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Pavlos
10-11-2007, 04:38 PM
Source (http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/071011/20071011006083.html?.v=1)

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS - News) today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. -- the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognized for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

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BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios have ten franchises under development, including six wholly owned games. BioWare Corp. is currently developing the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is redefining open-world games with its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames(TM) and Saboteur(TM), in addition to several unannounced projects.

Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties," said John Riccitiello, EA's Chief Executive Officer. "We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Pandemic Studios is led by Andrew Goldman, Josh Resnick and Greg Borrud. BioWare Corp. is jointly led by Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka. These teams will join the EA(TM) Games Label run by Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games.

"Pandemic Studios remains focused on attracting the best talent and creating blockbuster action games," said Josh Resnick, President and Co-founder of Pandemic Studios. "As a worldwide publishing leader, EA represents the ideal partner to bring our titles to market as global entertainment events."

"We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA," said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. "This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin."

EA will pay up to $620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will issue up to an additional $155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., which will be subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria. EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options. In addition, EA has agreed to lend VG Holding Corp. up to $35 million through the closing of the acquisition.

Transaction and Financial Information

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
The transaction is expected to close in January 2008.
On a GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be dilutive to EA's fiscal 2008 results by approximately $0.30 to $0.40 due to non-recurring acquisition-related charges, stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets. This amount is a preliminary estimate based on currently-available information and is subject to change.
On a non-GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be dilutive to EA's fiscal 2008 fourth quarter results by approximately $0.05. This amount is a preliminary estimate based on currently-available information and is subject to change.

The death knell for BioWare, or a sign that EA might actually have someone smart at the top? I'm not sure how the actual BioWare employees themselves will feel about this...

Ever the optimist: It shouldn't make too much difference: BioWare will have a... huge budget for their games now, they just have to put up with a slave driver. Hopefully there won't be a change in the quality and we'll see her become Black Isle to EA's Interplay... hopefully...

Boba Rhett
10-11-2007, 04:56 PM
Oh My God, NO! :(


The world grows darker with this news as we have now all officially lived to see the death of all things good.


This is... this is just horrible news for gamers everywhere..... gah. You better damn well believe that EA is going to make them churn games out fast and furious now. It would seem Mass Effect may be their crowning and final achievement. 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.

stoffe
10-11-2007, 05:00 PM
The death knell for BioWare, or a sign that EA might actually have someone smart at the top? I'm not sure how the actual BioWare employees themselves will feel about this...

Well, that's the end of that I suppose. At least we got a handful of kickass games over a decade's time, but I suppose all good things must come to an end. I guess I can remove Dragon Age from the list of games to look forward to. :(


Ever the optimist: It shouldn't make too much difference: BioWare will have a... huge budget for their games now, they just have to put up with a slave driver.

EA has a reputation of being one of the most "suit-controlled" game developers who treat their employees quite unfavorably. Not exactly the most optimal environment for innovative, mold-breaking game development or the making of games with remarkable polish and depth. I'd love to be wrong, but I have a really bad feeling about this.

Bioware's status as an independent, privately owned game developer with good finances gave them a unique position to create great games, more free from the limitations and constraints imposed by beancounters than most others had the fortune of being. To see them stuck under the heels of one of the reputedly worst beancounter overlords in the gaming industry does not bode well at all. :(


(I'd guess that also means we can definitely rule out any more KOTOR games ever being made by Bioware.)

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6180866.html

Pavlos
10-11-2007, 05:08 PM
EA has a reputation of being one of the most "suit-controlled" game developers who treat their employees quite unfavorably. Not exactly the most optimal environment for innovative, mold-breaking game development. I'd love to be wrong, but I have a really bad feeling about that.

Oh yeah... I remember what happened to the Command and Conquer games after they fully absorbed Westwood studios but let's be optimistic about this: at least we still have Obsidian, who seem, at last, in MotB, to have found the sacred ground that they lost after the collapse of Black Isle. And hopefully BioWare will maintain the ability to make its own creative decisions and won't be driven to the brink of destruction. Make no mistake... my initial reaction was something like this (http://neatorama.cachefly.net/images/2007-02/nuclear-bomb-badger.jpg) but I think we have to have that pigheaded reluctance to look facts in the face to see us through.

Who knows: if it damages the creativity of BioWare, I'd imagine a lot of the employees would want to leave... people don't get into that industry for the money, from what I can tell, they do it for the love of creating something.

Bob Lion54
10-11-2007, 05:12 PM
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Please tell me this is a joke. This has to be a joke. It's April 1st, right?

Well... there goes that. This is a dark day for gamers everywhere.

I wonder if EA knows how big of a joke they are. I wonder if they realize that the only reason they make money is by getting rid of the competition through business means rather than by creating a quality product . I wonder if EA actually thinks their games are good or if they don't care...


Who knows: if it damages the creativity of BioWare, I'd imagine a lot of the employees would want to leave... people don't get into that industry for the money, from what I can tell, they do it for the love of creating something.
Yea, the employees that do the grind work care about games, but the decision makers... not so much. At least, it varies from company to company.

Actually, you bring up a good point about Obsidian. Giving the relationship Bioware and Obsidian have, wouldn't it be great if all the Bioware employees deserted for Obsidian? Wouldn't that be ironic? EA tries to get a great company only to loose what makes it great. EA would just be paying for the name. Sadly, too many people would still buy the games because they wouldn't know better.

EA -1
Gamers- 0

adamqd
10-11-2007, 05:19 PM
I have a really bad feeling about this.


QFT!

Alkonium
10-11-2007, 05:27 PM
Well, I guess I should respond to this the same way I responded to E3 being reduced to nothing: plan a Crusade to stop EA, then do nothing. Where is my crusading hat, anyway?

Achilles
10-11-2007, 05:59 PM
Ya know, when Disney announced the purchase of Pixar, I thought it was the worst day ever. Then they turned around and announced that Pixar management was actually taking over even though it was their company being absorbed and then I was hesitantly exuberant.

Maybe we'll see something similar here (pretty please)? *pictures KotOR 3 ala Madden 2009. Runs screaming from building*

Boba Rhett
10-11-2007, 06:06 PM
I can picture KotOR 3 too. The problem is that I can also picture KotOR 4-11 coming out within the next four years as well. http://www.olivetinstitute.org/stuff/emot-gonk.gif

SilentScope001
10-11-2007, 06:08 PM
Finally, this will put a stop to the "K3 is made by Bioware" rumor.

I am happy about the new merger. This showcases that EA is serious about innovation...by buying out innoviate companies and letting them do their own thing, and then taking the credit for it.:D

Jae Onasi
10-11-2007, 06:13 PM
This all depends on if BioWare retains enough creative control to do their job or not.

