EA snaps up BioWare and Pandemic Studios

  • Posted October 12th, 2007 at 14:27 EDT by

EA Empire grows ever larger, with the assimilation of BioWare and Pandemic into their collective.

In a press release sent to PSU Towers, EA gave detailed reasons for the buy out of VG Holding Corp., the company that owns both BioWare and Pandemic. In it, they praised both companies for being 'market leaders' in their fields of RPG and Action/Adventure games respectively, and said how “this acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment”. As if EA really needs more of a monopoly.

But EA weren't wrong; BioWare and Pandemic make superb video games. BioWare are famous for the original Star Wars: Knight if the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights, two highly acclaimed games that helped cement their position as awesome RPG makers. They're currently putting the finishing touches to Mass Effect, their highly anticipated 360 RPG.

Pandemic are nothing to be snorted at either. With games like Full Specturm Warrior, Mercenaries and the Star Wars: Battlefront series under their belts, they seem to know what they're doing.

In the press release, John Riccitiello, CEO of EA, had this to say: (Caution: Excessive use of buzzwords) "These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties...we also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

In an interview with GameSpot, legendary BioWare owners Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeshcuk gave their views on how the purchase affects them, which you can read here. There are key points in the interview to note. Mainly, BioWare do not plan for EA to come in and change the way they do things, and the guys are very excited about the extra resources, which are now accessible, be it for marketing or developing.

It seems the guys at BioWare have been in talks with EA for some time, and have really good opinions of the Big Wigs over in the Redmond EA Fortress. Apparently, Mr Riccitiello is very excited about an MMO BioWare have in the works, and in a conference call over it he could barely contain his excitement. No details of said MMO have been revealed...at all, and both men did not give anything away, other than to say 'it's fun'.

Unfortunately however, it seems that Mass Effect for now is still being published by Bill Gates' Crew, and is likely that the trilogy of ME games will likely stay on the Xbox 360...at least for now anyway.

On the other side of the fence, president Josh Resnick, CEO Andrew Goldman, and chief production officer Greg Borrud of Pandemic had a chat with Gamasutra.

Again, the guys at Pandemic were very excited with the deal. When asked about how they felt when the deal was first brought to their attention, Mr Resnick said, “we were actually driving it through”. Also, they feel that being part of EA will not change the way they do things, being proud of their previous independence, and will only call upon the EA resources when needed.

This is quite a good move for EA, getting in two top class developers to develop for two of gamings most entertaining genres. Obviously there will be doubters who think they have sold out, and will never be able to work the same again, one only has to look at the controversy surrounding the two recent Command and Conquer instalments.

So the bottom line seems to be, if EA lets them do as they wish, and make the games they like to make and do it the way they've been doing it for the past few years, things will only get better for the two studios. If, on the other hand, EA start dictating time frames and business models, will this be the end of two of gamings best-loved developers?

Unfortunately, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Only when each studio has released a few EA guided games will the outcome be known.

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