Drew Karpyshyn, the writer behind some of BioWare's finest games of the last couple of decades including Mass Effect and KOTOR, has announced his retirement from both company and industry, to focus more on alternative platforms for his work, such as novels and screenplays.
Karpyshyn wrote the following on his website earlier this week:
"As of last week, I have officially retired from BioWare. (I’ll give all you gamers a second to let that sink in. Just to be clear, the parting was completely amicable, and 100% my decision.)"
"For the past twelve years I’ve had the privilege to work at one of the best companies in the video game industry, side by side with the most talented and incredible group of people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know," he continued. "I’ve enjoyed my time at BioWare immensely, but it’s time for me to move on.
"I’m leaving to focus more time and energy on my novels and other non-video game related projects. But even though I’ll no longer be working on games for BioWare, I’m not going to be severing all ties with them. Many of my closest friends still work at the company, and I’m also in the process of writing the next Star Wars: The Old Republic novel, though I can’t say too much about it yet."
Karpyshyn is nothing if not modest, keen to credit the whole team of writers at BioWare with the company's narrative successes, but his solo-penned material - which includes the surprisingly good Mass Effect novels Revelation, Ascension and Retribution, as well as a host of Star Wars books - belie an outstanding individual talent. Interestingly, BioWare's lead writer on Mass Effect 3's was Mac Walters, with David Gaider still the lead for Dragon Age.
"During my time at BioWare I worked on a number of beloved and award winning titles. I’m proud of everything we accomplished, and I know going forward that BioWare will continue to live up to its well deserved reputation for making the best story driven games in the industry.
"The story and dialog in any BioWare game is the result of an entire team of writers working together, and I often felt I received an excessive amount of the credit for the games we created. The Dragon Age games and the continued success of the Mass Effect series after my departure make it pretty clear that BioWare can get along just fine without me, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the games as a fan rather than from the other side of the fence. (I alluded to this earlier when I was talking about ME3. That’s a little writer’s trick called foreshadowing.)"
On a personal level, Karpyshyn spoke of the risk involved in moving on from his "comfort zone", but called the move essential in his journey as a creative artist.
"I realize some of you may be shocked by this announcement. Maybe even disappointed. (And others simply won’t care. But it’s my website, so I’m going to ramble on.) 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."
Karpyshyn ended with a fond farewell to BioWare, declaring that he'd always "have fond memories of BioWare, and a great appreciation for everything it meant to [him]".
We wish Drew all the best in the future, and will probably be playing KOTOR all weekend in tribute. [Drew Karpyshyn]