Today, Bioware co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk mysteriously, on the same day, have left EA/Bioware for non-pastures (one to no job, the other to create a beer podcast? yup, no job...).
Not to greener pastures, not to amazing new RPG innovations in the games industry. Just...nothing.
Fan and industry reaction has ranged from mourning for an iconic and beloved company, fallen -- to abject rage at the sell-out founders.
Let me propose an alternative: What this means is, these two men just finished negotiating their ransom note. Maybe even in lieu of suing EA over gutting Bioware in violation of whatever terms they'd negotiated to stay, originally -- it's so hard to tell when no one will talk, legally.
My guess is, the clock just started ticking.
I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that what this means is that they are leaving under a non-compete agreement with EA that says you may not work for any videogame company for X years. And that they are going to play with beer podcasts or whatever for EXACTLY (X*12 months)+0 days these two will surface with venture capital money with a new gaming company.
These agreements generally include a confidentiality clause, so it's not like they can say in a press release, "Yo, EA sucks y'all, and we are cooling our jets for two years just so we can rise again and bite them in the butt. Please hold the date for the party at the appropriate GDC."
And hey, I can just speculate, but then, I started with the old silicon giants thirty years ago, and I worked in entertainment licensing with clients that included Sony Pictures, HBO, and Paramount. I grew up through soap operas and sharks. This may be a very young industry, but I can speculate like games are old school, because we are big business now. Last I heard we even let lawyers in. So, you know, things like this happen.
Anyone willing to put dollars up against this happy box of Dunkins I got here?
Bioware is dead. Long live Bioware-to-come, whatever the new name is going to be.
Hey Ray, Greg! Your secret is safe with me. Here's my card. If you need one of the few folks paying attention around here -- I might be available when probation runs out. Give me a call.