By Derek Strickland
| Feb 16, 2020 12:15 am CST
At the beginning, BioWare was a fountain of RPG mastery. Then after they got famous they started to focus more on what's popular versus what they actually wanted to make. Ex-BioWare writer Drew Karpyshyn gives a brief but illuminating look at how BioWare has changed over the years.
BioWare isn't what it used to be. The studio used to be known for great RPGs like Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age: Origins, all games that made you feel and had an impact. But something happened after BioWare got big: The studio started chasing money instead of chasing its passions (likely at the behest of its owner, EA). BioWare shifted its focus to action games and massively watered down its RPG elements, casualizing everything and betraying its key skills. We've seen this with Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem, both of which are heavily action-based and embrace live services. And this erosion of BioWare's RPG talents may not stop here, but only continue with its new projects like Dragon Age 4 and the new Mass Effect--both of which could have live service ecosystems.
This shift, along with a terrible work environment that's endemic with anxiety, mental breakdowns, and miscommunication, led many key BioWare vets to leave. Devs who had been with the company for decades didn't want to hang around and work on something they didn't love. Now ex-Mass Effect writer Drew Karpyshyn reveals what it was like from inside BioWare, and why he left.
"I've been in the video game industry for twenty years now. When I started at BioWare, everything was fresh and exciting. It was a dream job - talented people working together to create epic games like Baldur's Gate, KOTOR, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. But as we grew and became more successful, things changed. We became more corporate. We were less able to make what we loved, and the teams were pushed to create games based on market research rather than our creative instincts and passions. My dream job became just a job, and I lost the enthusiasm and excitement I once had."