PAX DAY 3: World's Strangest Interview Ever with BioWare's Dr. Greg, Part 1
Dr. Greg Zeschuk was roaming the PAX halls over the last few
days, talking the talk about Dragon Age: Origins during the day and, apparently, playing
Dragon Age: Origins at night. (That's how he explained his weary disposition.) He invited me to step into his
"office"--the backside of a nearby booth that the PAX hordes were
circumventing--for a Q & A. Here's what he had to say.
Jones: Obviously you have an awesome job.
Dr. Greg: I really do.
Jones: But you've had jobs before this. What's the absolute worst job
you've ever had?
Dr. Greg: Oh man. I did lots of things. I was a
groundskeeper. I worked in a gamestore selling games. But probably the worst
job I had was as a hospital intern. It was so much work. It's really a rite of
passage for med students. It's like, "Hey, go work your ass off and get
yelled at all day!" I don't recommend it.
Jones: Have any of those experiences manifested
themselves in any of BioWare's games? Is there a landscaping mini-game or
something in Jade Empire?
Dr. Greg: [Laughs] No, no. There aren't any hospital or
landscaping references in any of our games, I don't think. But I do think that working in a gamestore
helped me to understand retailers better, and how they think about things.
Jones: OK, let's go to the opposite end of the spectrum.
What's the one job in the world, besides President of Canada, that you'd have
if you weren't a game developer?
Dr. Greg: Music critic. I love music.
Jones: So you'd write for Rolling Stone, something like
Dr. Greg: Yes. Or
maybe I'd be a professional snowboarder. I was actually pretty good when I was
younger. In 1986 and '87 I was ranked 27th in the world in the North American
amateurs. I had sponsors. It sounds glamorous, having sponsors, but having
sponsors back then really meant, "Here's your tuk, here's your gloves,
here's your board, now get out of here." That was it.
I remember when I was applying to med school, I had to go
through the interview process, and they asked me the same question: What would I
do if I didn't go into medicine. I said, "Professional snowboarder."
And they all just kind of looked at me...
Jones: Who's the one person in the industry you'd like to
Dr. Greg: Hmm... Wow. Let me think about that one for a minute.
[CLIFFHANGER ENDING! YOU WILL BE SHOCKED AND AMAZED BY DR.
GREG'S ANSWER. ACTUALLY, YOU PROBABLY WON'T BE. IT'S PRETTY MUCH WHO YOU THINK
HE WOULD SAY. ANYWAY, CHECK BACK LATER FOR PART 2 OF WORLD'S STRANGEST
INTERVIEW WHERE DR. GREG HAS TO DECIDE IF DR. PHIL OR OPRAH WOULD MAKE A BETTER
GAME DEVELOPER, AND HE TALKS ABOUT SEX IN VIDEOGAMES. YES, I SAID SEX IN
VIDEOGAMES. READ PART TWO NOW.]