EA's job is to make money, not necessarily make great games. If a good game with adequate production time sells as many units as a great game with a longer production time, they're going to go with the one that makes the same money but is made in less time. If BioWare can convince them that an excellent quality product meets a niche in the market, then it might fly. Otherwise, hopefully other studios will step up into the gap that BioWare will leave behind.

tk102
10-11-2007, 06:29 PM
Pavlos, your optimism is sorely needed in the light of this news. If I were to name the worst possible merger that I could imagine in the video game industry, I would have named this one. :( But I agree with you that designers and programmers will probably jump ship if the new management is too corporate for their creativities. It's possible some of them are already considering side projects.

Corinthian
10-11-2007, 06:44 PM
This is a great tragedy. Let's all hang our heads in silence for a minute and think about Dragon Age and the Mass Effect sequels. These are dark days.

Shockingly, this is actually not the worst merger I could think of. The worst I could think of is if Vivendi Universal let go of Blizzard and E.A. snatched it up. But this is almost as bad.

Emperor Devon
10-11-2007, 07:18 PM
*Moans*

At least it wasn't Obsidian? Oh dear, it looks like they're now our only hope for good RPGs.

Perhaps the BioWare employees will pull an Obsidian like Feargus and co did at Interplay? One can only hope... :(

*Weeps*

Hallucination
10-11-2007, 07:49 PM
Sweet, there might be something good to find if I break into the EA building. o_Q

Arátoeldar
10-11-2007, 07:51 PM
I can picture KotOR 3 too. The problem is that I can also picture KotOR 4-11 coming out within the next four years as well. http://www.olivetinstitute.org/stuff/emot-gonk.gif

So can I. Look at how the Battlefield games are being pumped out and the horrible patching/bug support. :(:mad::(

Rev7
10-11-2007, 08:59 PM
This is some pretty bad news. :( I really cannot picture EA's logo on KotOR III. Who knows maybe Obsidian will make it? Anyways this a dark day indeed...

SilentScope001
10-11-2007, 09:23 PM
I really cannot picture EA's logo on KotOR III. Who knows maybe Obsidian will make it?

It's expected that Obsidan WILL make K3 regardless, but again, this merger has good news in that now people want it that way. :)

mimartin
10-11-2007, 09:37 PM
Say it ain't so.:cry8:

I’ll expect the worst and hope for the best.

EA Sports Jedi Football 2009?

Mav
10-11-2007, 09:42 PM
EA -1
Gamers- 0

I'd say it's more like...
EA - ∞
Gamers - 0

Yea, this is some pretty bad news, EA has pretty much the opposite effect of King Midas... everything EA touches turns into... junk. I guess there is a sliver of hope though, if I recall correctly wasn't Steam/Valve absorbed by EA? And The Orange Box turned out to be a pretty good product.

At least it wasn't Obsidian? Oh dear, it looks like they're now our only hope for good RPGs.

Maybe for western RPGs, but SquareEnix and other Japanese developers continue to churn out some pretty impressive RPGs. In any event hopefully this wont turn into a tragedy, but as others have already expressed I have a bad feeling about this.

Edit: Also, with the acquisition of BioWare, Pandemic Studios went with it, Pandemic being known probably most for the Star Wars Battlefront series as well as the Mercenaries series, so it's not good for those two franchises either...

lukeiamyourdad
10-11-2007, 10:23 PM
I can picture KotOR 3 too. The problem is that I can also picture KotOR 4-11 coming out within the next four years as well. http://www.olivetinstitute.org/stuff/emot-gonk.gif


Dude, you forgot about the twelve expansions pack, including the one that adds 3 new lightsaber hilts for the bargain price of $35.99!

Another Canadian company absorbed by an evil US corporation. So fun...

I feel like I want to murder someone.


I guess there is a sliver of hope though, if I recall correctly wasn't Steam/Valve absorbed by EA?

EA distributes their games from 2005. I'm not sure, but I think Valve was not "absorbed" so to speak.

Rev7
10-11-2007, 10:30 PM
EA Sports Jedi Football 2009?
That would be awesome!! I don't like football, but I would still play this game anyway! JEDI VS. SITH!!! A Classic.....:p

John Galt
10-11-2007, 10:41 PM
this definitely bodes ill, unless the corporate suits at EA will loosen the leash and spare the whip on bioware.

who am I kidding?

stingerhs
10-11-2007, 11:30 PM
darn you. darn you EA to heck.

Jeff
10-11-2007, 11:37 PM
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.

Sucks.

Mav
10-12-2007, 12:17 AM
EA distributes their games from 2005. I'm not sure, but I think Valve was not "absorbed" so to speak.Ahhh thats right thanks for the clarification.

Shem
10-12-2007, 12:53 AM
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

mur'phon
10-12-2007, 03:53 AM
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.

Lantzen
10-12-2007, 07:41 AM
R.I.P. Bioware :cry8:

JediAthos
10-12-2007, 08:42 AM
Bioware might as well roll over and die because if they don't EA will kill them just like they did Westwood. RIP Bioware...we'll miss you.

Q
10-12-2007, 08:48 AM
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.:(

magnusll
10-12-2007, 10:18 AM
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.

Ztalker
10-12-2007, 11:04 AM
...

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...

Pavlos
10-12-2007, 11:13 AM
When Black Isle was absorbed, people jumped ship, and we got Mask of the Betrayer.

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 (http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6180866.html)

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.

lukeiamyourdad
10-12-2007, 11:35 AM
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 )

Lance Monance
10-12-2007, 11:47 AM
There goes my favourite developer, responsible for some of the best RPGs ever.:(

Guess that means my hopes for Dragon age are obsolete now. Damn you, Ea.

Darth InSidious
10-12-2007, 11:52 AM
I hate Bioware now.

SilentScope001
10-12-2007, 12:21 PM
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.

Ztalker
10-12-2007, 12:25 PM
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...:(

Sabretooth
10-12-2007, 12:29 PM
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?

Jediphile
10-12-2007, 12:34 PM
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...

stoffe
10-12-2007, 12:44 PM
Edit: Some answers to questions (http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6180866.html)

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.

tk102
10-12-2007, 01:05 PM
Bioware's own forum thread (http://forums.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=590386&forum=41&sp=210) 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.


Edit:
Oops my bad, that's a part 2 thread. The first 14-page thread was already closed. Wow.

stoffe
10-12-2007, 01:11 PM
Bioware's own forum thread (http://forums.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=590386&forum=41&sp=210) 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. :)

tk102
10-12-2007, 01:17 PM
With that much fan base, any group that defects from the EA takeover is going to have something of a hero status before they even put out their first game.

SilentScope001
10-12-2007, 01:17 PM
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.

Prime
10-12-2007, 01:26 PM
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?

Hannibal
10-12-2007, 02:31 PM
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.

Jediphile
10-12-2007, 03:36 PM
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...

lukeiamyourdad
10-12-2007, 03:58 PM
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?

HerbieZ
10-12-2007, 04:36 PM
This is a colossal kick in the nuts.

Commander Obi-Wan
10-12-2007, 06:04 PM
Umm.... wow. That REALLY sucks. Just wow.

Fish.Stapler
10-12-2007, 06:23 PM
I just hope that Mass Effect is close enough to being finished that EA can't mess it up.

