BioWare founders awarded Order of Canada for impact on video games

The pair has overseen such gaming hits as 'Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic' and the 'Mass Effect' trilogy

Mass Effect 3 combat

BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have been appointed to the Order of Canada this year.

The pair started BioWare in Edmonton in May 1995 alongside Augustine Yip shortly after graduating medical school. For nearly two decades, Muzyka and Zeschuk oversaw the development of many award-winning and best-selling games, including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the Mass Effect trilogy and two Dragon Age games.

Muzyka and Zeschuk left the company in September 2012, with the former going on to launching investment company ThresholdImpact and the latter starting up his own brewery. Games publishing giant Electronic Arts has owned BioWare since October 2007.

Muzyka and Zeschuk Zeschuk (left) and Muzyka (right) in 2011

In a news release, Governor General of Canada’s office said Muzyka and Zeschuk are each being honoured for “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 of his reaction to their appointments. “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.”

“That’s always been something I think both of us have felt — surround ourselves with people who are smarter than us and passionate and bright, just sparks that you can learn from and grow with,” added Zeschuk. “We always tried to treat everybody we worked with with great respect.”

Since 1967, The Order of Canada has recognized Canadians who make significant contributions to society. This year, Muzyka and Zeschuk are part of a 103-person group of appointed individuals. Other 2018 Order of Canada recipients include Olympian gold medalist Beckie Scott, one-time New Brunswick premier Camille Henri Theriault and Indigenous painter Maxine Noel.

The full list of recipients can be found here.

Image credit: BioWare