Sep. 18, 2012 at 3:59 PM ET
The two men who created the famed game development company BioWare — the company that brought us the "Mass Effect" and "Dragon Age" games just to name a few — have announced that they are not only retiring from the company they created, but from the game business all together.
The departure of Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka — known as "the BioWare doctors" because of their medical degrees — was revealed Tuesday on the company's blog.
Zeschuk and Muzyka founded BioWare back in 1995 and went on to produce games such as "Baldur’s Gate," "Shattered Steel," "Neverwinter Nights," and "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic." The company was later purchased by Electronic Arts. And on Monday, BioWare announced that it is working on the highly anticipated "Dragon Age 3" game.
Each of the men have written letters discussing their retirement and the reasons for it.
"After nearly twenty years working at BioWare I’ve decided it’s time to move on and pursue something new. This decision isn’t without significant pain and regret, but it’s also something I know I need to do, for myself and my family. 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. For the people I have had the privilege of working with, however, my passion burns as brightly as it did the day we started."
Zeschuk says he won't be working on games for a while and may not get back into games at all. So what will he be working on?
"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," he writes. "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."
Meanwhile, Muzyka writes he too is leaving the game business.
"The decision to leave the videogame industry is hard to explain, but essentially I feel similar now to how I felt in the early days of BioWare over the decade post-medical school, while I was still practicing as an ER physician, back when I first realized that the world of video games was my next career ‘chapter’. Two wonderful decades working at BioWare and later EA was the result of that decision. It’s not often that you can truly say you were able to pursue and achieve your dream job; I know how lucky I am to be able to say that now, in my early 40s."
He goes on to explain that he will be getting involved in social impact investing and charitable work:
For me, getting involved in social impact investment stems from the simple hope of helping the world to be a better place. To that end, 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.
Zeschuk and Muzyka — as well as the company they created — are highly respected in the game industry. And as news of their retirement spread, the announcement was met with congratulations and thanks ... and some concern for the future of BioWare.
"It does take a lot of guts to look past your field and venture forth into the unknown for your passion," wrote a fan using the name Fiery Phoenix in the BioWare community forums. "I believe Ray and Greg have redefined game storytelling; they managed to prove that video games can be as powerful as other forms of media."
Meanwhile, Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of BioWare Edmonton and Montreal, tried to reassure those worried about the company's future.
"We — including Ray and Greg — think the studio is solid and the team here is ready to embark on a whole new era of games," he wrote in his own post. "Ray and Greg built BioWare to last. They’ve always known their retirement would come one day, so they developed a team of people who would ensure their standards and culture would endure. We’ll humbly carry that torch and continue learning in the process."
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti, and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.