Mike Laidlaw can still remember his first day at BioWare, even though it was over 15 years ago. He even remembers the date he answered the phone and found out he had got the job: 23rd December 2002. Laidlaw was used to answering the phone; at the time he was working at Bell, Canada's largest telecommunications company, in the province of Ontario. When Laidlaw first joined Bell's call centre, he worked the phones. Later, he got promoted to lead a team on the phones, "which was somehow way worse than being on the phones," Laidlaw told me last March, the day after his star turn at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. "I went in and said, I'm sorry, I'm quitting. I'm not coming in tomorrow. They said, 'you can't quit two days before Christmas! If you quit you'll never work here again!' I said, 'that is pretty much the plan, yes.' So I walked out, and a bunch of people high-fived me because - yay! - I got out."
Mike Laidlaw still remembers his first day at BioWare - and, 15 years later - his last. A lot happened in between.
Combat is the biggest challenge to DAII's engine...
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Microsoft has announced the latest additions to its list of backward-compatible Xbox 360 games on Xbox One: BioWare's divisive RPG sequel Dragon Age 2, and Volition's delightfully outlandish open world adventure Saints Row 2.
Mike Laidlaw, the creative director of the Dragon Age series, has announced his departure from BioWare, where he's worked for 14 years.
When BioWare moved from Dragon Age 2 to Dragon Age: Inquisition, something was lost. It was an expansion called Exalted March.
We didn't know about Exalted March until BioWare canned it, and we weren't told why it was dropped. But we assumed; we assumed BioWare wanted to get away from the negative reaction to Dragon Age 2 and onto something new ASAP.
"But not so!" Dragon Age creative director Mike Laidlaw revealed on Twitter last night. "It was the move to Frostbite.
UPDATE 09/02/2015 7.50pm: Beamdog CEO Trent Oster offered the following statement about Gaider's recent employment at the studio:
David Gaider has announced his departure from BioWare after 17 years working there.
When BioWare finished work on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003) and second Neverwinter Nights expansion Hordes of the Underdark (2003), two separate teams began work on two separate new games. One was a science fiction game that would become Mass Effect, and one was a fantasy game that would become Dragon Age.
Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare has turned 20 today, but it doesn't look a day older than 19.
Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider has moved onto "a new, upcoming BioWare project" and left Dragon Age behind.
BioWare's Dragon Age Keep aims to consolidate everyone's previous-game choices on one interactive web platform, and make world states - save files - importable to Dragon Age: Inquisition on any platform.
The writer of Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon reckons it'll be a while before we see a gay protagonist in a triple-A video game.
Remember all that hullabaloo about revealing lesbian sex in Mass Effect? However ludicrous the criticism, it's the sort of steamy content BioWare fans have come expect - love stories, love scenes, and often quite daring and progressive ones (for video games, at least).
Jennifer Hepler, the BioWare writer harassed by fans for her work on Dragon Age 2 - and for comments made years earlier about wishing to skip combat sections in games - this week left the famed RPG studio to work on a book and pursue some freelance work.
UPDATE: EA has told Eurogamer it is in the process of eliminating Online Pass from all its existing titles.
There's a role-playing game sale on PlayStation Network today with some enticing deals.
Look at them, EA!
BioWare adventures are known for their romances. It's one of the first thing players talk about with their friends; "Who did you go for?"
David Gaider has worked at BioWare for 14 years. He first helped make Baldur's Gate 2 and now he's lead writer of the Dragon Age series of games. He's a part of the old BioWare and the new.
Update: EA has announced that Dragon Age 3 will arrive in late 2013, which presumably makes PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 likely candidates - although platforms were not specified.
"Lots of questions RE: platforms!" echoed BioWare community coordinator Tully Ackland on Twitter. "We are not talking about them at this moment in time."
Original story: BioWare has just announced Dragon Age 3: Inquisition.
EA COO Peter Moore has given BioWare a vote of confidence after perhaps the most tumultuous year in the developer's history.
BioWare has addressed the importance of gamer feedback in the wake of the Mass Effect 3 ending furore and the company's recent request for fan suggestions on the future of its Dragon Age series.
Aveline. If there's something special that I took away Dragon Age 2, something I really want to share with others or hold up as an example of what made the game worthwhile, it's Aveline. The travelling companion turned colleague turned captain of the guard was one of the very best examples of a strong, decent, uncompromised and well-rounded female character in gaming in a long, long time. I'm glad I adventured alongside her, I cared very much about what she had to say and her support meant a lot to me. That's pretty impressive for a collection of polygons and voice samples.
BioWare has called on fans to voice their opinions on where its Dragon Age RPG franchise should go next.
