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EA/BioWare Deal Finalized, Nets EA Ten Franchises 79

Posted by Zonk
from the bully-for-them dept.
Gamasutra notes that the announced deal, where Electronic Arts was to purchase BioWare/Pandemic, has now been formalized. This arrangement will fold ten new franchises into the EA family, from the just-released Mass Effect all the way back to BioWare's classic titles. "EA Games president Frank Gibeau will oversee both studios within his organization, and BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have each been named as vice presidents of EA and co-general managers of BioWare. Similarly, Pandemic's Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick have each been named vice presidents of EA and co-general managers of Pandemic, while Greg Borrud has been named vice president of EA and chief production officer of Pandemic Studios. "
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EA/BioWare Deal Finalized, Nets EA Ten Franchises

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  • Following this announcement, all BioWare and Pandemic developers were ordered to repor t to headquarters for a 10 digit tattoo on their arms and re-EAification [livejournal.com]. Prepare to learn how to saturate the market with your titles differing by only one digit!

    Christ, for a moment there I thought EA's Battlefield, Medal of Honor & Crysis games were going to have to step it up a notch to compete with these new ... oh wait, nevermind, competition's been purchased. Whew! That was close. Ok, everybody resume average game ideas, and above all nothing risky or extraordinary! Remember, your ideas have to be approved through like seventy levels of command so don't even start with any out of the ordinary stuff we aren't sure will be an instant mediocre game netting us an average profit.

    WoW, I can't wait for Mass Effect 2 through 5 and Mass Effect 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013. Just imagine the rosters!
    • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:39PM (#21946952) Homepage
      Click here [penny-arcade.com]
    • While I agree that the majority of EA games are fuming turds, don't touch Crysis. It's one of the best-looking and most fun games I have played in a long while.

      Apparently Crytek has been getting real nice treatment from EA, it is good to see that they are giving the developer's they own some bit of freedom now. Hopefully this will continue with BioWare.

      But... I don't know, considering how well Crysis sold, we'll have to wait and see what they allow BioWare.

      • This has spoilers, so don't read further if you're still playing the game. It's also opinion so feel free to disagree ;).

        Crysis was pretty and the physics were awesome, but I'm not sure if I'd describe it as "fun". The only thing that stopped me from quitting was the fact that I paid for it. Oddly enough everyone despises the alien plot theme, however that was the *only* saving grace for me. Running around the jungle got old. From the helicopter pulled directly from Half-Life that could find you if you wer
    • "We are throwing a party in honor of your tremendous success. Place your keyboards on the ground, then lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. A party associate will arrive shortly to collect you for your party. Make no further attempt to innovate. Assume the 'Party Escort Submission Position' or you will miss the party."
    • "Gentlemen, you can't have a small worry in here! This is the Crysis room!"
  • by Boogaroo (604901) on Monday January 07, 2008 @04:26PM (#21946082) Homepage
    It was as if millions of gamers cried out and were silenced.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nick_davison (217681)

      It was as if millions of gamers cried out and were silenced.
      You're new to this internet thing, aren't you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2008 @04:29PM (#21946148)
    Bungie - Was so unhappy working with Microsoft they forced them to let the company become independent and work on any platform they want
    Bizarre - Ended their exclusive Xbox development when they went off to Activision
    Bioware - Ended their exclusive Xbox development when they went off to EA

    That pretty much just leaves Lionhead and Rare as Microsoft's first party Xbox developers. Rare has been a disaster for the money Microsoft paid to acquire the developer. Lionhead has been 'meh'. A decent developer that talks too much about grand plans that continually disappoint in their actual product.

    With these rumors of Microsoft looking to license the Xbox to third party manufacturers you have to wonder if Microsoft is ready to turn their focus away from console hardware and back to Windows gaming.

    • But Duke Nukem Forever is being reworked exclusively for X-Box!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's even worse than just those three. Mistwalker has turned out to be a disaster with the failures of Blue Dragon and Lost Oddessey. And Epic has sounded very, very pissed off at Microsoft and their online service forcing them to spend six months to a year rewriting UT. Rockstar has tried to hide their frustration and anger at being forced to fit their giant city sized game onto the 360's tiny and smaller than last gen's 7.1GB DVD disks and no standard harddrive.

      With the sudden and rapid death of HD-DVD th
      • by JebusIsLord (566856) on Monday January 07, 2008 @06:21PM (#21947430) Homepage
        I dunno... having bought all these game companies in order to build up the 360's installed base, and having succeeded, doesn't it make sense now to sell them off and recoup their costs? They'll still make games for the 360... 3rd parties go to where the gamers are. The PS3 is barely a threat at this juncture, and Wii isn't raking it in for 3rd parties either.

