BioWare's Lead Writer Resigns

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BioWare's Lead Writer Resigns

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Drew Karpyshyn, the writer behind games such as Jade Empire and Mass Effect has decided that it's time to move on.

BioWare games are beloved by their fans for many things, but it's their robustly developed stories and characters that seem to define them. While the narrative and dialog are always produced by a large team of talented writers, there's always one person who heads the pack, providing vision and shaping each project's voice and direction. For BioWare, that person was Drew Karpyshyn, at least up until a week ago.

Karpyshyn revealed on his personal website that after more than a decade of penning the scripts to numerous award-winning games, he has retried from his post at BioWare. "For the past twelve years I've had the privilege to work at one of the best companies in the video game industry," he wrote, "side by side with the most talented and incredible group of people I've ever had the good fortune to know. I've enjoyed my time at BioWare immensely, but it's time for me to move on."

According to the post, Karpyshyn doesn't have anything else specifically lined up for full time employment but, at least for now, he's going to use the immediate future for other creative endeavors. "I'm leaving to focus more time and energy on my novels and other non-video game related projects," he explained. "I'll always have fond memories of BioWare, and a great appreciation for everything it meant to me. But my future is wide open, and I can't wait to see what's in store. (Plus, now I'll have more time for golf.)"

Karpyshyn's final project for the developer was new MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, and before he cuts professional ties with BioWare completely, he'll work on finishing the game's tie-in novel, though he won't yet go into details.

"I realize some of you may be shocked by this announcement. Maybe even disappointed," he wrote. "My identity has been closely tied with BioWare ever since I crawled into the public eye, and I know it's a risk to move away from my comfort zone. However, I feel that's an essential step for every creative artist to take at some point. It keeps us fresh, it keeps us energized."

It's always a bit of a shake-up when a staple in the videogame industry decides to move on, but as Karpyshyn himself points out, change can only lead to interesting, fresh developments for both his personal work and the future creations of BioWare.

Source: drewkarpyshyn.com

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He is probably retiring to start his long search for a neck.

Mike Kayatta:
but it's their robustly developed stories and characters that seem to define them.

Now, where did I put my Xerox?

It's not necessarily a bad thing, companies reusing the same writers tend to eventually make every single game by said company feel samey due to them having very similar hooks and archetypes.

Just like every single Blizzard storyline tends to be exactly the same in different settings, I've lately started to feel that BioWare has been releasing the same game since Jade Empire.

Maybe they'll get someone else equally as talented and BW will have newish stories for the next few games. Or maybe they'll promote one of the Dragon Age 2 writers. Not that I care because I'm not playing any more of their games after ME3.

Probably for the best. Haven't really liked the latest releases that I've played so maybe a new writer can make things interesting.

Worgen:
He is probably retiring to start his long search for a neck.

haha i feel awful but i lol'd hard at this. good post sir.

OT: well it'll be interesting to see what happens i suppose...still, i wonder if those were his exact reasons for retiring.

That's a shame. And doesn't bode well to me. Recent Bioware games, apart from The Old Republic, haven't exactly been stellar narrative-wise. But hopefully the current writers improve over time.

Hopefully.

Well that's too bad. I guess that means Mass Effect 3 could potentially be the last well written Bioware game. Although you never know, whoever replaces him could actually bring a lot of new and interesting ideas to the table.

Worgen:
He is probably retiring to start his long search for a neck.

Bravo dear boy, bravo.

His recent work (parts 2 and 3 of the Bane trilogy and Revan) hasn't been a patch on his early stuff (Baldurs gate II and KotOR). His resignation might give some new writers a chance!

Wolfram01:
Probably for the best. Haven't really liked the latest releases that I've played so maybe a new writer can make things interesting.

Hasn't he not actually been the lead writer on the latest games?

Because my theory was that he actually read some of the recent storylines. XD

scorptatious:
Well that's too bad. I guess that means Mass Effect 3 could potentially be the last well written Bioware game. Although you never know, whoever replaces him could actually bring a lot of new and interesting ideas to the table.

