They were among the 103 people appointed to the Order of Canada this year. It’s that country’s second highest honor, and it’s typically given to people who make extraordinary contributions to the nation. Nearly 7,000 Canadians have gained membership to the order since it was founded in 1967.
Muzyka and Zeschuk are both being honored for their “revolutionary contributions to the video game industry” as developers and co-founders of an internationally renowned studio, according to a press release. Zeschuk told CBC News he was shocked when he found out.
“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 honor,” he said.
Muzyka praised BioWare’s employees, describing them to CBC News as collaborative and passionate team players. “They made every day a joy just to come to work,” he said.
The pair co-founded BioWare in 1995 — along with Trent Oster, Brent Oster, Marcel Zeschuk, and Augustine Yip — after attending medical school together at the University of Alberta. The studio specializes in role-playing games and is responsible for a number of classics in that genre, including “Baldur’s Gate,” “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic,” “Mass Effect,” and “Dragon Age.”
Muzyka and Zeschuk sold BioWare to publisher Electronic Arts in 2007 and retired from the gaming industry all together in 2012. Zeschuk now owns a brewing company and gastropub in Edmonton, while Muzyka mentors budding entrepreneurs via his company ThresholdImpact.