BioWare's Lead Writer Resigns

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Wow, I guess Drew Karpyshyn was really pissed off about what Dietz did to his Mass Effect novel series in Mass Effect: Deception. And by what Dietz did, I mean taking a shit on all of Drew's characters and story up to that point.

So yeah, it kind of makes sense that Drew wants to concentrate on his novels. After all, last time he took a break from writing novels to write video games again, well... Deception happened.

Good luck to you, Drew. As a fan of your games and novels, I'll be keeping an eye out for whatever you end up doing next.

Thank god Mass Effect 3 will be the last Bioware game I pay more than $10 for. Good luck to Drew in his future endeavors.

Hmm. Just another reason to assess the quality of Bioware games with caution and healthy skepticism in the future, I suppose. They really did peak around Mass Effect 1 for me.

The Wykydtron:
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.

western fantasy archetypes? surely you jest just because it had not orcs and not goblins in it haha

If he goes to work for Blizzard. Where lets face it all the big money is it will be a GG for everybody :D

Warachia:

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.

Okay. I will do it:

You are the member of an old and powerfull organization called the: Jedi/Grey Warden/Specters/Spirit Monks. An ancient evil threatens to destroy: the Republic/Ferelden/Known galaxy/Neverwinter. You must gather a band of adventurers(The same 5-6 personalities) and go to a few hubs to: look for the Star Map/Gather allies/thwart Saren/find a cure for the plague/look for the Spirit Monk amulet.

OT: Good. Now they only need to fire Helper and Gaider and then maybe they will start writing good stories and dialog

I don't blame him. I wouldn't be surprised if he had enough of lesser writers ruining the Mass Effect series, which used to have actually decent writing when he was still at the helm. He set the series up on a very solid foundation, and then people like Mac Walters, William C. Dietz and co. turn it into a laughable imitation of what it used to be. I would've quit too.

That's a shame. I didn't like the writing in Bioware games (okay, I haven't played Baldur's Gate I and II for more than an hour 'cause I got bored), the characters were good but reused as fuck. And dear god, those romance sidequests were irritating.
Still, some guy resigned from his job, and we must all feel very bad!
...for some reason!

xSKULLY:

the thing your missing badly is the fine print

There's very few cliches in fine print. But having a rag-tag band of mercenaries with a singular difference to each tends to touch on it.

like in mass effect 2 the way you interact with your squad

Do you want me to bring out the personality chart as well?
The shy geek, the outsider with the heart of gold, the strong silent goon...

and get to know them and do their loyalty missions is something that isnt in your chart,

That's not writing. That's timesinking for extra chat.

nor is the optional text that gives in depth detail on the world and enhances the players understanding of the world.

Optional text is window dressing. Most people don't window dress the same way.

if you look at the broad picture like you do 99% of games are the same
1. the setting and main character are introduced

Audiosurf, Braid, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Boulderdash

2. a goal appears the character has to meet (weather this is to find a princess or shoot some people, or make a farm)

Rampage, Minecraft, Limbo

3. the character faces many trials along the way to achieving this goal meeting new characters who try to help/hinder them and gaining new skills and/or equipment to help them face increasingly harder challenges

That's actually describing what a game is...but still - You have to Burn the Rope, Effing Hail, Portal

4. the goal is achieved all is well

Portal, Space Invaders, Pac Man, Call of Cthulu

Writing The Hero's Journey out 12+ times doesn't make you a great writer.

*insert the obligatory darth vader no here*

you will be missed, but i really cant blame you, as after bioware became a division of EA, everything started to go downhill :/

nikki191:

The Wykydtron:
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.

western fantasy archetypes? surely you jest just because it had not orcs and not goblins in it haha

Hurlock orc, genlock goblin.

A much better way of saying: "much of what Bioware did was the same" is to look at their rogue characters in game.

Bg1 - Imoen, a red-headed thief - initially innocent
Bg2 - Nalia, a red-headed thief/mage - initially innocent
(Bg2 - Imoen, a pink-haired thief/mage)
NWN1 - Sharwyn, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
NWN2 - Neeshka, a red-headed rogue - more fragile than she looks
PS:T - Annah, a red-headed rogue - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
DA:O - Leliana, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks

Great.

Bioware, now is the time to give Chris Avellone and his crew a call

Farewell then, Master Drew - we'll really miss your stuff!

Susurrus:
A much better way of saying: "much of what Bioware did was the same" is to look at their rogue characters in game.