Prime
10-12-2007, 09:53 PM
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. I can speak to this. Employees in these sorts of companies typically are bound by conduct regulations that prevent them from opening speaking unfavorably about their employer. In my contract I am prevented from saying such things. So the silence from bioware employees contractually mandated.

Want to know what Bioware employees think of it? Watch how many of them quietly leave in the next couple of months...That is by far the best indicator. But the biggest disappointment is that even if "all" the important people leave and go elsewhere, they can't take their properties with them.

Char Ell
10-12-2007, 10:47 PM
Damn! I take a day off and miss a nuclear bomb of an announcement. :mad:

A disconcerting move, no doubt. And I very much agree with the analyst who questioned how two companies that were purchased for somewhere north of USD$300 million in 2005 doubled in value to USD$620 million in two years, not to mention the additional USD$155 million in stock that will also be issued. The 2005 investors have big dollar signs for eyeballs and they keep repeating the phrase CHA-CHING!

All I can say is that John Ricitiello headed up Elevation Partners group when they purchased BioWare and Pandemic Studios in 2005. Mr. Ricitiello left Elevation Partners in February to assume the CEO position at EA. It seems quite apparent from yesterday's announcement that Mr. Ricitiello very much wanted to have BioWare and Pandemic Studios join the EA fold and was willing to pay a very steep premium to get them. I've played very few EA games so I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude for how this will impact BioWare's future games. Mass Effect will be fine. How plans for the Mass Effect trilogy will be impacted is another matter. It just depends on the contractual arrangement between BioWare and Microsoft.
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. That's all well and good but the good doctor is deluding himself if he thinks BioWare is still independent. EA is a publicly held company. Shareholders want return on their investment and BioWare will not be able to pull another Dragon Age while under the EA umbrella. I just don't see that happening in a financial results driven company. And if EA's financials suffer, as is likely to happen at some point down the road, and John Ricitiello gets the boot then who knows who will take over the reins and what they would expect from their in-house game development units? It's unfortunate news and for me the news came much earlier than anticipated. The gaming industry is bound to consolidate but I thought BioWare wouldn't need to be concerned about their finances for the next 4-5 years after their acquisition by Elevation Partners. But with EA offering such a high premium it looks like the offer was too good to pass up.

Devilsfanatic
10-13-2007, 01:58 AM
Knights of the Old Republic was one of the games that EA did NOT get their hands on according to the gamespot article.

Rev7
10-13-2007, 02:02 AM
Knights of the Old Republic was one of the games that EA did NOT get their hands on according to the gamespot article.
That just stinks!!

Bob Lion54
10-13-2007, 02:32 AM
Bioware was licensed to make one game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Bioware has NO rights to the game or franchise other than collecting revenue from continued sales.

When the game was a hit and LA wanted to make a sequel, Bioware wasn't interested. They contacted Obsidian and Obsidian agreed.

The lack of KotOR 3 has nothing to do with Bioware. If LA wanted to make the game, they would find a developer. It hasn't been made because LA wants to focus attention on their other games.

Knights of the Old Republic was one of the games that EA did NOT get their hands on according to the gamespot article.
EA can't get something from Bioware that Bioware doesn't have.

Likely, the article is referring to the royalties from the continued sales of the game. In other words, if you buy another copy of KotOR 1, Bioware will get the money, but EA will not. However, when Mass Effect comes out, EA will get a cut of that.

Rev7
10-13-2007, 02:47 AM
Bioware was licensed to make one game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Bioware has NO rights to the game or franchise other than collecting revenue from continued sales.

When the game was a hit and LA wanted to make a sequel, Bioware wasn't interested. They contacted Obsidian and Obsidian agreed.

The lack of KotOR 3 has nothing to do with Bioware. If LA wanted to make the game, they would find a developer. It hasn't been made because LA wants to focus attention on their other games.


EA can't get something from Bioware that Bioware doesn't have.

Likely, the article is referring to the royalties from the continued sales of the game. In other words, if you buy another copy of KotOR 1, Bioware will get the money, but EA will not. However, when Mass Effect comes out, EA will get a cut of that.
Thanks for the clarifacation Bob lion54! :)

Mandalore252
10-13-2007, 01:17 PM
Gentlemans this is the end of the great style of Kotor games we had until now, prepare for really rushed, incomplete and horrible Kotor games. Oh and they will only be released in the year 3000! Those who know Westwood and Command & Conquer know that doom has arrived to Star Wars

Char Ell
10-13-2007, 01:49 PM
^^^
This announcement has no impact on the KotOR franchise or any other Star Wars game franchise other than the almost foregone conclusion that BioWare and Pandemic Studios won't be making any more Star Wars games.

Bear in mind that LucasArts is a competing publisher to EA and LucasArts controls all SW game development. It is highly unlikely that LucasArts is going to use an EA-owned developer to develop a Star Wars game.

PoiuyWired
10-13-2007, 04:28 PM
RIP guys. Well at least with those $$$ you guys can retire...

And yes, now I would hope that someone else would make kotor3, maybe LucasArts itself. I mean, I would rather see NO kotor3 at all than some EA-quality product.

Jediphile
10-13-2007, 05:40 PM
As much as this news sucks in many people's opinion (just check Bioware's forums, if you have any doubt...), I consider it a complete non-factor to the status of KotOR3.

Sure, people have speculated that Bioware might do KotOR3 or might be doing a KotOR-based MMORPG, but it's all been conjecture with very little evidence and a lot of supposition, as far as can tell. Bioware has never officially confirmed anything and actually even expressed interest in doing only their own IPs, which effectively rules out any possibility of being involved in Star Wars games again.

Of course, they could have changed their minds, but there has been no evidence to suggest that, and now it really doesn't matter anymore anyway. It'll be a cold day in Hell before LA allows an EA-owned dev to do a Star Wars game, so it's now a very, very, very, very, incredible moot point...

Not that it matters, anyway. KotOR3 is vapourware :(

Negative Sun
10-13-2007, 08:51 PM
This announcement has no impact on the KotOR franchise or any other Star Wars game franchise other than the almost foregone conclusion that BioWare and Pandemic Studios won't be making any more Star Wars games.

Bear in mind that LucasArts is a competing publisher to EA and LucasArts controls all SW game development. It is highly unlikely that LucasArts is going to use an EA-owned developer to develop a Star Wars game.
QFE

Couldn't agree more, LA decides what happens to KotOR, not BioWare or EA (thankfully!)

Char Ell
10-13-2007, 09:19 PM
I mean, I would rather see NO kotor3 at all than some EA-quality product. A lot of people are either unaware or have forgotten that EA got a new CEO earlier this year. John Ricitiello headed the group that acquired BioWare and Pandemic Studios back in 2005. He left that group to take over as CEO of EA in February of this year. I tend to think that EA was willing to pay such a high price for BioWare and Pandemic Studios because he knew that they produce quality games and that is something he wants to improve at EA, as well as to have EA gain more of a presence in the genres that these two companies develop games for.

In any case, a list of pros and cons I came up with about BioWare being acquired by EA.