        MS way very agressive early on in aquiring these companies, and it has paid off. Sony would do well to follow their example.
      • I still have no idea why Microsoft decided to sell a HD-less console, and continue to force developers to not make HD-only games. It seems like most people who bought the core system, did so with the intent of buying an HD later, well now is later, so go get one. The Xbox 360 Core system was a regression from the original xbox in terms of storage, and the only reason they did it was to pinch pennies out of people who would otherwise not buy one.
    • by Vexor (947598)
      Don't forget that Microsoft has their own games division. I wouldn't expect their in-house development to be trotting off to EA's payroll.
    • Whilst the 360 is in second place to the Wii, it's still 1st place in terms of software sales by quite a decent margin. That means that no matter what the 1st party support it's still getting a hell of a lot of development attention because it's the console software developers can currently make the most money from.

      Seeing as Nintendo and Sony have much greater 1st party software support yet lower software sales for their consoles (despite in the case of Nintendo having a higher userbase) I fail to understan
  • Come on EA, dip into that huge bank account you have and fully fund Baldur's Gate III!
    • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Monday January 07, 2008 @04:53PM (#21946450) Homepage

      Come on EA, dip into that huge bank account you have and fully fund Baldur's Gate III!
      You mean Baldur's Gate 2009 (to be released Autumn 2008). Or as it's known internally 'BG2 with facial expressions'. And I've heard rumours of plans for a followup, known only by it's secret codename 'BG2 with facial expressions and realistic grass effects'

      And of course there'll be no more text feedback to read in battles, it'll all be provided by commentary from Andy Gray and Martin Tyler (Americans can insert whoever commentates on whatever games EA whores over there).
  • by Darth (29071) on Monday January 07, 2008 @04:34PM (#21946240) Homepage
    Bioware announced their next game, expected to be released in early 2010, Madden Effect 2k10.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hitman Hart (1018296)
      No, it would be Madden Effect 2010. 2K studios uses the "2KX" formula.
      • by Sciros (986030)
        You're just assuming EA won't have purchased 2K Studios by 2010. Silly you.
        • They wouldn't use their former competitor's naming conventions, I don't think. Madden hasn't become ESPN Madden or anything like that.
  • by 40ozFreak (823002) on Monday January 07, 2008 @05:27PM (#21946838)
    And baby Jesus wept.

    That EA is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch titles in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me. They did it with Madden as well by scooping up the NFL license just as Visual Concepts' ESPN NFL 2k series was starting to show signs of seriously competing with Madden. They can't be allowed to continue doing this. Why would BioWare want this for themselves? Doesn't anyone inside gaming feel that EA needs less help than anyone? Stay independent! Fight the urge to conglomerate!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blahplusplus (757119)
      "That EA is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch titles in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me"

      I wish people would stop bashing EA, the fact is many of their games are pretty good, even with some bumpy patches here and there (battlefield), The sims series, simcity, Need for speed (almost every god damn one has been and fairly well made). There's other crap for sure, but the fact is you don't get to be top dog if you totally blow. Fact is, EA
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Endo13 (1000782)
        EA is good at marketing, yes. But then so is McDonalds. And despite their insane popularity, there's very few restaurants out there that don't serve better food than McDonalds.

        Out of the dozens of "games" EA has released in the last 5 years, I can count on one hand the ones that were both fun to play and not complete bug-ridden crap. The same cannot be said about the number of stellar franchises they've purchased and subsequently trashed in the same time period. There's reasons people bash EA. Lots of reaso
        • "EA is good at marketing, yes. But then so is McDonalds. And despite their insane popularity, there's very few restaurants out there that don't serve better food than McDonalds."

          You keep forgetting though that people care more about the taste then anything else, people go to Mc Donalds and eat their food for the taste. McDonalds has got it's chemical engineering of its food down to a science, unlike 99% of other restaurants. They are quite capitalistic and scientific in their methods, they are an exemplar
          • by 40ozFreak (823002)
            I can totally respect your defense of their business practices, but I can't fight the feeling that these sales numbers are often a reflection of quantity and hype rather than quality. If you own enough franchises, if you buy out enough competitors, and if you throw enough games out there, you're bound to have some gems.

            Sales numbers and units sold are not always a reflection of the quality of a game but rather the advertising machine that pushed it. With that said, we all know that EA has the funding and

      • by Flakeloaf (321975)
        "That Creative is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch sound cards in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me"

        I wish people would stop bashing Creative, the fact is many of their cards are pretty good, even with some bumpy patches here and there (Live 5.1 under XP), The AWE series, extigy, speakers (almost every god damn set has been and fairly well made). There's other crap for sure, but the fact is you don't get to be top dog if you totally blow.
        • by corsec67 (627446)

          "That Microsoft is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch software in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me"

          I wish people would stop bashing Microsoft, the fact is many of their products are pretty good, even with some bumpy patches here and there (ME), The XP series, XBox, mice (almost every god damn one has been and fairly well made), and keyboards. There's other crap for sure, but the fact is you don't get to be top dog if you totally blow. Fact
      • No, many of their games are crap (or, at least, games I can't stand, which is different, I grant you). EA produces good games, they just happen to be few and far between compared to the masses of mediocre/bad games they put out.

