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EA to acquire BioWare


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EA Sports Jedi Football 2009?
I've actually done that in my own way. One the old Madden football games I had for my Xbox, I created a custom team called the Jedi Knights, their home stadium was Coruscant.

 

I had Anakin Skywalker at QB, Mace Windu at HB, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi at WR's. I think Qui-Gon Jinn was the Kicker. There were other familiar names I used for both offense and defense. :D

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When Black Isle was absorbed, people jumped ship, and we got Mask of the Betrayer. When Bullfrog was absorbed, the herd migrated, and we got Black&White2. When Cavedog was absorbed, the pack ran off, and we got Supreeme Commander.

 

Not every takeover ends bad, hopefully this won't either.

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Really the only way I see this working out is if Bioware employees give the two finger salute to EA and jump ship for Obsidian.

This is really about the only positive that could possibly come out of this disaster.:(

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As everyone else has said, this is one of the worst possible news for gamers everywhere. The only realistic possibility of keeping Bioware's legacy alive is that most of the creative minds which unerringly gave us brilliant game after brilliant game collectively jump ship to greener pastures. Everything else just means the death knell for arguably one of the two best companies in the videogame market.

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...

 

one of the last few innovative studio's has been lost.

Let's wait for Kotor 2008, with new innovative ways...wait. No, just a simple game to rob us of our money.

"Kotor 2008, with 3 new rims for your lightsaber. Customisable Ebon Hawk!"

 

..this also means EA has direct control over the Jade Empire, Dragon Age and Neverwinter Nights franchises no? Consider them lost... :(

 

Just when I thought my day couldn't get any worse...

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When Black Isle was absorbed' date=' people jumped ship, and we got Mask of the Betrayer.[/quote']

 

Wasn't Black Isle always part of Interplay? I thought it was their purpose-built RPG company.

 

Anyway... let's just hope this is EA getting smart. With luck, BioWare will maintain creative autonomy and we'll just have EA on the back of the box. As I've said before: if the employees they're squeezed by this they're going to jump ship to another company, or maybe even build their own ship. After so many years of wise business decisions (Dungeons and Dragons and Star Wars are profitable licences), I doubt that BioWare would sell its soul to Mephistopheles for twenty four years of service or any other variation on that Faustian theme.

 

There is likely to be method behind the madness.

 

Edit: Some answers to questions

 

Greg Zeschuk: Well, to be blunt, I don't really see ourselves as not being independent anymore. We've got a goal of making great BioWare games, and we believe in [EA CEO] John[ Riccitiello]'s vision--we can't overemphasize that. We've worked with John for years, and we're looking forward to keep doing what we're doing and doing it well.
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Greg Zeschuk: Well, to be blunt, I don't really see ourselves as not being independent anymore. We've got a goal of making great BioWare games, and we believe in [EA CEO] John[ Riccitiello]'s vision--we can't overemphasize that. We've worked with John for years, and we're looking forward to keep doing what we're doing and doing it well.

 

I've read that, but it doesn't mean anything IMO. It seems money has gotten to their heads.

 

So what's left in the good independent developers page?

 

-Valve

-Bethesda

-Blizzard (Although part of Vivendi Universal, it's bigger then its mother, might as well control it :s )

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From the depths of the blogsphere comes this gem that actually represent my view on the matter quite well:

 

"I don't really see this as a bad thing. The worst thing I can say about EA is they have a serious tendency to stick to what they know will sell. Even the original games they publish tend to be in that 'we know we can sell this' area.

 

And you know what? Bioware's games are easy to sell. By that I mean, they're pretty typical video game fare in terms of the material involved. The Baldur's Gate games were fantasy RPGs. KOTOR was a sci-fi action RPG. Jade Empire was a wuxia action RPG. Mass Effect is another sci-fi action RPG.

 

If Bioware was known for making more esoteric games like Okami or Psychonauts, yeah, I'd be concerned. But they don't. They make exceptional video games that are easy to sell to the typical hardcore gamer. EA didn't make all the money they did by screwing up easy money-making formulas like that.