PROS
- BioWare doesn't have to worry about finding publishers for their games and negotiating publishing deals. Obviously EA will now publish all their games that aren't already contracted out to another publisher. This will allow BioWare management to concentrate solely on the development side.
- BioWare will have much more freedom to create games for multiple platforms and won't have to make exclusive deals like they did with Mass Effect.

CONS
- BioWare will become part of a publicly traded company, subject to the whims of shareholders' demand for profitable performance on EA management. With John Riccitiello at the helm I think BioWare will be given a long leash. However, should other EA development efforts underperform then BioWare may be pressured to help the parent company's bottom line by bringing games to market sooner than desired by the BioWare team.
- BioWare will also become subject to management changes. Should John Riccitiello be forced out or otherwise leave his position as CEO of EA and new management is brought in then BioWare could have operational changes dictated to them that they might not be real happy about.

Short term, everything at BioWare will likely operate status quo. The long term impact however is much more of a question mark, IMHO.

stoffe
10-14-2007, 07:57 AM
A lot of people are either unaware or have forgotten that EA got a new CEO earlier this year. John Ricitiello headed the group that acquired BioWare and Pandemic Studios back in 2005. He left that group to take over as CEO of EA in February of this year.

I believe I read somewhere that JohnR was recruited to the Bio/Pandemic owner company (VG Holding) from EA, where he was an exec before. Thus he's had his part in making EA what they are today.

(If you want to bring out the tin foil hat you could also speculate on the coincidence of a high-ranking EA exec being involved in the deal forming the Bio/Pandemic merger, turning Bio from a privately owned company into something that can more easily be bought, then assuming CEO position in VG Holding (the owner company) for a few years, before returning to EA again and making them buy the company he helped construct. :) Long term planning or just a coincidence?)


- BioWare will also become subject to management changes.

Exactly, even if the BioBosses have a good working relationship with JohnR there is no guarantee that he'll stay on that job forever, and someone with a different view of how things should be done might take the helm instead.

The past track record of EA absorbing and destroying good game studios does hint at the corporate culture prevalent in EA.

Negative Sun
10-14-2007, 10:27 AM
Sure, people have speculated that Bioware might do KotOR3 or might be doing a KotOR-based MMORPG, but it's all been conjecture with very little evidence and a lot of supposition, as far as can tell.
After Galaxies, I'd be surprised if even EA would be stupid enough to look into a Star Wars MMORPG, nevermind LA letting them do it in the first place...

Char Ell
10-14-2007, 11:38 AM
I believe I read somewhere that JohnR was recruited to the Bio/Pandemic owner company (VG Holding) from EA, where he was an exec before. Thus he's had his part in making EA what they are today.

(If you want to bring out the tin foil hat you could also speculate on the coincidence of a high-ranking EA exec being involved in the deal forming the Bio/Pandemic merger, turning Bio from a privately owned company into something that can more easily be bought, then assuming CEO position in VG Holding (the owner company) for a few years, before returning to EA again and making them buy the company he helped construct. :) Long term planning or just a coincidence?) Mr. Riccitiello actually left EA to become one of the founders of Elevation Partners (http://info.ea.com/news/pr/pr468.pdf) back in 2004. I'm pretty sure he was the one doing a great deal of the recruiting for people with money to invest in technology and entertainment, people like Bono. Elevation Partners formed VG Holding to be the parent company of BioWare and Pandemic. Mr. Riccitiello remained managing director of Elevation Partners while also taking on the additional role of CEO for VG Holding up until the time he left EP and VGH for the EA CEO position. :)

In any case your tin foil hat theory doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. ;) EA's previous CEO, Larry Probst, gave up his CEO position to Mr. Riccitiello but Mr. Probst did stay on with EA as chairman of the board. It's not like he got forced out. And after this announcement was made it did occur to me that BioWare really lost their ability to refuse EA's offer when they decided to be acquired by Elevation Partners. Sure, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk were owners of VG Holdings but they were likely minority owners and couldn't squash the EA deal on their own, like they could have done if they hadn't agreed to be acquired by Elevation Partners.

I haven't really followed EA in the past because I only follow news for companies I'm interested in and EA wasn't publishing games I was interested in. This deal changes that so I'll likely keep a much closer eye on EA's dealings going forward. :D

Ctrl Alt Del
10-14-2007, 09:08 PM
My voice will be together with the ones screaming, hell no!

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


Well, that's unlikely. EA policy of making more money with a single strike reigns supreme. Meaning that their games always have the tendency of being multi-consoles.

SykoRevan
10-15-2007, 12:02 AM
There's a good chance I'm going to hurt someone for this. You know, I live in Florida, and after I moved to a horrible city near Orlando, I remembered EA had an office in Maitland, just north of Orlando, so I decided to vent my increasing anger at having to live in this redneck town. So what did I do? I stood in front of the building with a large sign with a one-finger salute drawn on it planted next to me, while I gave them a one-finger salute of my own. Childish, I know, but I enjoyed seeing them look at me from the parking lot. I videotaped myself doing it too, and I have to say that even I admire my own ability to stand upright and still, flipping them off for almost a full hour. This was after playing Superman Returns for the Xbox 360 and realizing that these money-hungry video game pirates have ruined the Man of Steel in video games, and the game was indeed developed right there in EA Tiburon. Of course, now I'm wondering what this has to do with what those bloodsuckers have done to BioWare, but suffice to say that I'm paying them another visit, and I am going to do alot more than stand outside their building, which is a Florida monument to the gaming equivalent of purgatory, and give them the middle finger for an hour.

If I don't come back in 4 days, tell BioWare I love them. And tell John Riccitiello I hope he gets attacked by Rhett's elves, and Darth Malak, simultaneously.

P.S. Sending hate mail to EA is not only allowed, but encouraged.

Negative Sun
10-15-2007, 08:48 AM
^ This gets my vote in this year's Post of the Year Award

Right on! :carms:

tk102
10-15-2007, 09:55 AM
I videotaped myself doing it tooPlease share @ youtube.com :p

Hallucination
10-16-2007, 12:13 AM
SykoRevan is now ****ing epic.

Boba Rhett
10-16-2007, 12:17 AM
I too require pictures/video forth which to adorn my SykoRevan alter.

Sabretooth
10-16-2007, 02:21 AM
SykoRevan is my HERO.

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.

So you're telling me that to make a great game you need a singleplayer with a rich story? You tell that to the reviewers who have given UT, UT2004 and FarCry 9+/10 scores. And to the millions who frag each other in an addicted daze on UT servers everyday. FarCry and UT are both excellent games, good story or not (UT doesn't even have one), and far from "tech demos".

Tip: Sabre is a little sensitive when it comes to anti-UT statements.

Serpentine Cougar
10-16-2007, 10:01 AM
All I can say is, "Time will tell." It'll be interesting seeing what eventually comes of all this. I wish some companies would realize that if you let a developer take their time to perfect a game, it'll sell well because of that perfection. Good games aren't built in a day, or on the backs of slaves. But hey, even if Bioware dies, at least they're not the only good game developer out there.

