BioWare Interview

Forbes has published a brief interview with the BioWare doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, and while it primarily focuses on the Mass Effect series, their personal RPG-playing histories are also covered toward the end.  A generous quote:
Bioware's known for making role-playing games. Why that genre?

Greg Zeschuk: I think some dimension of what we do and why we do it is related to our experience as gamers. As younger gamers growing up, for whatever reason, we really identified with role-playing games, and played a lot of them. I just personally thought that was always the strongest experience.

The other dimension of it was the element of story and narrative. Most of the reason different media forms exist is to create different ways of telling stories. We're always telling stories. it's central to our learning and our culture.

What were you playing, computer role-playing games, or tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons?

Ray Muzyka: I got into video games and PC games pretty quickly, but I did play D&D a little bit. I read through some of the other roleplaying systems, too. I found it really interesting to read. I always had this fascination with the source books, I'd just kind of open up the Dungeon Master's Guide, read through and think about scenarios.

Greg Zeschuk: It's interesting, because some folks just don't have a sense of imagination. I mean, one way we describe why we are no longer doctors, kind of a joke, is that there's no creative doctors.

Ray Muzyka: We don't like doctors applying creative solutions that aren't tested.

Greg Zeschuk: I think there's imagination in research, certainly, and that's where some of those folks go. But in gaming, everyone here who works with games has to have some degree of obsession with imagining things. I think that was sort of fueled, in our case, by all the D&D books. I mean, I still remember the pictures, and what pages they were on in that book. I'm pathological.

Which comes first? Are people who are more imaginative and interested in fantasy attracted to role-playing games, or do role-playing games bring out those qualities in their players?

Ray Muzyka: It could be either. Now people of all ages are playing video games. Back when we were growing up, at 9 or 10, I remember I was one of the few kids in school that was using an Apple 2. I loved it. I was programming, and I was learning basic assembly, and playing cassette tape adventures. I was fascinated with that.

Greg Zeschuk: I actually spent an entire beautiful summer with a bunch of friends, like making our own little games on our Apples. I didn't go outside at all. My parents were livid. They're like, '˜Get outside, it's beautiful!' No, we're working. We're 10 or 11 years old, and that was more fun than running around outside.