FYI, He didn't do the script for ME3, Mac Walters did.

Richardplex:

scorptatious:
Well that's too bad. I guess that means Mass Effect 3 could potentially be the last well written Bioware game. Although you never know, whoever replaces him could actually bring a lot of new and interesting ideas to the table.

FYI, He didn't do the script for ME3, Mac Walters did.

He did? My mistake then. I just assumed that since he was the lead writer, he had a part in the script.

Dear BioWare,

I will be more than happy to take this man's job. This is my dream job. Please let me have it. Or not even his job. Even just as one of those talented writers would be awesome. Please.

I never understand why people will leave such a nice job, especially one they enjoy. I'm often told they get burned out, but I guess they have the luxury of leaving a job like that. I would love to have that post. Did I already mention that? I did? Well, thought I'd mention it again, just in case anyone from BioWare reads this.

On a side note, what does this mean for Dragon Age III? Did he leave notes behind for others to follow, or did he just go, "Have fun with it. I have no idea."? Or did he not have anything to do with those?

Hmmmmmmm.
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:D

Seriously though, we'll all miss you Drew, you brought Mass Effect to life.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Mike Kayatta:
but it's their robustly developed stories and characters that seem to define them.

Now, where did I put my Xerox?

Once again i bow to you sir. I also tip my hat and raise my glass. If i could do all 3 at once i would.

good to see drew get the hell out of dodge. he probably sees the same future for bioware that EA does: yearly mass effect spin-offs and dragon age 3: the return of frieza.

all that aside, his work was getting kind of stale, and its good that he realized it was time to move on to something else. im eager to see what kind of stories he can pen outside of the formula he basically established for bioware, and even more interested to see how bioware will cope without him. i just sincerely hope gaider doesnt get his job...

What's that? Bioware need a new lead writer with the name Drew? I'm on it!

and now he is applying for a job at double fine.

Well that's it kids. BioWare is officially just another EA lackey. It was pretty decent while it lasted I guess.

Leximodicon:
Well that's it kids. BioWare is officially just another EA lackey. It was pretty decent while it lasted I guess.

About 7 or 8 months late bro. They have long been official lackeys of EA. This is just the last bit of humanity that stayed because it was not being lynched.

I'm just glad that Mass Effect is finished. That's all I really care about. This doesn't exactly spell doom for Bioware, but possibly a change... which could be a good thing.

I just have a feeling things have been:

"Yeah. . .yeaaaahhh. . .that's a nice story Drew, but can't you do it more like ahh. . .you know. . .that story you did before? It's just so much more what Bioware is about, don't you think?"

The_root_of_all_evil:

Mike Kayatta:
but it's their robustly developed stories and characters that seem to define them.

Now, where did I put my Xerox?

Well now I know why all the characters have such great chemistry: Bioware sticks to a good formula

Well Bioware writes good characters but their actual storylines are a bit generic shall we say? Maybe we'll get something a bit more original out of them now.

DA:O anyone? Straight fantasy classic indeed. It was a good game but wow was it generic, 'S like they took a big pot of Western Fantasy archetypes and threw it all into one game.

I just love how people immediately break out their conspiracy hats.

"EA did it! BioWare is out of control! I didn't like Dragon Age II and I won't rest until everyone hears about it!"

The guy has been working on what is, in writing terms, an incredibly exhausting medium for over a decade now. I wasn't surprised to hear these news at all.

But I'd have to say, I found Karpyshyn a fairly mediocre writer. Better than Mac Walters, but not very enticing at all.
The real writing talent at BioWare is the core team consisting of David Gaider, Sheryl Chee and Mary Kirby, as well as Lukas Kristjanson and Patrick Weekes.

Have to respect the guy that wrote Jade Empire - it might have been a very linear game, but the story was impressively done. I look forward to seeing where he ends up.