LOL @ Syko.

tk102
10-16-2007, 11:51 AM
So you're telling me that to make a great game you need a singleplayer with a rich story?

Couldn't have said it better. :)

stoffe
10-16-2007, 12:22 PM
So you're telling me that to make a great game you need a singleplayer with a rich story?

Yes, that is pretty much my opinion for games that have any longevity (i.e. make you consider reinstalling them 6-10 years later for another replay). Rich story, interesting gameplay and atmosphere are important factors in what make a game good. :)

If I just want a 20 minute adrenaline kick when playing (which happens on occasion) the story is not quite as important, but those games are pretty much disposable once they're past their prime and newer, prettier-looking ones along the same generic theme has been released. :)

I played a fair bit on Unreal (1) and Unreal Tournament (1) a handful of years ago, when I was still bothering with multiplayer games. After playing for roughly a year I got tired of them though, and haven't quite felt compelled to buy any of the sequels since they're just more of the same which I'd already gotten tired of. :) I still replay Deus Ex every now and then, but would hardly bother digging up my old Unreal disc and play through that again.

Farcry was pretty, with nice environments and decent enemy AI, but the story was a typical generic FPS shooter one that felt more like an excuse to make you do things than anything. Gameplay was standard fare FPS like they've been for pretty much a decade. I played it for a couple of months before getting bored with it.


You tell that to the reviewers who have given UT, UT2004 and FarCry 9+/10 scores. And to the millions who frag each other in an addicted daze on UT servers everyday.

Different people have different tastes. :)

Fortunately I don't require the approval of people who are professionally opinionated to decide if I may consider a game good or bad, nor is peer pressure any major factor to weigh in. I'm quite capable of forming opinions on my own. :p

I quite frequently find myself disagreeing with reviewer scores when they give stellar scores to games with pretty surface but little substance, and poorer scores to games that are in my opinion much better (System Shock 2, Deus Ex, VtM:Bloodlines etc). It looks like there is a fair deal of peer pressure among reviewers, almost like they feel compelled to give massively hyped games high scores since everyone is already convinced of their excellence. As such I don't put much weight on what reviewers think any more, preferring to go by either word of mouth, reputation or trying out demos myself. :)

Negative Sun
10-16-2007, 01:00 PM
Couldn't have said it better. :)
I could have, using one word: Lightsabers!

Sabretooth
10-16-2007, 01:40 PM
Yes, that is pretty much my opinion for games that have any longevity (i.e. make you consider reinstalling them 6-10 years later for another replay). Rich story, interesting gameplay and atmosphere are important factors in what make a game good. :)

If I just want a 20 minute adrenaline kick when playing (which happens on occasion) the story is not quite as important, but those games are pretty much disposable once they're past their prime and newer, prettier-looking ones along the same generic theme has been released. :)

Yay, I'm debating with stoffe! :emodanc:

While I see where you're coming from, I disagree when you say that only the games with a rich story and atmosphere are the best. How about Mario, or Pong, Tetris and all those forefathers of gaming? The way I see it, stories should not be taken for granted in games, because it is perfectly possible to make a fun game without any real story.

While a majority goes on to the next version of a game, that doesn't mean a game isn't great. Longevity and replayability are certainly not deciding factors for how fun a game is. A game can be immersive, but ultimately it's meant to be fun (as opposed to books, movies and such).

I played a fair bit on Unreal (1) and Unreal Tournament (1) a handful of years ago, when I was still bothering with multiplayer games. After playing for roughly a year I got tired of them though, and haven't quite felt compelled to buy any of the sequels since they're just more of the same which I'd already gotten tired of. :) I still replay Deus Ex every now and then, but would hardly bother digging up my old Unreal disc and play through that again.

Agreed, I consider Deus Ex to be one of the greatest games ever made and it is my most beloved game because of its very atmosphere, storyline and stuff. But if I ask myself in a raw sense, I find UT more fun because it is readily accessible, easy to play and doesn't require a lot of thinking. You can call me dumb for that, but again, great games need not only be made for Einsteins.

UT's sequels do take the graphics further, but there is still a very strong UT community out there, which is comparable to the CS community. Many do migrate to the sequels, but UT's persistence is proof that it was way above average in its time.

Farcry was pretty, with nice environments and decent enemy AI, but the story was a typical generic FPS shooter one that felt more like an excuse to make you do things than anything. Gameplay was standard fare FPS like they've been for pretty much a decade. I played it for a couple of months before getting bored with it.

Again, we go to longevity. I'll admit that Far Cry's story is a sorry excuse, but then you have to accept that. As a game, Far Cry was an exceptional experience with its AI, difficulty, instinct-factor and what-not. And here I can express something plaguing my mind that I've pinpointed. You know you're playing a great game when you feel it's a great game the first run you make through it, not in the four hundred ones you make later. Far Cry was a brilliant experience, IMO and it's certainly one of the best shooters I've played.

Different people have different tastes. :)

Fortunately I don't require the approval of people who are professionally opinionated to decide if I may consider a game good or bad, nor is peer pressure any major factor to weigh in. I'm quite capable of forming opinions on my own. :p

Got nothing against ya there!

I quite frequently find myself disagreeing with reviewer scores when they give stellar scores to games with pretty surface but little substance, and poorer scores to games that are in my opinion much better (System Shock 2, Deus Ex, VtM:Bloodlines etc). It looks like there is a fair deal of peer pressure among reviewers, almost like they feel compelled to give massively hyped games high scores since everyone is already convinced of their excellence. As such I don't put much weight on what reviewers think any more, preferring to go by either word of mouth, reputation or trying out demos myself. :)

I agree there, though I wonder what sane reviewer has given Deus Ex or System Shock 2 a bad score. Vampire I've played a long while ago, and IIRC, other than its character creation system, replayability and storyline (and atmosphere), it had very little going for it. Combat was bland, pacing slow and load times horrendous (I mean like you have to go through 5 loading screens worth half an hour to get to point B). Won't say it was a bad game, but it certainly falls more than a little below System Shock 2 and Deus Ex.

*gleefully awaits response*

SykoRevan
10-16-2007, 02:26 PM
^ This gets my vote in this year's Post of the Year Award

Right on! :carms:

SykoRevan is now ****ing epic.

SykoRevan is my HERO.

I'm truly flattered and honored, guys. Trust me, if you take the time out of your day to flip off a local EA studio, it will make your life just a little bit sweeter. I'm already planning to make another trip to Maitland, and this time, I am going INSIDE EA Tiburon, to get revenge on Superman and BioWare!

