Dragon Age Creative Director Mike Laidlaw Leaves Bioware

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Dragon Age Bioware

Not long after the rumblings of a fourth title in The Dragon Age series started to materialize, Bioware veteran and series creative director, Mike Laidlaw, has decided to part ways with the landmark studio. In the span of fourteen years, Laidlaw was not only instrumental in molding the narrative and aesthetic of all the games in the Dragon Age franchise, he also helped oversee the first Mass Effect entry and served as lead writer on Jade Empire.

Laidlaw hinted at the since confirmed Dragon Age 4 earlier this year, which implies he may have had some hand in developing it. However, we can’t be sure to what capacity Laidlaw was involved. In any rate, irrespective of how sudden this all feels, there doesn’t appear to be any ill will associated with his departure – the longtime Bioware employee says he wishes to reconnect with the other games and worlds created “by his peers.” Laidlaw described his decision to resign as a sort of bittersweet one on Twitter a few days ago and only offered kind words to say about his lengthy tenure there:

I’ve been a cautiously optimistic fan of The Dragon Age series since its debut all the way back in 2010. The core mechanics, voice acting and gameplay have always been solid, but after the first game, the narrative began to suffer from an obvious lack of direction. There was a sense that the series yearnedd to feel cohesive and epic, but ultimately the overarching plot and world oftentimes felt derivative. There are certainly inspired thematic elements to be found in the games, namely the socio-political landscape of Thedas. The game’s presentation of race and magic is some of the most imaginative I’ve seen in any medium, it’s shame they have yet to find a story that grants them the justice they’re rightly due.    

I can’t be sure what kind of effect Laidlaw’s departure will have in this regard. The part of me that fears the depreciation of the more ambitious aspects of the franchise is evenly countered with the prospect that a change in hands might very well be what this meandering series needs.

Sound off in the comments, comrades.

 

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