BioWare co-founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, creators of massively popular gaming franchises such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Baldur's Gate, have announced that they are to leave the games developing powerhouse, and the games industry altogether, to pursue new interests.
For Greg Zeschuk, those ventures include beer. In a professional capacity of course:
"After my departure I'm going to be spending significant time with family and friends, as well as pursuing some personal passion-driven projects related to craft beer," said Zeschuk on the company blog.
"The main project I will be working on is a web-based interview show called The Beer Diaries where I interview notable brewers and showcase their beers. If things go well, I'll work on other beer-related shows, apps and projects. If not, I'll have drunk a lot of tasty beers and may be back in games or even something else completely different."
"I'm not going to be working in games for a while, and there's a strong possibility that I won't be back."
However, there's no bad blood with his colleagues, with Zeschuk adding: "For the people I have had the privilege of working with, however, my passion burns as brightly as it did the day we started."
Despite suggestion that Zeschuk and Muzyka, industry stalwarts of 20 years, have quit the company following increased pressure after 2007's EA buyout, Zeschuk has only kid words for EA on his departure:
"Working with John Riccitiello, Frank Gibeau, Peter Moore and the rest of the EA team was a great experience and their support was essential in us being able to achieve our creative goals with Dragon Age, Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic."
The core reason for Zeschuk's departure seems more innocent; he's simply burnt out after two decades in the industry:
"After nearly twenty years working at BioWare I've decided it's time to move on and pursue something new... I've reached an unexpected point in my life where I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation."
Muzyka shared similar feelings:
"I've largely personally achieved what I wanted in videogames; I now desire to take on a brand new entrepreneurial challenge," he said on the BioWare blog.
"I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next 'chapter' will likely focus on an entirely new industry, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary - investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing.
"I'll also be spending time getting involved with more charities in education, health care, and animal rights, areas where my wife and I've typically focused our charitable donations in the past. I am also spending more time learning about the work being done to defend human rights and civil liberty across the world. Net, I am passionate about both entrepreneurship and social liberty, and I want to find a way to pursue both of them."
Muzyka, perhaps more so than Zeschuk, has remained more positive about the games industry than his colleague:
"I remain passionate about video games - they'll definitely remain one of my favorite hobbies. Frankly, I'm quite excited by the thought of being able to play the next generation of BioWare games purely as a fan.
"I will definitely miss this industry and my teams, but I also look forward to and am incredibly excited by the new challenges in the next chapter of my career."
In the wake of the duo's departure, BioWare have announced a host of future projects, including new Mass Effect 3 DLC, and a brand new IP. BioWare have also announced Dragon Age 3: Inquisition, set for release in late 2013.