From top of the rock to mainstream
BioWare was considered as one of the most reliable and successful gaming companies and one of the best in the business. The company produced ground-breaking RPG games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and had shown everyone how to create vast and rich worlds full of new stories and tales. However, we can hardly say these things for the latest products of the company. In this article, we are going to underline the turning points of BioWare and examine the reasons of the fall of the company.
Electronic Arts was the first one to blame for the decline of BioWare. But it was only the tip of the iceberg. BioWare were already going down and decreasing the quality of products they were making. EA bought BioWare in 2007, just before the release of the first Mass Effect game. Mass Effect were keeping the legacy of BioWare and presented an amazing experience for gamers with its exciting universe, memorable characters and good story. However hardcore RPG features were kind of hard for casual gamers and BioWare decided to trim this element from the next games, and this policy were going to decide BioWare’s fate and current situation.
BioWare became a recognized and blockbuster studio which were ready to deliver more Triple-A games after this success. Dragon Age, the game they delivered after Mass Effect, set the limits high and loved by almost every RPG fan with its Dungeons & Dragons-like story-telling and successful plot. The following games developed by BioWare, such as Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2, started to be more action-based and focused on shooting and slashing features rather than hardcore RPG elements. The ability tree of the first Dragon Age was gone and the new game was closer to action genre. Star Wars: The Old Republic did not work out so well neither. The game tried to get advantage from the trend which World of Warcraft created and add Star Wars story to satisfy MMORPG fans, but it was not good enough to make a breakthrough like WoW and slowly disappeared in the vast gaming market.
While trying to produce successful and high-selling Triple-A games, BioWare was losing its own soul and critical RPG features that fascinated everyone. New games were good, but something was missing in them and long-term BioWare fans could sense it. At this point the company released Dragon Age: Inquisition and drew attention again with a new blockbuster hit. The game was a nice improvement from the previous of the series and it was promising some changes for the future of BioWare.
However, things did not go so well again with Mass Effect: Andromeda and company officially reached the rock bottom with this game. It was dull, full of bugs and hardly a BioWare game in the first hand. So, this slap shook the developers of the company, even their proposal for a new Knights of the Old Republic game was declined by EA. This flop was the last thing they needed. Plus, the Anthem fiasco, just added another problem on the list.
Of course, some departures from the company affected this situation too. Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, the founders of BioWare, decided to spend less time with game developments. Authors David Gaider and Mike Laidlaw left the crew after Dragon Inquisition, and Casey Hudson, the director of Mass Effect 3, departed and came back after a while. The old BioWare perspective of RPG games were just good memories after the latest failures and developer departures.
At this point what lies next for BioWare? Maybe the company needs a refreshing mindset, mixture of its old legacy and new original ideas, and should reset & refocus. It still has amazing and promising series like Mass Effect, KotoR and Dragon Age and with this potential, its not impossible to make things right again. Many RPG fans are still waiting another RPG classic and believing in BioWare to make it happen.