Bg1 - Imoen, a red-headed thief - initially innocent
Bg2 - Nalia, a red-headed thief/mage - initially innocent
(Bg2 - Imoen, a pink-haired thief/mage)
NWN1 - Sharwyn, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
NWN2 - Neeshka, a red-headed rogue - more fragile than she looks
PS:T - Annah, a red-headed rogue - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
DA:O - Leliana, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks

...

The Annah bit is a bit of a... simplification.

But that doesn't matter, because it's not a Bioware game.

Neither was NWN 2.

Glad to see the man knows when to leave a sinking ship. (Insert TORtanic joke here)

But wait, does this mean Hamburger Helper will be get a promotion in the writing department? Because that would be awful!

Morbidly hilarious to watch. But awful!

Oh thank god.

Bioware hasn't produced a game with an engaging storyline since the first KOTOR (2003!!) Let's hope they take a hint and start producing quality material again, instead of rehashing the same three plot ideas over and over and over and over...

This could mean that Hamburger Helper is up for promotion. Uh oh.

Whooooooof. I browsed through every single post this far and yeah,

Blah no good game since 2003, blah doesn't try out something new, blah here's the chart that proves it, blah, blah, blah. It's times like these that I wish I had a gynormous filter or something.

Since he took part in giving me one of the best VG stories to date, best of luck to all his endeavors.

The Crotch:

Susurrus:
A much better way of saying: "much of what Bioware did was the same" is to look at their rogue characters in game.

Bg1 - Imoen, a red-headed thief - initially innocent
Bg2 - Nalia, a red-headed thief/mage - initially innocent
(Bg2 - Imoen, a pink-haired thief/mage)
NWN1 - Sharwyn, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
NWN2 - Neeshka, a red-headed rogue - more fragile than she looks
PS:T - Annah, a red-headed rogue - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
DA:O - Leliana, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks

...

The Annah bit is a bit of a... simplification.

But that doesn't matter, because it's not a Bioware game.

Neither was NWN 2.

True, but there's a fair amount of cross-over...

katsabas:
Whooooooof. I browsed through every single post this far and yeah,

Blah no good game since 2003, blah doesn't try out something new, blah here's the chart that proves it, blah, blah, blah. It's times like these that I wish I had a gynormous filter or something.

Since he took part in giving me one of the best VG stories to date, best of luck to all his endeavors.

That quote from Dan Rather is ridiculous. So someone is a snob if they don't immediately associate something with a piece of popular culture that it's used with? What kind of thought process is that?

He probably finally read all the Mass Effect stories and realized that in the world they constructed humans wouldn't win so they had to fake it with ME3.

I think the company will be fine without him hes done good stuff and bad stuff like all of these companies. I think its a good move for him. Tough luck to all his fans cause Bioware will probably make games completely different now.

Caffiene:
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.

This, I always hated that chart, especially since some of it is just plain wrong. (You can go through a playthrough of ME1 and not even SEE Cerberus, hell they were mostly ascended extras in ME2.

OT: Well, this could be very good, or horribly horribly bad.

Susurrus:

The Crotch:

Susurrus:
A much better way of saying: "much of what Bioware did was the same" is to look at their rogue characters in game.

Bg1 - Imoen, a red-headed thief - initially innocent
Bg2 - Nalia, a red-headed thief/mage - initially innocent
(Bg2 - Imoen, a pink-haired thief/mage)
NWN1 - Sharwyn, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
NWN2 - Neeshka, a red-headed rogue - more fragile than she looks
PS:T - Annah, a red-headed rogue - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks
DA:O - Leliana, a red-headed bard - wicked sense of humour, tougher than she looks

...

The Annah bit is a bit of a... simplification.

But that doesn't matter, because it's not a Bioware game.

Neither was NWN 2.

True, but there's a fair amount of cross-over...

Well, let's see. Dropping the Black Isle and Obsidian games from the list, we have:

BG1 Imoen
BG2 Nalia and Imoen
NWN Sharwyn
DAO Leliana

All female rogue-ish characters with red-ish hair, albeit mostly with different personality notes.

Now look at the many, many other "rogues" that they have made that are not on your list. Safana, Kasumi, Isabella, Varric, Alora, Montaron, Jan, Sky, Mission Vao, Zevran, and a few others. Some backstabbing murderers, some fun-loving adventurers, some hardened idealists, some cautious opportunists...

Now, there's undeniably a majority: female thing going on there. And MAYBE a plurality of them have red/pink hair; I haven't looked into it too closely. Bioware definitely runs hard with some tropes, but "all their rogues are alike" is a big oversimplification.

