:59 PM   #17
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I agree. He already has cut his ties so this martyrdom reeks of dogma.
If your going to mix metaphors could it at least make sense? What dogma, and what does it have to do his having retired? Maybe a dictionary would help.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:08 PM   #18
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Fuck Bioware. Fuck EA. That is all.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:08 PM   #19
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Might be because the guys at the top, the ones actually making the real decisions get an aawwweeesssssoommmme payday when the companies get acquired. Then they start phoning it in while sitting on their piles of cash.
This.

You always read about collaboration on dev teams and that does exist, but it's like they let an artist make a cool animation and they keep it or a designer comes up with a cool sidequest - but the big decisions are all made by the producer, lead designers, and the publisher's demands. The problem with this is not always just that the designers aren't as good as the originals, but that they don't have the same authority and trust as the originals. . . The result is that you get a game that makes design compromises because the lead designer's voice isn't as strong in those meetings.

That's a problem. They've worked this out in show business because film producers are often creatives that understand the anatomy of a movie. Have you ever noticed how often producers are also often well-known writers or directors (especially with new directors). Movies are also short enough that they can be assessed by someone who is a busy, important person. Often, the producers and publisher are making decisions without playing the complete game because games are long and producers are often business school graduates who spend as much time with marketing and publishers as they do with the development team. . . which they have to do because ultimately their job is to see that the game gets made and makes a profit and that means making sure the publisher is happy and the marketing push leading up to launch is positive and loud.

These are not necessarily EA problems though. They are industry problems that show distinctly with EA because they are the biggest publisher (arguably, could be Activision-Blizzard if you go off profits instead of total titles though that isn't certain with WoW's gradual decline).
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:25 AM   #20
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This isn't a claim that they had complete creative control, this is a sneaky way of saying they didn't.

Read his quote again, complete creative control over a lot of it. At the end of the day they had to worry about the bottom line: ie making money, which meant multiplayer and compromising the ending the writers had in mind in order to prolong the series.

Which just means that Bioware execs had become fucking suits themselves, but also that they bowed to pressure to include certain features and place development emphasis in certain places, and fuck with the story in pursuit of the dollar.

That's taking creative control from your people.
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