Please share @ youtube.com :p

Alas, I am about to break a few hearts. The camcorder I used that day is an old-school VHS recorder, and I don't have the technology or the knowledge of how to put it on my computer, or else it would have been on YouTube weeks ago :lol:

There's actually another humorous event concerning that camcorder on that day. About after an hour, I changed the tape and the batteries in in the camcorder, since it had been on the whole time. It was at that point that an actual EA employee (or just one of their many slaves) came out, and said that he had orders to confiscate the video tape holding the footage. This guy was one of those nightclub big bouncer types, but he seemed kinda gullible (one of the reasons he works at EA, huh?). Of course, I told him it was right in the camcorder. So he took out the tape (which, as I said before, was just put in, and thus blank. The actual footage was in my pocket ;) ) Then, to sweeten the deal, he ripped apart the tape right in front of me. If he would have just held on to it, he would have realized it was blank, but EA employees aren't really known for their foresight, are they? I mean, if they were, they would stop making one NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA game a year and actually make a game with a foreseeable future as a promising game with alot of longevity, like KotOR. Of course, the bouncer holding me (literally) on the spot until the cops carted me off kinda bummed the day, but I restored my happiness after watching the tape with some friends from the YMCA, and laughing. Of course, I already knew the ending, which was me screaming out "I'll give ya $1000 if you go one year without an NFL game!" to a guy going to his car who actually looked pretty high up in EA Tiburon, what with his expensive-looking suit, personal assistant, and shoe-shine slave. (You have to wonder if I'm actually joking about the shoe-shine slave :D) Of course, it was that guy who called the cops, as well as the hired muscle to take my "footage" and hold me on the spot until the cops arrived, so maybe I should have left that guy alone.... on second thought, naaaaah. That was the best part of the day, watching him actually bump his head trying to hurry inside his car, like he was afraid I'd throw my giant middle finger sign at him. I was thinking about it, too ;)

Well, that's enough of my reminiscing. On with the discussions!

How about Mario, or Pong, Tetris and all those forefathers of gaming?

As a full-blown Tetris addict, I have to agree with Sabretooth. Some games have almost no story, but are still very addictive. Of course, those games were born at a point where there was none before, so nobody really had anything to compare Pong and Tetris to, and Mario was the real breakthrough as it was IIRC the first platformer where you actually controlled a person. I think MMORPG's are a better example, especially MapleStory (shaddup!). Some MMO's have almost no unique story, since everyone playing the game is kinda doing the same story, so you can't really make a good story in an MMO that gives your character a unique and superior position, but they're still fun to play. That's because they bring something else to the table, something that takes people away from the lack of an epic story. For instance, I once saw a guy on MapleStory beat up a red ribbon-wearing pig with a giant frozen fish. That alone just made me go "I am so IN!" Other MMO's bring other things to the table, but I don't play any others (I refuse to pay any subscription fees!) so I can't really vouch for them.

*gleefully awaits response*

*waits with Sabretooth*

JediMaster76
10-17-2007, 12:08 AM
I think I just died inside... :(

Firstly, let me start by saying *a tear shed for those lost* . Anyway, as others have mentioned before, whether this move will be for good or ill is any body's guess, though other independent companies probably took a heavy blow when they heard the news. And I for one, kind of disagree with EA's 'takeover' of the two companies, but alas...

A lot of people have been talking about BioWare and KoTOR III, and that's probably because they produced higher quality/more 'unique' games, but what about Pandemic? What will become of our beloved Battlefront? There is no way in the name of all that's logical that LA will allow Pandemic to make Battlefront III, which is really quite a pity.

Rev7
10-17-2007, 01:23 AM
Alas, I am about to break a few hearts. The camcorder I used that day is an old-school VHS recorder, and I don't have the technology or the knowledge of how to put it on my computer, or else it would have been on YouTube weeks ago :lol:

There's actually another humorous event concerning that camcorder on that day. About after an hour, I changed the tape and the batteries in in the camcorder, since it had been on the whole time. It was at that point that an actual EA employee (or just one of their many slaves) came out, and said that he had orders to confiscate the video tape holding the footage. This guy was one of those nightclub big bouncer types, but he seemed kinda gullible (one of the reasons he works at EA, huh?). Of course, I told him it was right in the camcorder. So he took out the tape (which, as I said before, was just put in, and thus blank. The actual footage was in my pocket ;) ) Then, to sweeten the deal, he ripped apart the tape right in front of me. If he would have just held on to it, he would have realized it was blank, but EA employees aren't really known for their foresight, are they? I mean, if they were, they would stop making one NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA game a year and actually make a game with a foreseeable future as a promising game with alot of longevity, like KotOR. Of course, the bouncer holding me (literally) on the spot until the cops carted me off kinda bummed the day, but I restored my happiness after watching the tape with some friends from the YMCA, and laughing. Of course, I already knew the ending, which was me screaming out "I'll give ya $1000 if you go one year without an NFL game!" to a guy going to his car who actually looked pretty high up in EA Tiburon, what with his expensive-looking suit, personal assistant, and shoe-shine slave. (You have to wonder if I'm actually joking about the shoe-shine slave :D) Of course, it was that guy who called the cops, as well as the hired muscle to take my "footage" and hold me on the spot until the cops arrived, so maybe I should have left that guy alone.... on second thought, naaaaah. That was the best part of the day, watching him actually bump his head trying to hurry inside his car, like he was afraid I'd throw my giant middle finger sign at him. I was thinking about it, too ;)

Quick on your feet eh? That is a classic "trick" ,and that made me laugh when I read that. :)
Anyways, EA bought Bioware fair and square. It may cause many to mourn, but EA rightfully purchased Bioware and I guess should be congradulated on their accomplishment. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see Bioware leave, but I guess it was just meant to be...

Ztalker
10-17-2007, 06:48 AM
http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/7167/sykorevanpicey8.jpg

PS: Is this better, Jae? ;)

Sabretooth
10-17-2007, 07:19 AM
OK guys, he's not even that epic. We don't even have material proof of the activities he has described. :indif:

*jumps to save-my-soul wicker basket*

stoffe
10-17-2007, 02:25 PM
How about Mario, or Pong, Tetris and all those forefathers of gaming? The way I see it, stories should not be taken for granted in games, because it is perfectly possible to make a fun game without any real story.


Matter of taste again, since I don't like that sort of games. :) I've never understood why Tetris is so popular, a game you can't win or succeed in, where the ultimate purpose is just to stave off your inevitable defeat as long as you can. It's an exercise in stress building. There's enough stress in everyday life, don't need that in my spare time entertainment as well. :) And I guess I enjoy winning too much to appreciate that sort of game. :)


Longevity and replayability are certainly not deciding factors for how fun a game is. A game can be immersive, but ultimately it's meant to be fun (as opposed to books, movies and such).

Sure, a game with no replay value can still be fun. But a game with replay value, that you find yourself wanting to return to, is fun for a longer time, and you get more entertainment for your money. :)



Agreed, I consider Deus Ex to be one of the greatest games ever made and it is my most beloved game because of its very atmosphere, storyline and stuff. But if I ask myself in a raw sense, I find UT more fun because it is readily accessible, easy to play and doesn't require a lot of thinking.


