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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

SWTOR's Writer Laureate Deserves A Break

Posted by BillMurphy Friday February 17 2012 at 9:49AM
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Of course, something like this news about Drew Karpyshyn leaving the industry was bound to stir up some controversy.  But why?  Can't someone ever leave the industry without it creating a big fuss and doom and gloom posts?  I remember when Gaute Godager left Funcom.  I understand then why people created posts about the botched AoC launch.  It made sense, given what Craig Morrison was able to do to turn around Anarchy Online (and now AoC).  That sort of thing was very clearly about a person leaving a team because they needed to hand over the reins to more capable folks.  But this business about Drew K.? It's not exactly something to get riled up about.

The man has been making a living for years now crafting other people's worlds.  He's written content for games that we've all loved and adored, and helped make BioWare the studio that is known for their stories over all else.  But, ask Daniel Erickson (who is the lead on SWTOR's story content): creating stories for games isn't easy.  It's not like writing a novel.  It's painful, arduous, and absolutely brain-wracking work (not to mention the carpal tunnel).  Maybe, just maybe, Drew wanted to back out of videogame writing to focus on his own worlds and novel writing career?

He's still writing novels for BioWare as he posted the blog announcement of his departure from the game side of things.  But he's worked at BioWare writing games for twelve years... as someone who once entertained the notion of being a novelist, I know the the lure that Drew must be feeling to really focus on his own work, something entirely of his own creation, once more.  There comes a time when the ideas in your head are just too strong to be ignored.  He's been writing what he's been told to write for over a decade, he's earned a hell of a living from it.  Maybe now he just wants to have total and complete control over the tales he tells.

So instead of getting all crazy-eyed about what this means for EA, BioWare, and SWTOR (hint - they lose a great writer, and that's all) instead let's focus on wishing Drew well in his new writing adventures and eagerly await the sorts of worlds he crafts on his own.

someforumguy writes:

We met in a bar where he was raging about that he felt like he couldnt breath under the reign of Bioware's storybutchering slavemasters and other equally unimportant stuff.

So I made him understand that it was time for him to go on an important mission. We then decided that he would leave Bioware as protest against the horrible spacecombat in SWTOR.

True Story! O.o

Fri Feb 17 2012 10:06AM Report
Drakxii writes:

It's always controversy when top level employees leave any company.  Of course he could just be leaving to wirte on his own but then while working for bioware he wrote atleast 2 mass effect novels, so why couldn't he keep writing while being a part of bioware?  

More over why would he leave a mere 2 months after launching an MMO that will needs story writers for months and maybe even years to come?

Also this is kind of what is expected when it comes to EA buyouts.   It has been very common for EA bought out companies to bleed leaders a couple years after being bought.

Fri Feb 17 2012 10:30AM Report
ForumPvP writes:

"Gaute Godager"

Fri Feb 17 2012 11:38AM Report
Toto020 writes:

Are you serious,

1. He helped write stories in a MMO that is supposedly all about storyline and Voice over content.

2. He's a writer in a MMO that is decreasing in subs.

3. He's leaving the company.

Stock prices drop on weather reports for crops, why should the health of a MMO be different.  Or do you not understand how business works?

Maybe becuase all the "paid for " hype for this undeserved "critically acclaimed" MMO is over, you're still trying to show this websites viability to the gaming behemoth called EA by  releasing opinions that protect EA's business model.

Here's something, show some integtiry and call them out for releasing a half finished product.  Or you can continue to pander...

Fri Feb 17 2012 1:20PM Report
Eliandal writes:

 Didn't realize this was a game review....?  Oh wait, it's not...go back under your bridge!


  Hoping for all the best for DK (I met him ...elsewhere....a long time ago - and he deserves any break he's taking)

Fri Feb 17 2012 1:42PM Report
Samhael writes:

Didn't know who this guy was and don't care. Most of the vaunted story in SWTOR gets pretty old pretty fast and I'm just spacebarring through.

Fri Feb 17 2012 3:26PM Report
synn writes:


1) the story is one of the best things about swtor. The only complaints ppl usually have about the story is not being able to just skip it completely because its time consuming.

2) decreasing subs is part of the rollercoaster for MMOs. Until they release another quarterly report no real way to know for sure what the sub numbers are.

3) who care if he's leaving/retiring to start on something he wants to do. This happens all the time also. The only difference is that the spotlight is on him now because he not only worked for BW but spent about 3 years working on swtor.


Fri Feb 17 2012 5:49PM Report
Zarthorn writes:

Actually Drew was always a pretty big player at Bioware so this is a sign of how bad things have become if he has decided to "up sticks".

Bioware has always prided itself on delivering some of the best story driven content in the RPG genre and no question, SWTOR does continue this tradition in some respects, but also falls flat in others.

The JK story is amazingly well written for instance and a Joy to play, however when you try a different story such as the Troopers it feels terribly generic and rushed.....and don't even get me started on the Smugglers ending (I won't spoil it but try not to be too disappointed).

This all points to the paymasters putting far too much pressure on the story writers, obviously Drew could not stomach working under the conditions EA were imposing anymore and couldn't stand to see Biowares name torn to pieces (as it is currently being by a growing number of players because of how poorly the game is being managed) so he has got out before the ship truly sinks.


Best of luck to him and in all honesty best of luck to Bioware, they are not exactly in the most enviable position right now and EA are not making there lives any easier it seems.