A part of me wants to see what might happen if he were to join up with Chris Avellone on Obsidian's "kickstarter ideas" thing...

The_root_of_all_evil:

Now, where did I put my Xerox?

Wow... talk about bias. There is definitely a point to be made that many of Bioware's story/location structures feel the same, but that table really goes to the extreme trying to cram things where they dont fit.

The Fade in Dragon Age counts as strongly fitting the cliche of "you go to sleep and have a dream sequence", and the Darkspawn are a sinister organisation that thwarts your efforts?

Jade Empire's "you travel across the land" strongly fits the cliche of "you must travel to four main locations", and a small village from 20 years ago counts as "a sprawling ancient civilisation"?

I dont really remember the Underdark being a ruined sprawling ancient civilisation, either, or needing discovery for that matter. The Underdark is also from BG2, not the first game... Unless they meant the Undercity from the first game, in which case that sort of draws attention to their dubious "4 locations" point instead.

oh boy here... we go

"Bioware selling out EA EVIL blah blah blah" there we go.......

but seriously I'm not worried..I really hope ME3 is good enough to shut some people up

Irridium:
That's a shame. And doesn't bode well to me. Recent Bioware games, apart from The Old Republic, haven't exactly been stellar narrative-wise. But hopefully the current writers improve over time.

Hopefully.

Fingers crossed they keep the Twilight fans exclusive to the Dragon Age team.

/partiallyfacetiouscomment

What was more concerning was the guy who left last year (?) because he felt they had no interest in making the type of games they'd used to anymore.

LiquidGrape:
I just love how people immediately break out their conspiracy hats.

"EA did it! BioWare is out of control! I didn't like Dragon Age II and I won't rest until everyone hears about it!"

The guy has been working on what is, in writing terms, an incredibly exhausting medium for over a decade now. I wasn't surprised to hear these news at all.

But I'd have to say, I found Karpyshyn a fairly mediocre writer. Better than Mac Walters, but not very enticing at all.
The real writing talent at BioWare is the core team consisting of David Gaider, Sheryl Chee and Mary Kirby, as well as Lukas Kristjanson and Patrick Weekes.

Gaider's the one who went on the forums and said it was fine for them to retcon continuity at the expense of player choice and consequence (ala the Dragon Age 2 ending), so no, not him.

Perhaps it would be a good time for Bioware to hire Neil Gaiman. The next ME game will be called Mass Effect: Galactic Gods. Shepard is hired by someone named Mr. Friday who turns out to be a Turian god.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Mike Kayatta:
but it's their robustly developed stories and characters that seem to define them.

Now, where did I put my Xerox?

Excuse me while I call Bullshit, if you are going to generalize that much, you could (with some clever wordplay) say that everything is the same as everything else as all the sheet really does is compare mechanics, not story or characters.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Mike Kayatta:
but it's their robustly developed stories and characters that seem to define them.

Now, where did I put my Xerox?

To be honest you can stick a lot of non-bioware games into this table with a yellow or red box in a category. Both Skyrim and final fantasy 8 can be placed fairly well in there, so it's not even just western RPGs.

OT Well hopefully his moving on is not a reflection on how he see's the company moving along and just a purely personal decision. Though how many people walk out of jobs that sweet, especially when times are this tough?

This... could go either way. I mean, on one hand you've got all the great stuff he's written(Kotor, Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins(?), Jade Empire), and then you have Dragon Age II...

Maybe he wasn't as directly involved... but... Dragon Age II. He was there and he watched it happen...

First the lead writer of Dragon Age, now this. Boy, the slope has gotten slippier...

Captcha: Canticle

May one be sung for Bioware, at its funeral.

He's leaving Bioware to work on his novels? That's like Will Smith giving up acting to work on his music career.

Also, in b4 retarded EA hate. Oh wait...

They had better take a very long time choosing who will replace him or they can expect to loose the position they hold in the industry.

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