Two of Bioware’s founders are receiving one of Canada’s top honors, the Order of Canada.
Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk were named by Julie Payette, the Governor General of Canada, to receive the prestigious award. It is designed to recognize top Canadians for their outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation.
The Governor General’s office noted that the pair are receiving the order specifically for “[their] revolutionary contributions to the video game industry as a developer and co-founder of an internationally renowned studio.”
“It was shocking,” Zeschuk told CBC News in an interview. “We just try to do great stuff and try and help people and try and work with great people and build things, and to be recognized for that is really an amazing honour.”
Overall, 103 entities will be recognized this year for their contributions to Canadian society, including three-time Olympian Beckie Scott.
Zeschuk and Muzyka, along with Trent & Brent Oster, Marcel Zeschuk, and Augustine Yip founded Bioware in 1995 in Edmonton after both Zeschuk and Muzyka graduated from medical school. They learned computer programming through their medical work and began developing software for medical study, including an acid-based physiology simulator and a gastroenterology patient simulator.
Using money from the success of their medical software, they founded Bioware. Their first title with major success was Baldur’s Gate, which sold two million copies. They were purchased by Electronic Arts in 2007 and since then have focused on developing role-playing games with memorable titles such as Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Dragon Age.
Zeschuk and Muzyka left Bioware in 2012 and retired from the video game industry. Zeschuk owns the Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company, where he holds charity events and fundraisers. Muzyka mentors entrepreneurs in information technology through his new company ThresholdImpact.
Bioware’s next major title Anthem is set for release on February 22.