 

I'm kinda interested to see what Bioware can do with the added muscle of EA behind them. Plus, doesn't EA own at least part of the Lord of the Rings license? They announced that White Council game a while back, at least. Can you imagine Bioware making a LotR RPG? That game would practically print money, and I'm sure EA is aware of that."--- BY BISHMON AT 10/11/07 05:05 PM"

 

Good job Bishmon, from Kotaku.

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Originally Posted by Darth InSidious

I hate Bioware now.

 

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Henceforth, you shall be known as Darth Insidious ;)

 

Maybe it's not Bioware's fault. I mean..it's hard to create games without money. Blizzard realy fares well though. Maybe they just saw this as an investment for the future, to make sure they can keep up quality. EA has the money, Bioware has the skills.

 

We'll just have to see how this turns out. Will it be like the Sims franchise were Will Wright made an original game and EA took the mainstream course from that point? Or will it be like a deal where EA only provides the money, and Bioware is given the time to do their thing, resulting in good quality games?

 

At any case, I'm going to sharpen my pitchfork now. And grab some torches. Just in case..you know...:(

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So what's left in the good independent developers page?

 

-Valve

-Bethesda

-Blizzard (Although part of Vivendi Universal, it's bigger then its mother, might as well control it :s )

 

You forgot Crytek, Epic and Obsidian. :(

 

So, who's up for some KOTOR 2008 action? Or maybe KOTOR: Street Edition?

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Well, I guess that's it for the hopes some people had for a KotOR-based MMORPG developed by Bioware.

 

Lucasarts is NOT going to let such a game be developed by a someone who is owned by another publisher, because that would mean they would have to share the profits, and we know how much LA likes that...

 

Sure, EA would jump at it - they know that Star Wars games are just an excuse to print money. In that sense this could be considered "good" news (assuming you love Bioware and hate Obsidian), because EA can force Bioware to make such a game even if Bioware is more interested in developing their own IPs. But that's an incredibly ficticious scenario, since LA would have to go for it first, which is so far beyond my imagination it's just staggering.

 

I wonder how many employees at Bioware we'll see jumping ship in the coming weeks...

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That's mostly corporate PR talk though, doesn't necessarily say what they really think about the issue. You're hardly going to go out to the press and complain loudly about your new boss.

 

You forgot Crytek, Epic and Obsidian. :(

 

Epic and Crytek are mostly game engine makers though. They've made some amazing game engines that other companies use to make good games, but Epic/Crytek's own games are fairly generic and bland from a story/gameplay perspective. Feels more like tech demos to show what their engines can do, in my opinion. :) The multiplayer may be OK, but the single player scenarios of their games leave a lot to be desired.

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Bioware's own forum thread is getting pounded. 15 pages of angst in 12 hours. That's got to have a reinforcing effect on the developers who are considering going rogue.

 

There are 6 more 10+ page threads about it in their off-topic forums, so apparently a lot of people have opinions about it. :)

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One thing to note: Is this an actual good business idea?

 

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5208720.html

 

However, analysts said the video game maker is paying too much for the two studios, which produce action-adventure games.

 

Evan Wilson of Pacific Crest Securities said the buyout may allow Electronic Arts to improve its games in that category, but it could have bought several studios with more valuable games for the same price. He added that EA already received a good deal of revenue from VG Holdings due to prior agreements.

 

Wilson wrote that Elevation Partners, VG's parent, bought the company for $300 million in 2005, and other buyouts have been much less expensive.

 

"We also question the price because VG Holdings' recent track record of games does not justify that increase in value of the two firms since their acquisition," he said.

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BioWare was one of my favorite devs, I wonder how this will affect that. Guess it depends how independent EA lets Bioware be from them.
Presumably it will be like an awesome movie property that gets messed around with by hollywood execs. The "power" of bioware is that they were able to create the content they wanted on a schedule they wanted.

 

I now expect Bioware to release the same game every year with minor cosmetic changes.

 

Also, does this mean the end of Bioware PC games? Are the all consoles from here on out?

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Also, does this mean the end of Bioware PC games? Are the all consoles from here on out?

 

I was wondering this same thing.

 

Now that they are EA employees(slaves) we'll probably slowly start to see turnover until a year from now all EA has is the rights to all of Bioware's past products and not the minds that created them.

