NEWS - Sunday, June 28, 2009

BioWare Comments on Mythic Merger

It’s been a big week for videogame company mergers. Right alongside the news that Bethesda parent company ZeniMax acquired longtime independent studio id Software came word that BioWare and Mythic had joined forces under the umbrella of publishing giant Electronic Arts. As the news broke we also learned Mark Jacobs, longtime studio head at Mythic, the folks responsible for the massively multiplayer online games Dark Age of Camelot and the more recent Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, was leaving, to be replaced by Rob Denton, who along with Jacobs co-founded the company. Overseeing and managing the new RPG / MMO entity is BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka, who we recently got a chance to talk to about his new role and what it could mean for the numerous studios now in his charge.

"Really what’s occurred is a new group is being formed within the EA Games label, and I’m leading that group as its General Manager," said Muzyka. "Mythic and BioWare are now reporting into me and really both remain intact. Both retain their unique brands, their cultural identities, all the cool stuff they’re working on. We have great teams in all the locations, so within the group I have four locations now: BioWare Edmonton, BioWare Austin, BioWare Montreal, and Mythic, which is based in Virginia. I was just in Virginia earlier in the week and there’s some really great people there, fantastic teams to work with, so I’m really excited about it."

Muzyka doesn’t foresee any major changes in how the companies will be run, but is planning on encouraging more cross-studio communication. "My goal is to try and ensure there’s more collaboration and communication. We’ve already been back and forth between BioWare and Mythic a bunch of times, so we’re just going to try and accelerate both teams to try and do even more cool stuff…Now we have more people that are not only part of the same company but we’re partners with. They’ll actually know who each other are."

What about the possibility of a full-on collaboration and the potential emergence of a Bioware-Mythic project? "Anything’s possible," said Muzyka. "We can’t say it wouldn’t happen. There’s no active plans, currently to do that, but the teams at Mythic and BioWare I know from talking to all of them, they’re really excited about working together, so I think that fuels a lot of cool things. People start talking about ’Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if we did this, or did this together?’ That kind of thing might evolve over time. For right now they retain the unique identity at Mythic and the Austin team [Star Wars: The Old Republic] retains its unique identity, and they’re working on the same projects they were working on before. For right now it’s more of a collaborative opportunity to get people to work together at a group level."

Sounds like things will proceed as normal for now, though the possibility of a joint venture in the future is certainly interesting. Muzyka was confident in the current leadership of each studio, and we’re looking forward to whatever develops.



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