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BioWare Interview

Interview: CEO Ray Muzyka talks Mass Effect PC

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Muzyka: I think it's a really great time for the industry in terms of there's a lot of choices and there's a lot of great content. I always think first and foremost it's the content that drives the platform's success.

I think the Xbox 360's had an amazing run and there's still lots of great stuff on the horizon for it so I think it's going to continue to do well.

I think PC games have a lot of great content. There are MMOs, there's downloadable content, there's all different kinds of revenue models available on PC as well, and that's exciting.

Wii's obviously done well, amazing penetration, lots of people playing the system; and new types of games too, so they're bringing in new kinds of consumers too and I think it is great for the industry.

And I play my PS3 a lot and I'm looking forward to a lot of titles this year. If anything I think it's poised to have one of the best years ever.

And the fact that there are alternatives - and handheld games as well, DS, PSP and mobile games, you could go on and on. There are so many choices. I don't think that's a bad thing at all, I think it's good that consumers have a choice now that videogames are becoming one of the most prevalent forms of entertainment.

It's definitely not the underground scene for spotty geeks it once was...

Muzyka: It's no longer like it was 30 years ago, videogames aren't like Pong - they're a much richer experience. Mass Effect is an example of that.

It's equally satisfying to play a game like Mass Effect than it is to see the best Hollywood blockbuster. That's an exciting thing.

Videogames have always been my hobby and I'm passionate about them and I think the fact that more and more people are playing them. The industry is just maturing and I think its best years are still ahead of it.

How do you think the new mainstream explosion, particularly on Wii, will evolve the industry?

Muzyka: I think Wii has expanded the definition of gaming, and I think that's really good. Games continue to evolve over time, just as we're not making the same games now as we were 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago. We're making new kinds of games now and that'll continue to change over time.

The Wii has actually broadened our definition - it's brought in new consumers, right? And you can't argue with the fact they're playing, they're actually using the Wii and the DS and other systems that are actually a little different from conventional types of gaming systems.

It doesn't mean conventional types of gaming systems are going away, they have millions and millions and millions of units out there. What we do is we really think about who our consumers are and try and make content that they're going to find really fun.

Sonic Chronicles on DS is certainly a step outside of the usual high-end Bioware production...

Muzyka: It's still recognisable as a BioWare game. It's got story and characters, using the Sonic universe, but it's really designed for DS, a younger audience.

As a result it's going to appeal to all ages but it's also going to be appropriate for younger people and as a result it's going to play differently. But that's really just being aware of who your audience is and Wii is not different. Different kinds of people bought the system; they deserve to get the kind of content that they want.

How's Sonic coming along then?working out for you? We normally associate you guys with working on the high-end kind of stuff?

Muzyka: It's really fun. I'm a huge fan of Sonic. My Genesis has been signed by Yuji Naka. I've had it for years and years - it wasn't because of this deal, it's like way before that. Sonic is one of my favourite games on the Genesis.

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