When Drew Karpyshn announced this week that he was leaving game-maker BioWare, the gaming world reverberated with dread.
Karpyshn is the writer credited with such epic games as Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic, and his fans are legion.
While these games are all about playing; fighting, solving puzzles, defeating your enemies; they all revolve around a story line which is no less integral to the quality of the game than the special effects.
In fact, as Karpyshn points out in an article this morning at ComputerandVideoGames.com, it takes an entire team of writers to conceive a plot, write dialogue and keep the story as engaging as the game play.
Game writers are responsible for creating realistic (fictionalized, but realistic nonetheless) environments which immerse the gamers, make sense and provide a satisfying outcome. Their work is often lost in the game dynamics, the design and the special effects, but it is no less important. In fact, it is perhaps the most important element of the gaming experience.
So when Karpyshn announced he was leaving BioWare many gamers gasped, fearful of what they might expect from future versions of their favorite games. But this does not do justice to the team environment present at the companies which design these games. It's definitely a group effort, and the evidence of this team mentality is present in Karpyshn's blog posts about his decision to leave. You can visit his website here.
Karpyshn said he will use his time now to work on his novels and other personal projects and that he only wishes the best for his former employers. For his fans, Karpyshn said they can expect his new projects to be just as exciting as his previous work for BioWare.
If you're a writer looking for a new frontier and new ways of telling your stories, I hear there might be a job opening at BioWare....