BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk announced their retirement today from the company they founded in 1995. Both, who founded the company shortly after earning medical degrees, say they're leaving the video game industry as well, perhaps forever. Muzyka says he's leaving to invest his time in social impact investing, while Zeschuk plans to start up a web-based interview show about beer.
In twin goodbye letters hosted on the official BioWare website, the co-founders detailed their separate reasons for leaving the company, best known for a slew of popular role-playing games including the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series.
In his letter, Muzyka said that he's decided to move on to "pursue an entirely different set of challenges."
"This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make; after thinking about it for many months, I made the decision to retire from videogames back in early April 2012 — at that time I provided six months' notice to EA, to help enable a solid transition for my teams at BioWare," Muzyka wrote.
Zeschuk wrote that after nearly 20 years working at the studio he's 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," Zeschuk wrote.
Muzyka says his plans are to change industries entirely, moving out of the video game business, and into the business of investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs. He writes that specifically, he wants to work in the field of social/impact investing. That means he plans to get more involved with more charities in education, health care and animal rights.
"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," he wrote.
Zeschuk too plans to leave the gaming industry, at least for awhile.
"Some of you will be curious what I'll be doing next, and I can state that I'm not going to be working in games for a while, and there's a strong possibility that I won't be back," he wrote. "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. 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. Ultimately time will tell."
Both Zeschuk and Mazyka made it a point to thank their sizable team and the many developers they've worked with since forming the company in 1995. Both also thanked Electronic Arts, which acquired the company in 2007. And they thanked their many fans.
"I'm humbled by the thought that I helped played a role, however small, in the successful evolution of the videogame industry which I still love so much," Muzyka concluded. "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."
Zeschuk wrapped up his letter with a final thank you:
"And ... that's it. Normally at this point, if I was still working on Star Wars: The Old Republic, I'd finish with something pithy like: "May the Force be With You," but that doesn't really apply any more," he wrote. "All I can think of is to say thanks ... for everything."