Once upon a time, Bioware was a hugely beloved studio that could do no wrong, and which was delivering one fantastic, critically acclaimed hit upon another. Baldur’s Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins, and Mass Effect 2, were just among the many hugely beloved games the studio made in its heyday.
Today’s Bioware is very different—it chases trends instead of setting them, its games are divisive and rarely please fans like they used to back in the day, and with their upcoming game, Anthem, it seems the studio has shed off all remnants of its classic cRPG heritage.
A lot of these changes are blamed on EA’s acquisition of Bioware—fans believe Bioware would never have lost its soul like it did had EA not bought the studio out. But veterans from within Bioware tell an entirely different story. Speaking at Havencon, current and former Bioware employees, including Dragon Age lead writer Patrick Weekes, Bioware’s lead editor Karin Weekes, and David Gaider, ex-lead writer of the Dragon Age series, all claimed that had EA not acquired Bioware, the studio would have been forced to close down.
At that point, Bioware had apparently run out of money—and it was neither this acquisition, or a winding down of operations. All three maintained that EA has a very hands off approach with Bioware regardless.
I suppose, then, that the truth is uglier than the fiction in this case—Bioware didn’t lose its soul because of EA. It chose to forsake all that had made it special of its own accord.