Game Reviews

Good Luck Drew!

As some of you may know Drew Karpyshyn, one of BioWare’s writers, has announced his retirement. He will be focusing on his own writing projects and I wish him all the luck! You can read Drew’s blog post about this or check out his impressive bibliography. He already has an extensive body of work, including several Star Wars and Mass Effect novels.

Also I want to give congratulations to the Mass Effect 3 team for going gold. A huge accomplishment and a long, exciting journey for many on the team. I can still remember when the franchise was just a “what if”… pleased that it has had such success.

And if you don’t know what ‘going gold’ means, you can read about it here.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


  • Robert

    Bad news about Drew (though hopefully good news for him!) – I thought the writing in ME1 and KOTOR was outstanding, and it’s a pity BioWare couldn’t sweeten the deal enough for him to stay. I wish him all the best for the future, and I’ll certainly be watching his writing.

    On the subject of ME, have you played the latest demo? Can you still enjoy video games generally (ie switch off ‘professional’ / critique mode and suspend disbelief enough to lose yourself in them) and if so, is it harder to do that with a BioWare game, knowing the faces behind all the code?
    Take care,

  • Brent Knowles

    I haven’t played the ME demo.┬á
    I can still enjoy videogames but I really don’t have a lot of time to play anymore (oddly I’m busier now than when I worked at BioWare). Mostly I play ‘smaller’ games. And generally with my kids.
    I do try to avoid BioWare stuff now. When I play a game I want to be able to talk about it on the blog but generally anything I say about a BioWare game gets twisted about — which is unfortunate because I consider many of my former coworkers friends.
    So I spend my energy elsewhere.
    Have you played the demo? Thoughts?
    – Brent

  • Robert

    I did play the ME3 demo, even though I have no intention of playing the actual game. Since the direction change advocated by Christina Norman, I’ve found the franchise has little appeal for me. If I want a properly good shooter, I’ll play Battlefield 2 or Modern Warfare. Also the writing seems have taken a dip for the worse since Drew turned his attention to SWTOR. The demo had ridiculously long cut scenes, more fully fledged shooter mechanics, and noticeably different pacing and complexity compared to ME1. If they had kept ME1’s RPG elements (maybe with slight refinements to inventory etc) and story depth, I would be counting down the days to March 6! I might still be convinced after the mainstream reviews have been and gone, and positive ‘regular’ user reviews start coming up on forums, metacritic etc.

    I admire and respect your position on commenting about your former friends’ work – a rare quality these days. In my field, 15 minutes after you’ve handed in your security pass, you start getting blamed for things you were never even aware of!

    Do you plan on ever making any time to play a little bit of Skyrim or the Witcher 2? Or can you say a word or two about the last (non BioWare ofc) game you enjoyed?

  • Brent Knowles

    I do want to play both those games but they are time sinks (Skyrim specifically from what I’ve heard). I always seem to have a dozen or so side projects on the go and never time to sit down and play. If I get the chance I’ll definitely post comments.
    As for recent games I’ve played they’ve mostly ┬ábeen little games, stuff I play with the kids (i.e., the LEGO series of games).┬á

  • Robert

    It would be great to hear your thoughts as a developer on what Skyrim does well, and where it could be improved. Are you looking forward to any 2012 releases (aside from off-limits ME3, ofc) enough to consider buying?

    In terms of writing, you mentioned some time ago that you would find it interesting to write for a game. Would that not be less enjoyable because you’d have to shoehorn your ideas into the limitations of the art, engine, creative vision etc? Also, is it not harder to write something that has multiple intersecting plot permutations, ie the whole thing becoming an exercise in logic more than creativity?
    Take care,

  • Brent Knowles

    Not really looking forward to any games in 2012… honestly haven’t been paying too much attention to gaming things in a while.

    In regards to writing for a game… definitely the constraints placed by art/engine and so on could dampen the enjoyment of the actual writing. I think the trade-off, which would of course need to be balanced, was what I thought I might get out of the opportunity. Working with a great team or working on a product that had the potential for greater exposure might make it worthwhile. Working under a tight deadline or inflexible constraints would lessen that. And definitely writing various permutations can be frustrating (though also enjoyable in its own way… I’m a programmer too so working “logically” has some appeal to me).

    I think I’d only seriously consider something like this if it were the right product under the right circumstances with the right team. Or I was paid in gold bars.

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