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David Gaider claims BioWare "quietly resented" writers

Before he left during Anthem development in 2016.

Former BioWare veteran David Gaider has criticised his former studio for its evolving approach to video game narrative, up until his departure from the studio in 2016, amidst the troubled development of multiplayer shooter Anthem.

In a string of posts on Twitter, Gaider said video game writing was "constantly undervalued" - even so at BioWare, which in Gaider's words "built its success on a reputation for good stories and characters".

"[It] slowly turned from a company that vocally valued its writers to one where we were... quietly resented, with a reliance on expensive narrative seen as the 'albatross' holding the company back," Gaider wrote.

Anthem gameplay featured a focus on repeatable combat missions, with narrative typically consigned to a revisitable hub.Watch on YouTube

"Maybe that sounds like a heavy charge, but it's what I distinctly felt up until I left in 2016," he continued. "Suddenly all anyone in charge was asking was 'how do we have LESS writing?' A good story would simply happen, via magic wand, rather than be something that needed support and priority."

Eurogamer has contacted BioWare for comment.

Gaider is best known for his work on the Dragon Age franchise, and played a key part in dreaming up its world. He worked on each entry in the series so far - as well as various spin-off novels and comic books - though did not contribute to the series' upcoming return in Dragon Age: Dreadwolf.

Gaider's final game for BioWare was Anthem, the studio's poorly-received play for the multiplayer shooter market. Gaider contributed to the game's early vision before he left the studio mid-development in 2016. Anthem ultimately released in 2019 to middling reviews.

BioWare's boss at the time of Gaider's departure, Aaryn Flynn, departed the company himself a year after Gaider, to be replaced by returning head Casey Hudson - who himself left a year after Anthem's release in 2020.

BioWare has since recommitted to its roots, releasing the Mass Effect: Definitive Edition trilogy remaster and promising that Dragon Age Dreadwolf will be a strictly single-player affair, following earlier plans to include multiplayer elements. The studio is also early in development on its next Mass Effect game, which will feature at least one familiar face from the series' origins.

Gaider, meanwhile, has gone on to build upcoming musical RPG Stray Gods at Summerfall Studios, the studio he co-founded in 2019. Eurogamer chatted with Gaider at length last year as part of our Pride Week 2022, where our Bertie chatted to him about his work on Dragon Age and original plans for the series that never saw light of day.

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