Fri Feb 17 2012 5:51PM Report
PhredJonz writes:

I don't think it's that obvious.  I've left companies where I was a pretty big player before to follow my dreams.  I left one just because I felt like moving to Austin at the time.  He could have just as easily decided that he wants to open a hash house in Amsterdam so he quit for that reason.  Making assumptions about such things is silly and dangerous.

All software is rushed to market these days.  Development is a cost center and sales is a profit center.  It's business.  Windows 7 was rushed to market.  Oracle Collaboration Suite was rushed to market.  It all is.  It's a shame that things can't be perfect when we get them, but it comes down to money and revenue.  That extra quarter spent polishing could mean closing doors and sending everyone home.

So, I wish him luck with his hash house in Amsterdam and I'm a little hesitant to say the ship is going to sink here because one guy on a team of a lot of people decided to pursue other options.  Heck, my company's CTO decided to go to a start up last month, but that's because it was his dream, not because our company is a terrible place and we're going to sink.  

Fri Feb 17 2012 7:17PM Report
BarCrow writes:

Man. Fuck the man and his own desires..he should just stay at Bioware reardless of the apparent doom that is coming to everything they touch. its unheard of for someone to leave a long time job in order to better himself of make life changes most people only wish they could enjoy. harrumph! When will the human race jsut learn to stay put...root themselves into a pure rote lifestyle and let the people in charge tell them what is best.   Its not like he has a dream of his own ...or anything.

Fri Feb 17 2012 10:32PM Report
troublmaker writes:

The author of a book series will work on a book in a vacation-type setting with no real pressure to finish it.

An author working for Bioware has a deadline and is working in a studio environment.  The gaming industry is VERY unfriendly to authors.

Sat Feb 18 2012 2:55AM Report
Eliandal writes:

  People need to learn to read, or at least comprehend what they're readfing.  He's still writing books for Bioware.  I'd think if it were as apocalyptic as some claim - he'd be on his own ;P

Sat Feb 18 2012 7:35AM Report
cjm3 writes:

But people just LOVE to find anything they can to rip on every game out there, especially one as hyped as SWTOR was. Glancing through the comments and threads about Drew K leaving Bioware, reading about how "it's the end of the SWTOR world", it's part entertaining, part annoying.

I choose to take it at face value, he wanted to leave to focus more on his own writing, his OWN stories, not always having to write novels based on Bioware games. There certainly wouldn't be time for him to do that by staying at Bioware.


Sat Feb 18 2012 7:53AM Report
Toto020 writes:

@ Eliandal , seeing as I addressed the concerns of the original atricle why would you cal me a troll?  I questioned the integrity of the Author and MMORPG as a valid journalistic site for this article...

@ Synn, are you trying to agree with me?

@ BarCrow  , Nobody made any assertion of the sort.

In the end, this article is about someone leaving a division of a company that is going through a change and any changes will be scrutinized.  Similar to any major sports franchise, when a player leaves or is traded rumor mills and implications will be spread out up until the company can sort it out...

Sat Feb 18 2012 11:16AM Report
HurricanePip writes:

This blog is kinda like the forum poster who wants everyone to get along.  However, it's business and people leaving never indicate something good.  Ok, never is an absolute, but in many cases, top people leaving a company doesn't indicate something good.

Also, everyone said Blizzard would be fine after being bought out by Activision.  Yes, they're still making money hand over fist, but I wouldn't say that they're half the game company they used to be.  A good business ... sure.  A good game company?  Meh.

Sun Feb 19 2012 9:35PM Report
daltanious writes:

If he is man behind quests in swtor, this will be big loss. Awesome job they did. I'm simply not sure how will return from time to time to wow and rift now that does not have voiced questing.

Never played more immersive game then swtor and quality of quests AND for sure being voiced create this. Not only, voice acting is impressively good. And is present in whole game, not just starting area as in AOC.

Doing same areas with 8th alt and still questing is very fun and I'm rarely using spacebar or just from time to time.

True, being fan of SW since first movie, ads a lot to immersion they created with voiced acting and environments.

I never like to see any game as "killer" of any other game. That is sick. If I enjoy some game I have no ill, morbid, ... wish this would kill some other game many enjoy. But i'm sure swtor is destined to be for some time 2nd most subbed game. Then will see.

Mon Feb 20 2012 2:46AM Report
Xstyles writes:

Who is this man? and why should we care?

I don't recall seeing a good Bioware game since Baldur's gate 1+2

Mon Feb 20 2012 10:15AM Report
shava writes:

Meh.  If it said that he left for "family reasons" I'd believe they had some kind of screaming cthuloid altercation and hated one another.  That's the usual reason given in politics when something goes badly pear shaped anyway. :)

But seriously, how many creatives stay in one place more than X years?  We are "renaissance souls" as the cheesy biz self help book says, we bounce around.  It's no condemnation of anyone on any side, and no blessing either -- it's part of the ecosystem, and probably good things and bad things for everyone.

The thing we do know is that fans **love** to bitch moan and gossip. 

Keep calm and carry on.



Tue Feb 21 2012 10:50PM Report
zahir123 writes:

Drew should be the one, in charge not Daniel Erickson, Im not sure how BW screw up that badly putting such guy in charge of Creative department.


Wed Feb 22 2012 1:55PM Report writes:
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