Different forms of entertainment value. Short adrenaline fests can be fun when I'm in the mood for that, though if I had to rank games in terms of greatness those with a deeper story and gameplay would rank higher than those having you just running through corridors shooting anything that moves. Deus Ex is polish, immersion, atmosphere, storytelling and choice, mixed up with combat. Perhaps not the greatest game for running and gunning, but on a whole a lot better as a game overall than generic shooters, in my opinion. As a "jack of all trades" game it might be hard to be Master of All as well, but they succeeded in being just good enough at the different genres included to make the game enjoyable.


UT's sequels do take the graphics further, but there is still a very strong UT community out there, which is comparable to the CS community. Many do migrate to the sequels, but UT's persistence is proof that it was way above average in its time.

Unreal Tournament was fun, but after playing it for a while that fun factor started to diminish when I got bored with it and it started feeling like daily routine, almost like a second job rather than entertainment. UT is by no means a bad game, but I would hardly put it on my top 10 list of Greatest Games Ever(tm). :)



I wonder what sane reviewer has given Deus Ex or System Shock 2 a bad score. Vampire I've played a long while ago, and IIRC, other than its character creation system, replayability and storyline (and atmosphere), it had very little going for it.


Fairly many reviewers gave Deus Ex and SS2 a relatively low score compared to what it deserved, though I've noticed that many review sites have gone back and changed their initial reviews, bumping up the score after the game became a classic. I guess they wouldn't want to be the Dick Rowe of game reviewing. :)

I suspect the biggest problem with reviews of games like DX, SS2 and VtM is that the review sites think "Hmm, it has a first person interface and guns... let's give it to the Quake-adrenaline-junkie reviewer and let him have a go at reviewing it". Which is sort of asking McCarthy to write an objective and nuanced review of communism in America. This was pretty evident in System Shock 2 reviews since many compared the game to Half-Life which was released at roughly the same time, even though the games are in different genres.

I (obviously) disagree with your assessment of Bloodlines. :p It has very much the same going for it that Deus Ex has, though the atmosphere is more in the Horror direction. It was, in my opinion, a brilliant game that was somewhat stunted by a clunky technical implementation. But that's something which can be overlooked when a game otherwise is that good. A rather play a great game with a poor engine, than a ****ty game using the most optimized engine ever... even though I'd of course rather have a great game with a good engine. :)

Negative Sun
10-17-2007, 06:27 PM
Well, it's time to get some answers!
Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, founders of BioWare, are having a Q&A about the company's future, and there's still time to post a burning question of your own right here (http://forums.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=591922&forum=41&sp=0) at the BioWare forums...I've posted mine:

Because of the deal with Microsoft, is there any chance that Mass Effect might come to PC under DX10? Or will that depend on EA now?
Simple, yet the only thing I'm really concerned about...

lukeiamyourdad
10-17-2007, 10:55 PM
Pandemic speaks:

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6181078.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=multimodule&tag=multimodule;picks;title;6

Basically, they assure us that they'll keep their independence, citing Blizzard and Rockstar as examples of companies able to pump out great games while being part of a greater entity.

Except that both Rockstar and Blizzard have made incredibly successful games that pumped money into their company, Pandemic does not have a franchise like GTA or StarCraft to be the bigger player in negotiations. Still skeptical about all of this.

Serpentine Cougar
10-18-2007, 01:30 AM
Good point, lukeiam! But while Pandemic might not have such spectacular franchises as those two companies, maybe Bioware does. Or maybe they can use their reputation as RPG-masters to the same effect. Here's hoping!

One of the things they said in that interview caught my eye:
I mean our goal at the end of the day is to get that 13-year-old kid or that 35-year-old kid to spend their allowance on our games. That's what counts. That's what's important to us.
Pandemic says: "We want your money!!!" :lol:

(Sorry, don't take that comment seriously; just pokin' fun. ;) )

Sabretooth
10-18-2007, 04:50 AM
It was, in my opinion, a brilliant game that was somewhat stunted by a clunky technical implementation. But that's something which can be overlooked when a game otherwise is that good.

"somewhat stunted"? It was plain out broken with it! Okay, exaggeration to the left, but as I kept playing it, I knew it could have been a plain out stellar game. The combat was terrible and the parts where the story went stagnant were painfully boring. I bet things would have been better had they not used the Source engine - that thing is clearly built only for Half-Life-ish goodness. *is resisting the urge to suggest Unreal engine*

As for the rest of the post, I can say that we boil down to differences in taste and flavour, which we must take with a pinch of salt, since this isn't our cup of tea and the cake is a lie. Man, that's a pungasm.

Char Ell
10-18-2007, 09:11 AM
Well, it's time to get some answers!
Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, founders of BioWare, are having a Q&A about the company's future, and there's still time to post a burning question of your own right here (http://forums.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=591922&forum=41&sp=0) at the BioWare forums...I've posted mine:Because of the deal with Microsoft, is there any chance that Mass Effect might come to PC under DX10? Or will that depend on EA now?
Simple, yet the only thing I'm really concerned about...Thanks for the heads up on the "ask Ray and Greg a question" thread on the BioBoards. I posted one of my own. :D

As far as Mass Effect making it to PC goes, I know that option isn't even available to BioWare until the exclusive period for Mass Effect is over. Microsoft paid BioWare a good chunk of change to make Mass Effect an Xbox 360 exclusive and BioWare is contractually restricted from releasing Mass Effect on any other platform, including PC, for a specified length of time. I just don't know how long the exclusive period is but my guess is at least a year. And since this is an already executed contract this will not be impacted at all by the EA acquisition. I do tend to think EA will be more supportive of multi-platform title support going forward.

Rogue Nine
10-18-2007, 09:32 AM
I think I must be the only person on the planet (or at least this board) that doesn't really care about this whole thing. All the EA games I play (The Sims 2, Command & Conquer series, most EA Sports titles) work just fine for me. And if BioWare is going to be allowed to retain their autonomy for the most part, I fail to see why EA taking over is a bad thing.

deathdisco
10-18-2007, 09:38 AM
Drew K's 2 cents (http://blogs.starwars.com/DrewK/11)
Damn. I just got back from Vegas last week and all I can say is "sweet mother of Jabba"!

In case you hadn't heard: the company I work for, video game developer BioWare - makers of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - has been bought out by mega-corp Electronic Arts.

But before everyone starts freaking out, let's keep things in perspective. There's a lot of speculation out there, and I'll admit EA doesn't have the greatest reputation among gamers. But some of that comes from just being the biggest kid on the playground; everyone hates Microsoft and everyone hates EA. It's like a badge of honor to bash them... but then most people still buy their stuff anyway.

Also, and this is critical, it's important to remember that this is a new regime at EA. (Regime? Is that the right word? Close enough.) The man in charge of EA now is John Riccitiello, and he's actually worked with BioWare before in his role with Elevation partners. I was in meetings about Mass Effect with him, and this guy knows games. And I know for a fact he actually cares about quality in games. So before everyone starts crying about the death of BioWare, let's give John (Mr. Riccitiello?) a chance to walk the walk and see what happens. Personally, I think it'll be pretty much business as usual for us down in the trenches, but with a bigger stick to swing around when we need to make an impact in the marketplace. (Did that make sense? Whatever... it's late.)

