FiringSquad: BioWare has rocketed to the top from the beginning, without a hitch it seems. No game of yours has been even close to a critical disappointment, and MDK2 is the only one that didn't sell as well as expected. Generally speaking, what would you attribute this success to?
Ray Muzyka: Definitely the success is attributable to the smarts and hard work of our creative, passionate group of employees, now over 175 strong as of February 2004.
Greg Zeschuk: We’re very fortunate to have some of the best game developers in the world working at BioWare. The opportunity to work with the amazing people at BioWare is very exciting for us – Ray and I really relish the chance to help build both a great company environment and great games.
FiringSquad: Being located in Edmonton, despite initial impressions, actually seems like a boon. Although you may not have as much local talent as in California, you also don't have the competition or the inflated wages due to extreme living costs. In fact, Edmonton might just be the most economical place in the world to do business, without losing standard of living, and will help keep BioWare competitive against competition from eastern Europe. Would you agree with this assessment or have anything to add?
Ray Muzyka: Edmonton and Alberta’s economies have been booming over the past decade so the cost of living has definitely gone up a fair amount recently, but it’s still a great place to live and we’re very happy here. Taxes are low, the universal health care and government sponsored educational systems are appealing to families, and we have some world-class educational institutions here as well. We’re able to attract and retain great staff from all over the world.
FiringSquad: Despite the advantages of living and working from Edmonton, do you worry about employee emigration to American companies - for the California climate and pay?
Greg Zeschuk: Our two core values are quality in our products and quality in our workplace. We try our best make the best video games in the world, each one better than the last, and also try very hard to make a great place for our talented staff to work, so that they feel like they can make a career at BioWare. They’ve been very loyal (we had no one leave during the entire year of 2003) and our turnover rate over the past ten years is only about 3 percent per year, annualized.