BioWare fires vital Dragon Age writer, among others

  • EA-owned BioWare says it has laid off approximately 50 employees at its studio.
  • Among those fired was lead writer Mary Kirby, whose work has been vital for the Dragon Age series as whole.
  • Kirby joins a series of high-profile departures from the company since its latest game Dragon Age Dreadwolf has been in production hell.

The creator of Dragon Age and Mass Effect, BioWare said on Wednesday that it was laying off approximately 50 employees, further stoking concerns around the already-beleaguered development of the studio’s highly anticipated upcoming title Dragon Age Dreadwolf.

Among those let go in the latest wave was veteran BioWare lead writer Mary Kirby.

According to her LinkedIn, Kirby has been at BioWare since 2006 and for the last 17 years has lent her talents to some of BioWare’s most notable games. Including Star Wars: The Old Republic, as well as Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, and Dragon Age Inquisition.

Notably, Kirby is the lead writer behind the entire culture of the Qunari, as well as the Chant of Light – the main religion of the series. She is also the writer of the dialogue and story of Varric Tethras, one of, if not the most popular companion in the series.

Just how important she was to the narrative of Dragon Age Origins was exemplified by a post she made on X in 2019, showing an early version of the dialogue tree she worked on of the Landsmeet, the penultimate moment of the game

Her departure provides a black mark on the next phase of Dragon Age, in whose DNA her contributions will always exist.

She joins a spate of other high-profile departures from the company in recent years. Casey Hudson, the creator of Mass Effect, left the EA-owned developer in 2020. He was joined by Mark Darrah, one of the executive producers of the Dragon Age series.

In 2021, Matt Goldman, who was a creative director on the Dreadwolf development team, also departed the company. Most recently senior writer Mac Walters, who worked on every major BioWare title as a 19-year veteran, left the studio in January.

“In order to meet the needs of our upcoming projects, continue to hold ourselves to the highest standard of quality, and ensure BioWare can continue to thrive in an industry that’s rapidly evolving, we must shift towards a more agile and more focused studio,” explained BioWare general manager Gary McKay in a blog post about the recent layoffs.

“If you’re wondering how all of this will impact development of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, let me be clear that our dedication to the game has never wavered. Our commitment remains steadfast, and we all are working to make this game worthy of the Dragon Age name. We are confident that we’ll have the time needed to ensure Dreadwolf reaches its full potential,” McKay adds.

How this will be possible as the studio continues bleeding its top talent is the big question, especially as the game has reportedly been in development since 2015 and all BioWare has to show for it is some story trailers.

Unfinished gameplay of Dreadwolf leaked in February, including screenshots of Mass Effect-like third-person action gameplay, and a very Destiny 2-like UI. No official gameplay has yet to see the light of day. As it stands, things are not looking good for the future of the once-lauded RPG series.

Thank goodness we have Larian Studios to fill the void in our hearts.

[Image – Dragon Age on YouTube]


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