Char Ell
10-18-2007, 10:21 AM
And if BioWare is going to be allowed to retain their autonomy for the most part, I fail to see why EA taking over is a bad thing.(emphasis mine)

That is the key issue for me, will BioWare have enough autonomy to be able to tell their soon-to-be parent company that they need more time on a game and EA won't tell them "too bad, we're releasing it anyway?" It seems like that won't be a concern in the short term. We'll just have to wait and see how this works out in the long term.

Negative Sun
10-18-2007, 10:39 AM
Think of what LA did to KotOR 2, sure it's still a great game, but horribly rushed as we all know, a little longer in production and it would have been even better than it is now...BioWare might still develop some great games, but if they are being put under more pressure from deadlines from EA I doubt their quality can remain up to the standard it is now, especially if you keep in mind that BioWare is a developer that likes to take its time with titles, whereas EA just wants titles in time for Xmas or the new football season or whatever.

Thanks for the heads up on the "ask Ray and Greg a question" thread on the BioBoards. I posted one of my own. :D
NP, I noticed it over in the Jade Empire forums at BioWare and I thought I'd share cause obviously a lot of people have a lot of questions for BioWare right now...

RyuuKage
10-22-2007, 04:13 PM
Think of what LA did to KotOR 2, sure it's still a great game, but horribly rushed as we all know, a little longer in production and it would have been even better than it is now...BioWare might still develop some great games, but if they are being put under more pressure from deadlines from EA I doubt their quality can remain up to the standard it is now, especially if you keep in mind that BioWare is a developer that likes to take its time with titles, whereas EA just wants titles in time for Xmas or the new football season or whatever.

Agreed. EA is not a good publisher, and i doubt they'd allow even a company as great as BioWare the necessary development time to continue their slew of good games. EA wants money, wants it fast, and doesn't care about maintaining a consistent customer base outside of Madden gamers. LA hasn't been much better in recent years, but i see them improving their strategy with Force Unleashed, which they've been spending several years on already. Good signs. Hopefully LA would have more influence than EA over a BioWare-made KotOR game.

Negative Sun
10-22-2007, 04:28 PM
LA would will have more influence than EA over a BioWare-made KotOR game.
Fixed ;)

It's a fact, EA has no leverage whatsoever besides maybe BioWare's Oddysey engine now, but they're far from having an exclusive Star Wars franchise on their hands...

Darth InSidious
10-23-2007, 10:09 AM
...Evidently, I am the only one who thinks that SykoRevan's described methods are classless and just slightly moronic.

Clearly assassination of key members of Bioware's ruling élite at the next E3 is the way to go.

Corinthian
10-23-2007, 10:52 AM
Not really, Insidious. I thought they were fairly immature, too. And, to be honest, I've got my doubts he actually did what he claims.

ChAiNz.2da
10-25-2007, 06:18 AM
* ChAiNz.2da dies *

So does this mean we will get KotOR 2008, KotOR 2009, KotOR 2010? You know, minor to no gameplay changes, a slightly changed party roster and generic packaging? :rolleyes:

Don't do this to me BioWare... please :ball:

True_Avery
10-25-2007, 06:30 AM
Don't do this to me BioWare... please :ball:
Your tears and suffering sustain Bioware...

EA and Bioware did merge. It isn't like EA just fired everybody and moved on... although I may be ignorant to certain facts. Much of the team may still be around, just under new management. It is up to time to decide if that is good, or if that is bad.

I dunno. LA may decide to take a chance with a publisher it knows can get them a fantastic game... or they'll be stupid and find a small fry. There are chances for both, but if anything I still somewhat doubt a KOTOR III would have been made even if Bioware wasn't bought out. The rumored MMO does not count.

lukeiamyourdad
10-25-2007, 11:46 AM
Your tears and suffering sustain Bioware...

EA and Bioware did merge. It isn't like EA just fired everybody and moved on... although I may be ignorant to certain facts. Much of the team may still be around, just under new management. It is up to time to decide if that is good, or if that is bad.

I dunno. LA may decide to take a chance with a publisher it knows can get them a fantastic game... or they'll be stupid and find a small fry. There are chances for both, but if anything I still somewhat doubt a KOTOR III would have been made even if Bioware wasn't bought out. The rumored MMO does not count.


They can't fire everyone and move on. Or else, what's the point?


Someone pointed this out already, LucasArts owns the KotOR franchise, EA can't touch it.

Same about the rumored MMO, it's a bit stupid now since EA is the one that's supposed to publish everything Bioware makes (you know, because they own it). Bioware making a Star Wars game? I highly doubt it. Hey, why would LucasArts want to see money pour into a rival's pockets?

Rogue Nine
10-25-2007, 11:58 AM
...Evidently, I am the only one who thinks that SykoRevan's described methods are classless and just slightly moronic.
Nope, you're not. :3

Sabretooth
10-25-2007, 12:38 PM
So does this mean we will get KotOR 2008, KotOR 2009, KotOR 2010? You know, minor to no gameplay changes, a slightly changed party roster and generic packaging? :rolleyes:

Let us not forget the highly enhanced, ultra-realistic graphics and cutting-edge gaming technology. Also, let us anticipate KotOR: Street and ports to every console imaginable, including handhelds and *gasp* mobiles.

Negative Sun
10-25-2007, 05:40 PM
Same about the rumored MMO, it's a bit stupid now since EA is the one that's supposed to publish everything Bioware makes (you know, because they own it). Bioware making a Star Wars game? I highly doubt it. Hey, why would LucasArts want to see money pour into a rival's pockets?
Unless they struck a deal with LA before the EA takeover, which is more than likely if it's at all true and which would leave EA out just like it leaves them out with Mass Effect just now as it's Microsoft's release just now, and not EA's :)

lukeiamyourdad
10-25-2007, 06:27 PM
Could be, but still, it might be different since Mass Effect is so close to release as opposed to any Star Wars MMO. It's possible LA could pull out.

Anyway, I just prefer to live with the idea that a KOTOR MMO will not be made before K3.

Negative Sun
10-25-2007, 06:36 PM
Anyway, I just prefer to live with the idea that a KOTOR MMO will not be made before K3.
Same here, like I said before, after the Galaxies fiasco I hope LA is smart enough to stay away from Star Wars MMOs for now, especially ones set in the KotOR era...But all of LucasFilm and LucasArts efforts seem to be in the upcoming "bridge the gap between EpIII and IV" media (Live Action series, FU, etc.), so I doubt they're gonna throw anything set in the Old Republic era in that, unfortunately :(

Char Ell
10-26-2007, 11:48 PM
And now Bethesda's parent company is getting USD$300 million from a private equity firm in exchange for preferred stock. <link> (http://www.gamespot.com/news/6181767.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=newstop&tag=newstop;title;7)

So it seems the gaming industry has more than just BioWare, Pandemic Studios, and EA shaking things up. ;) Question is whether or not this is becoming a trend.

Marius Fett
12-01-2007, 11:22 AM
Osbidian are ok as long as they dont cut half the game....