 

You'd think with Bungie splitting off from Microsoft to have more freedom that other independents would appreciate theirs more.

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You'd think with Bungie splitting off from Microsoft to have more freedom that other independents would appreciate theirs more.

 

Well, it may not have been Bioware's choice, since they are owned by VG Holdings. I don't know if that's a company listed on the stock market, but if it is, then it doesn't matter what the employees want - if somebody makes a bid that the shareholders like (= enough $$), then it gets sold. Period.

 

Like it's been said, you're not going to hear any employees complain about this openly now, because nobody is going to start off criticising the new boss. What would be the point of that? After all, even if Bioware employees dislike EA, what good will it do them to voice displeasure? It'll just cost them their jobs, and it'll look bad when they're looking for the next one either way. Once they find new jobs and are secure in those, you might hear different, though.

 

Want to know what Bioware employees think of it? Watch how many of them quietly leave in the next couple of months...

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Epic and Crytek are mostly game engine makers though. They've made some amazing game engines that other companies use to make good games, but Epic/Crytek's own games are fairly generic and bland from a story/gameplay perspective. Feels more like tech demos to show what their engines can do, in my opinion. :) The multiplayer may be OK, but the single player scenarios of their games leave a lot to be desired.

 

Crytek, yes, but not Epic. The Unreal Tournament series might not have been the most ground breaking games ever made, but certainly among the best MP FPS games. Playing in an UT lan is particularly fun :)

 

 

"I don't really see this as a bad thing. The worst thing I can say about EA is they have a serious tendency to stick to what they know will sell. Even the original games they publish tend to be in that 'we know we can sell this' area.

 

By selling, they mean games that are easily mass marketed. Hell, FIFA games made by EA have always sold better then KONAMI's Pro Evolution serie. Yet, serious soccer fans as well as critics always consider Pro Evo the better game even with the lack of licensing.

 

But that's sports games only. There was the travesty that was BFME II, zero support for the first game (no, those patches solved nothing). There were those "expansion packs" for The Sims that, IMO, are an insult to human intelligence. Then there's the horrible expansion packs for the Battlefield games, the horrible Battlefield: Vietnam that received no support whatsoever. I can go on about the horrible lack of support and originality of EA's franchises.

 

 

And you know what? Bioware's games are easy to sell. By that I mean, they're pretty typical video game fare in terms of the material involved. The Baldur's Gate games were fantasy RPGs. KOTOR was a sci-fi action RPG. Jade Empire was a wuxia action RPG. Mass Effect is another sci-fi action RPG.

 

That's a pretty stupid thing to say. Might as well not make games about anything involving a humanoid form of life to be considered original. Hell, might as well say that unless the idea comes from a proto-human life form, it's not original.

 

 

If Bioware was known for making more esoteric games like Okami or Psychonauts, yeah, I'd be concerned. But they don't. They make exceptional video games that are easy to sell to the typical hardcore gamer. EA didn't make all the money they did by screwing up easy money-making formulas like that.

 

It doesn't really matter if they make esoteric games or not. In fact, their strength is in the execution and the writing. What everyone fears is how EA likes to pump out endless sequels and impose weird fees for "unlockable" content as well as crappy expansion packs. Bioware might make amazing games, but they take their time to finish it properly. With the EA executive looking over their shoulder, they might not have the time to properly complete X game for a Christmas release for example.

 

Note that Bioware is not Blizzard. Though their games can be "superior", depending on the point of view, Blizzard has this mythical status among many gamers, especially in Korea. The fact that it's a branch of Vivendi doesn't matter then: whatever happens, they have the better position in terms of negotiation. Hell, this is the company that pushed back the World of WarCraft expansion pack from a Christmas 2006 release to January 2007 and nobody can touch them about that.

 

Bioware does not have this luck.

 

 

I'm kinda interested to see what Bioware can do with the added muscle of EA behind them. Plus, doesn't EA own at least part of the Lord of the Rings license? They announced that White Council game a while back, at least. Can you imagine Bioware making a LotR RPG? That game would practically print money, and I'm sure EA is aware of that."--- BY BISHMON AT 10/11/07 05:05 PM"

 

What if they don't want to make a LotR RPG and it gets forced on them?

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