Just over a week after BioWare announced that "Star Wars: The Old Republic" was going free-to-play, BioWare Austin, lead developers on the high-profile massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), have lost their General Manager, Dr. Greg Zeschuk. Zeschuk is one-half of the founding members of BioWare (along with Dr. Ray Muzyka), a company that specializes in immersive storytelling with their "Mass Effect" and "Dragon Age" franchises. BioWare, owned by EA (Electronic Arts), has come under fire for their most recent releases, with Dr. Muzyka taking to the company's web site to defend their most recent title, "Mass Effect 3."
This latest news comes from Videogamer.com, who claim that "has not been sighted at the studio for weeks," and that neither Dr. Zeschuk nor Dr. Muzyka attended the most recent company meeting. Dr. Zeschuk is to be replaced by MLG CEO Matt Bromberg. The studio itself has seen its fair share of turnaround in recent months, with an unspecified amount of layoffs taking place at the BioWare Austin studio back in May. At the time, Dr. Zeschuk wrote "Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality," they continued, "Impacting people's lives this way is always very hard, but we're ensuring the affected people are treated with dignity, fairness and respect."
"When Greg Zeschuk announced the reorganisation of [BioWare Austin] in May, he outlined his plan to return to his family in Edmonton for a much deserved vacation," EA said, in a statement to GamersGlobal, the source of the Videogamer.com article. "Greg is still with EA. He's now back in Canada, taking time off and thinking about new projects. No change with Ray Muzyka."
There are rumors circulating that there is some internal nervousness at BioWare Austin that the company may end being completely taken over by EA and re-branded EA Austin. Last year, Governor Rick Perry stated that "Texas in general - Austin in particular - has this young and talented and hip population that understands the gaming culture and wants to be a part of it," Perry stated. "And that's why it's really awesome to have a company like EA that is committed to the long haul here now, expanding its presence in Texas."
The problem then becomes for those working for EA in Austin, that they'd end up working on simple sports titles and other games that lack the interesting quality and attention to narrative that BioWare games often contain. The company developed an impressive MMORPG title in "Star Wars: The Old Republic," however; the initial fervor and excitement for that title has seemingly waned over the past few months, as subscribers are down. BioWare Austin, named "Best Video Game Studio/Developer" in 2011, according to the company's careers page, currently has one listing for employment.