        Also, I'm still pissed off that they bought the NFL license. God forbid we have a level playing field here... your competition makes a better game than you, so take away their ability to make it! Good game, EA (and NFL). Good fucking game.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      Why would BioWare want this for themselves? Doesn't anyone inside gaming feel that EA needs less help than anyone? Stay independent! Fight the urge to conglomerate!

      Sorry, Bioware can't hear your earnest plea over the clinking noise of the bag full of gold coins the EA rep is shaking in front of them.
    • They did it with Madden as well by scooping up the NFL license just as Visual Concepts' ESPN NFL 2k series was starting to show signs of seriously competing with Madden.

      You can blame the NFL for that one, since the prefer to exclusively license everything. EA had no choice but to buy the rights, if they wanted to continue publishing Madden with NFL teams.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LrdDimwit (1133419)
      Perhaps because EA's new CEO [wikipedia.org] used to be involved with these guys [wikipedia.org] who were already running Bioware? He pretty much went EA top manager -> Elevation Partners (owning Bioware) -> running EA.

      So I dunno if I'd call that smart, but that could certainly be one reason. Bioware knows firsthand the guy now running EA. Does that mean EA will magically turn awesome? I think EA's problems will continue as long as they think they'll get good work out of slavedriven employees. But it also means Bioware has per
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pokerdad (1124121)

      Why would BioWare want this for themselves?

      The short answer - $

      The long answer - Bioware was founded by three doctors who wanted to develop medical software. Along the way their priorities got shifted and it became a gaming company; this move probably cause some strife as one of the original partners left back in 1997.

      Anyways, for all the success they've had BioWare has always been a pretty small studio, and I can't help but wonder if the thought that they could be much bigger and even that much more successful is what led to them "joining for

  • by j33pn (1049772)
    Does this mean that all of Bioware's titles are going to play like XBOX games ported to the PC, like all of the C&C games now? I'm sure it does.
  • I predict this aquisition will go just as well for them as it did when EA bought out Origin, Bullfrog and Westwood studios!
    • by Synic (14430)
      That's a horrible thing to say, you bastard.

      I don't want all the people to leave the companies and go form new ones that put out overhyped and underwhelming titles years late.
  • One thing I've heard rumours of, is that they're actually illing to pay a little more to keep the talent that bioware brings to the table. rather than just buying the company out, letting the people go and replacing them with less-talented kids fresh out of school. We'll see how long that lasts, I hope the good Doctors got some good money for it. I'm looking at you Muzyka.
    • It's already started - EA don't need to fire the talent, they just need to make them Vice Presidents and give them a hefty payrise.
  • by syn1kk (1082305) on Monday January 07, 2008 @10:22PM (#21949326)
    Example 1 - Dungeon Keeper series by Bullfrog:
    "Bullfrog had decided not to do any other RTS of any kind. This decision was in effect the end of Bullfrog as a brand; the company had already been owned by EA for several years, and EA laid off some employees and put the remainder onto other projects such as the Harry Potter line."

    "2004 met the final end of Bullfrog when Electronic Arts combined their side studios into EA UK."

    Lord British - talking about how EA is a ONE TRICK PONY:
    "Richard Garriott: The short explanation was, as they say, fundamental creative differences. If you've seen any of the Ultimas, you know they contain very large virtual worlds, deep story lines and they took me each years to develop. But EA's core business is making sports games, and they've got a machine and a process that does that very, very successfully. Frankly, EA wasn't convinced that the MMOG business model was the way of the future and so that ultimately led to my retirement from EA. In fact, when I left in 2000, I fully anticipated that if EA wasn't interested in MMOGs, that Microsoft or some other big company would dive into this bold new world that we'd opened up and then dominate the market segment. After a year of retirement -- and with no one approaching us -- my brother Robert and I decided to put together a company to create MMOGs that we briefly called Destination Games. "
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by syn1kk (1082305)
      Example 3 - Origin Studios:
      "In 1997, they released one of the earliest and most successful graphical MMORPGs, Ultima Online. After this title, Electronic Arts decided that Origin would become an online-only company after the completion of Ultima IX in 1999. However, within a year's time, EA canceled all of Origin's new development projects, including Ultima Online 2, Privateer Online, and Harry Potter Online. Richard Garriott left Origin shortly after and founded Destination Games in 2000."

      Example 4 - Westw
  • What about that game. WHAT? I'm a Sonic fan.

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