Back in September 2012, BioWare announced that both co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk had decided to leave the gaming industry after working for the company for nearly 20 years. Muzyka said that he was ready to pursue the next chapter of his career: mentoring and investing in new entrepreneurs. Zeschuk, on the other hand, said he no longer had the same passion for BioWare and games as he did in the early years and wanted to pursue something new.
"I'm not going to be working in games for a while, and there's a strong possibility that I won't be back," Zeschuk said. "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.
That passion for beer pushed Zeschuk into launching The Beer Diaries, an online episodic endeavor "to help educate and promote craft beer." The site includes a number of streaming episodes and beer guides such as "Gluten-Free" and "Local Heroes." In a nutshell, The Beer Diaries provides everything beer lovers need to know about craft beer.
So what caused Zeschuk to lose his passion for gaming? In speaking to Gamespot back in 2013, Zeschuk indicated that the gaming business is "challenging" and that it can be rewarding and disappointing. Those words seemingly pointed to the controversial ending of Mass Effect 3 and the declining numbers of Star Wars: The Old Republic before the MMORPG went free-to-play.
"You just get tired of it after a while," he told GameSpot. "That is probably the easiest way for me to describe it. Sometimes you just need to change things."
Now Zeschuk has returned to the game business, but he's not back in the BioWare seat creating AAA games. Instead, Zeschuk is serving as the chairman of Vancouver-based developer Biba, which is creating augmented reality mobile games that are specifically used on playgrounds. Biba revealed a deal on Thursday that sees the studio creating apps for PlayPower playground equipment that will be compatible with Biba apps.
"Biba's mobile games designed for outdoor play are just a breath of fresh air," Zeschuk said. "PlayPower and Biba are creating a new category, an inventive way to blend our new media habits with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play. I am inspired by the category as a game designer and father."
The idea behind the new joint venture is to get kids off the couch by combining mobile apps with outdoor equipment. Developed for kids ages 3 to 9, they will see the playground equipment rendered as robot spaceships that have crashed into the Earth. With the help of a companion robot, kids are encouraged to explore and exercise while the parents retain the mobile devices and serve as referees.
"Fun and age-appropriate physical challenges are reinforced through points, high scores and badges that can be shared online and with friends," the press release stated.
While news of Zeschuk returning to the gaming industry doesn't mean that he's now creating new PC and console games, we have to wonder if he will ever travel down that road again. Zeschuk is expected to talk more about his new playground project at the 2015 Game Developers Conference in March.