Writers were “quietly resented” at BioWare, says lead writer of Dragon Age


David Gaider has criticised his former company, accusing BioWare of undervaluing its writers.


The lead writer on Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition has said that BioWare changed during his tenure, becoming a company where “expensive narrative” was seen as the “‘albatross’ holding the company back“. David Gaider made the comments in a Twitter thread, which is published in full below:

Writing is one of those disciplines which is constantly undervalued. It’s something that everyone thinks they can do (“I can write a sentence! I know what story is!”), and frankly the difference between good and bad writing is lost on many, anyhow. So why pay much for it, right?

“In games, you even see this attitude among those who want to get into the field. “I don’t have any REAL skills… I can’t art, I can’t program, so I guess I’ll become a writer? It’s better than QA!” As if game writing didn’t require any actual skill which requires development.”

“Even BioWare, which built its success on a reputation for good stories and characters, slowly turned from a company that vocally valued its writers to one where we were… quietly resented, with a reliance on expensive narrative seen as the “albatross” holding the company back.”

“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.”

“At the end of the day, you can say you like good writing – whether it’s in a game, a movie, an online article, or whatever – but if you don’t value it enough to prioritize it and support it… and, yes, pay writers what they’re due… that’s not what everyone else is hearing.”

Gaider left BioWare in 2016 to join Beamdog, before becoming creative director at the Australian indie developer Summerfall Studios in 2019. Gaider’s comments come in the context of the news that members of the Writers Guild of America have voted to go on strike. The guild represents around 20,000 writers working in TV, film, news and other areas.

BioWare has had a troubled time of it over the past several years. Mass Effect: Andromeda in 2017 shifted the series’ focus more towards exploration, and the game’s disappointing critical and commercial reception led to EA and BioWare taking a break from the series. The multiplayer action RPG Anthem was critically mauled on its release in 2019, with all development work on the game ceasing in 2021, and the fourth installment in the Dragon Age series has had a long and troubled genesis. Work on the fourth game supposedly began in 2015 and has proceeded on and off since then. Dragon Age: Dreadwolf is now apparently at the alpha stage, although the game does not yet have a release date.

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