Anyway. Good luck to Karpyshyn. If ya ever come back home, Drew, I owe you a beer for BG2.

Mantonio:

katsabas:
Whooooooof. I browsed through every single post this far and yeah,

Blah no good game since 2003, blah doesn't try out something new, blah here's the chart that proves it, blah, blah, blah. It's times like these that I wish I had a gynormous filter or something.

Since he took part in giving me one of the best VG stories to date, best of luck to all his endeavors.

That quote from Dan Rather is ridiculous. So someone is a snob if they don't immediately associate something with a piece of popular culture that it's used with? What kind of thought process is that?

Apparently a weak one but I liked the poster too much to pay attention.

Irridium:

Woodsey:

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.

That was the lead designer of Origins. And it seems he was kind of right. Bioware doesn't seem interested in making old-style RPG's anymore. Instead they seem content in trying to go after the COD audience. While saying they're staying true to their roots to keep their old RPG-loving audience.

Which, while not exactly bad in and of itself, is still a bit sad to see.

Not sure why they couldn't just use Mass Effect for the CoD audience while making the Dragon Age games to appeal to the old-style RPG audience and effectively be able to cater to both groups, but whatever.

I was under the impression that was their plan, way back when. Mass Effect could scratch one itch, Dragon Age the other. I love both, and I also want both.

Instead they followed it up (intentionally) with populist schlock, and still didn't get much more of an audience. Dragon Age 2 tried to be a single-issue game, yet it handled the politics and point it was trying to make with as much delicacy as a bull in a china shop. Origins, on the other hand, dealt with many more themes, and handled them all far better.

It's not a bad game, it's just a middle-of-the-road, fairly forgettable one, with an interesting premise in the hands of people who didn't know or care to pull it off. And that's on it's own merit, it doesn't get any better when you put it into the context of the first game, or next to Mass Effect.

Oh well: Long live CD Projekt! Long live The Witcher! Long live Eidos Montreal! Long live Deus Ex!

Imbechile:

Warachia:

The_root_of_all_evil:

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.

Okay. I will do it:

You are the member of an old and powerfull organization called the: Jedi/Grey Warden/Specters/Spirit Monks. An ancient evil threatens to destroy: the Republic/Ferelden/Known galaxy/Neverwinter. You must gather a band of adventurers(The same 5-6 personalities) and go to a few hubs to: look for the Star Map/Gather allies/thwart Saren/find a cure for the plague/look for the Spirit Monk amulet.

OT: Good. Now they only need to fire Helper and Gaider and then maybe they will start writing good stories and dialog

Then allow me to pick that apart, the grey wardens and spectres are NOT an old powerful Organization, The characters have more depth to them than just 5-6 personalities, and that last point has you doing COMPLETELY SEPERATE THINGS, even generalizing it becomes stupid and you see how it all comes apart. How is looking for a map the same thing as stopping a villain? Incidentally, they made other games like Baldurs Gate 1+2 (and that sonic game that nobody remembers) that don't fit what you're trying to point out.

By your logic every single final fantasy game is the same because the have the same classes, a villain, and you explore an overworld. Why not compare Monkey Island and kings quest? You go looking for a (insert relative or love interest here) and you do so by collecting items and using them on things, and obviously every FPS is a ripoff of DOOM.

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?

Who cares? The formula is SO good that I don't mind at all, shamelessly reusing something like the COD formula is annoying, but COME ON, is anyone insinuating that Jade Empire and Mass Effect are similar enough to be unoriginal!?

The Crotch:

Susurrus:

The Crotch:

...

The Annah bit is a bit of a... simplification.

But that doesn't matter, because it's not a Bioware game.

Neither was NWN 2.

True, but there's a fair amount of cross-over...

Well, let's see. Dropping the Black Isle and Obsidian games from the list, we have:

BG1 Imoen
BG2 Nalia and Imoen
NWN Sharwyn
DAO Leliana

All female rogue-ish characters with red-ish hair, albeit mostly with different personality notes.

Now look at the many, many other "rogues" that they have made that are not on your list. Safana, Kasumi, Isabella, Varric, Alora, Montaron, Jan, Sky, Mission Vao, Zevran, and a few others. Some backstabbing murderers, some fun-loving adventurers, some hardened idealists, some cautious opportunists...

Now, there's undeniably a majority: female thing going on there. And MAYBE a plurality of them have red/pink hair; I haven't looked into it too closely. Bioware definitely runs hard with some tropes, but "all their rogues are alike" is a big oversimplification.

