BioWare boss Ray Muzyka has spoken about last week's re-organisation of his own studios and Warhammer Online developer Mythic into a single EA group under his leadership. He stressed that, for now, there would be no formal change to the way each studio works or the projects it's working on.
"Structurally, each of the organizations remains intact," he told Gamasutra. "They're working on the same projects they were working on before, I just have another studio that reports into me. It's not that BioWare or Mythic is changing; they're retaining their brands, their unique cultural identities, their projects they are working on."
The point, he said, was for the studios to communicate more and share their expertise. "It's a collaboration opportunity. Each of the groups continues to make the same thing in their [own locations]. But it's fuelling and enabling more communication, collaboration, best practice sharing, encouraging each other to play each others' games - but no formal change per se in what anybody's doing."
Muzyka said that there was no sharing of tech or plans for co-development of projects yet, but these things would be possible in the future. "We're already looking at it. A variety of studios across EA tech share, for example... In the future there could be co-development. There's nothing actively planned there right now, but I know the guys at Mythic, and in [BioWare studios] Edmonton, Austin, and Montreal are all really excited about this."
Challenged that Mythic is being overshadowed now - with the departure of founder Mark Jacobs, and Muzyka and BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk taking the lead in the new group - Muzyka stated firmly that one studio's identity would not supercede the other's.
"My new role is the group general manager of the RPG/MMO Group, and that's the name I wanted to have for it," he said. "It's not called BioWare, it's not called Mythic; it's called the RPG/MMO Group.
"The outward brands that are still very much the consumer-facing identities, the cultural identities, are Mythic and BioWare, and I'm really proud of those two brands. They're storied brands, they're award-winning studios. Very much they're going to be partner studios. There are three BioWare studios already - Edmonton, Austin, and Montreal - and one Mythic studio, but Mythic is very much a strong identity and voice and brand and group. I'm really happy with that. That's the way I want it, that's the way they want it."
He added, "This is the first example within the [EA Games] label of a genre-focused group being formed, which I think is awesome."
Mythic currently runs three MMOs for EA: Warhammer Online, Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online. BioWare is releasing Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 this year, and has its own MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, in development.