Dragon Age Studio “Quietly Resented” Its Writers, Claims Narrative Lead

Dragon Age Studio “Quietly Resented” Its Writers, Claims Narrative Lead

Following The Writers Guild of America’s strike announcement, Dragon Age lead writer and narrative designer David Gaider shared his own experiences in the field, specifically at BioWare. He revealed that the developer saw expensive narratives as an “albatross”, despite being renowned for its rich characters and expansive stories.

“Even BioWare slowly turned from a company that vocally valued its writers to one where we were… quietly resented,” Gaider tweeted (thanks, GamesRadar). “Maybe that sounds like a heavy charge, but it’s what I distinctly felt up until I left in 2016. Suddenly all anyone in charge was asking was ‘how do we have LESS writing?’ A good story would simply happen, via magic wand, rather than be something that needed support and priority.”


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It’s not just BioWare, either, as Fable narrative lead Anna Megill shared a similar sentiment in a quote retweet discussing her experiences across the industry. “Way too real,” Megill said. “There’s been a point on every project where I had to defend writing as a craft and fight for my writers to not become ‘rewriters’ of other people’s work”.

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BioWare’s last game before the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which was a remastered bundle of the first three games, was Anthem. It didn’t review well, landing an aggregate score of 54 on Metacritic; it was released only a few years after Gaider left BioWare, and so many speculate that the company’s alleged resentment toward writers was partly to blame for its quality.

Gaider is now working at Summerfall Studios, which he founded alongside Liam Esler, on a “roleplaying musical” game called Stray Gods. It has all the staples you’d expect from two developers with Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age on their resumes. “Gods. Romance. Murder. Musical Numbers?!” the store page reads. “Play as Grace in a world where Greek Gods live in hiding among us.”

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BioWare, meanwhile, is full steam ahead with Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, even roping in the Mass Effect 4 team to help. We’ll have to wait and see if either game captures the charm of their trilogies, but original Dragon Age executive producer Mark Darrah was brought in as a consultant despite having left in 2020 after criticising the studio for its crunch culture and toxic work environment. Fingers crossed, things have changed for the better.

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