Anyway. Good luck to Karpyshyn. If ya ever come back home, Drew, I owe you a beer for BG2.

Er. I don't know who Kasumi is. I didn't play DA2, so Varric/Isabella are out. You also missed Yoshimo from BG2. My point was not that all rogues are women with red hair. My point was that when they make a female rogue, its usually very much the same one. And they always make one. Also, Safana's portrait has red hair. I think it was Skye (and she's useless, anyway).

'Mass Effect' is easily my favourite game, and the writing is a huge part of that, yet the fact that it has the exact same plot as 'KotOR' is pretty shameless. That, combined with the fact that the Revan novel, was blatently bad -- even by tie-in fiction standards -- leads me to not be too concerned about his depature.

Dude wants to spend more time playing golf; can't say I'm sorry to see him go.

Now I just want to know who was responsible for the ridiculous plot of 'Mass Effect 2'. Karpyshyn left part way through production to go work on 'SWTOR'; how much was already set in stone, and how much was changed. Who decided the final boss would be an oversized terminator? Who felt it was okay for the game to not have a proper antagonist?

Maybe Daniel Erickson will get a promotion? That would be a pretty great sign, I think.

PiercedMonk:
'Mass Effect' is easily my favourite game, and the writing is a huge part of that, yet the fact that it has the exact same plot as 'KotOR' is pretty shameless. That, combined with the fact that the Revan novel, was blatently bad -- even by tie-in fiction standards -- leads me to not be too concerned about his depature.

Dude wants to spend more time playing golf; can't say I'm sorry to see him go.

Now I just want to know who was responsible for the ridiculous plot of 'Mass Effect 2'. Karpyshyn left part way through production to go work on 'SWTOR'; how much was already set in stone, and how much was changed. Who decided the final boss would be an oversized terminator? Who felt it was okay for the game to not have a proper antagonist?

Maybe Daniel Erickson will get a promotion? That would be a pretty great sign, I think.

Me2 didnt have a rediculpus plot...it was just "shepard running errands" for most of the time...ok go kill the bugs now

anyway the whole "OMG! collectors are protheians!" thing I think was suposed to be some big revelation (like sovergn) except it didnt work because....well its not surprising, and we dont care because the collectors werent really a presance in ME1, it doesnt change anything

Annnd EA's stock falls on its face so hard it actually winds up on its back.

I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing, Karpyshyn was far from a flawless writer. A breath of fresh air might be just what the company needs, bring some fresh ideas to the table.

Vault101:
Me2 didnt have a rediculpus plot...it was just "shepard running errands" for most of the time...ok go kill the bugs now

Sure, a lot of the plot was Shepard's ongoing quest to help everyone of his/her band of misfits to deal with their daddy issues, but there's also that whole bit where he/she works with a clandestine, xenophobic terrorist organisation that slaps it's insignia on every available surface and is led by a dude called "Illusive Man." That's plenty of silly nonsense, especially for those Sheperds who choose the background where Cereberus was responsible for wiping out their whole unit.

Vault101:
anyway the whole "OMG! collectors are protheians!" thing I think was suposed to be some big revelation (like sovergn) except it didnt work because....well its not surprising, and we dont care because the collectors werent really a presance in ME1, it doesnt change anything

If the collectors had been more than just cannon fodder drones, perhaps the reveal would have had a bit more impact. Really though, the secret of the collectors' past didn't change anything about their present, so it didn't matter. Interchangeable bug monsters that exist for no reason but to get shot over and over aren't compelling.

Nor was the fact that they were making a new reaper out of human smoothie all that much to get excited over. That's just high school level horror writing played for shock value.

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?

A lot of those aren't just limited to Bioware, but any and every form of epic story telling. Also, I'm not entirely sure if the person that wrote that knows what the term "cliché" actually means. They also got a bunch of stuff wrong from the games, making their point even more flimsy.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Audiosurf, Braid, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Boulderdash
Rampage, Minecraft, Limbo
Burn the Rope, Effing Hail, Portal
Space Invaders, Pac Man, Call of Cthulu

Could your bias be any more evident? We get it, you don't like Bioware's writing, but if you're going to argue about it, at least stick to something else than strawman arguments. Comparing an Adventure/RPG game to Space Invaders or indie arcade titles and pretending that it's somehow a valid point that you're making? Nope, doesn't work and only proves how ridiculously biased you already are.

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