BioWare's Dragon Age team held a PAX East panel at the weekend to share ideas for a "completely hypothetical project" that you can more-or-less take to mean a work-in-progress, and unannounced, Dragon Age 3.
Post-release work on Dragon Age 2 has ceased and the entire team repositioned on "the next phase of Dragon Age's future", BioWare has announced.
Origin auto-adds EA games bought from rival digital platforms such as Steam, gamers have noticed.
You-hoo, PC gamers, there's a juicy sale going on over at EA's digital distribution shop Origin.
While the next game in the Dragon Age series will stay true to the format laid down by its predecessors, it will also draw on outside influences, including Bethesda's Skyrim, according to BioWare boss Ray Muzyka.
BioWare will offer multiplayer either in or around Dragon Age 3, according to an insider-based report on Kotaku.
EA has recommitted to having third party games on Origin and, in a dig at rival service Steam, talked about how to treat other publishers.
Dragon Age 2 will welcome new downloadable content pack called Mark of the Assassin on 11th October.
The next Dragon Age game will probably allow you to swap your follower characters' armour, BioWare has revealed.
Deals on Bulletstorm DLC, an XBLA release for Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike and new content for Dragon Age 2 head up the latest Xbox Live content schedule.
The Dragon Age 2 Legacy DLC shows BioWare is listening to fan feedback, the developer has said.
BioWare has admitted surprise at just how polarised fan response was to its recent RPG sequel Dragon Age II.
EA did not remove Dragon Age 2 from Steam - Valve did.
Dragon Age 2 has been removed from sale on Steam.
FPS sequel Crysis 2 has now sold in three million copies worldwide, publisher EA has announced.
Portal 2, Dead Space 2 and Dragon Age II, meanwhile, have all broken the two million mark, while FIFA 11 nears 15 million units and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 nine million.
The numbers come from EA's fiscal Q1 earnings report, which saw the publisher log non-GAAP net revenue of $524 million, down slightly from $539 million this time last year. Digital revenue was picked out as a highlight though, increasing 11 per cent to $209 million.
Out next week on PC, PS3, Xbox 360.
Dragon Age 2 downloadable add-on Legacy launches on 26th July, EA has announced.
It costs 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox 360, 800 BioWare Points on PC and Mac, and $9.99 on PlayStation 3.
BioWare described Legacy as a "major, story-based DLC".
The Xbox 360 Achievements for the Dragon Age 2: Legacy downloadable add-on, which BioWare plans to unveil at the San Diego Comic-Con, have leaked online courtesy of Xbox360Achievements.org.
Some criticised game show E3 2011 for its focus on sequels, but for one game developer they're a good thing.
That developer is BioWare, creator of Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, the third game in the science-fiction shooter role-playing series.
"There are a couple of reasons why sequels are actually good in the games business," BioWare boss Greg Zeschuk told Eurogamer.
BioWare plans to release downloadable content for Dragon Age 2 it hopes will address some of the feedback it received from core fans.
EA has admitted it "lost some fans" with the release of fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age 2.
A cryptic BioWare tease.
BioWare has rubber stamped development of Dragon Age III.
BioWare has released three new item packs for Dragon Age II.
A new Dragon Age II patch has gone live for Mac and PC users, BioWare has announced.
Available from the developer's official site now, the 1.02 update fixes a number of bugs, improves general performance and limits crashes.
BioWare also revealed that the update is on its way to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 too.
Any gamer who buys – or has already bought – Dragon Age II can claim a free PC download of Mass Effect 2, developer BioWare has announced.
Crysis 2 is EA's biggest UK launch of 2011, sales-counter GfK Chart-Track has revealed.
That means the 8/10 shooter developed by Crytek has enjoyed a bigger opening weekend than Dragon Age II, Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm and Fight Night Champion - the games EA has already released this year.
Crysis 2 topped the UK all-formats chart this week, selling a 57 per cent majority on Xbox 360. The remaining 43 per cent was split 29 per cent on PS3 and 14 per cent on PC. Remember, digital sales aren't counted, which excludes Steam and its ilk.
BioWare writer David Gaider has launched an impassioned defence of the romance system in fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age II after a player accused the developer of neglecting "the Straight Male Gamer".
The full Dragon Age II patch 1.01 has been released on PC.
That means Steam users can now download the file which, among other things, fixes a voice over problem when switching languages in the Steam version of the game.
The patch notes for 1.01 suggest nothing has changed from the beta version - they're exactly the same.
BioWare's Facebook game Dragon Age: Legends is now available for all to play, EA has announced.
BioWare has rushed a patch out for Dragon Age II on PC that updates the game to version 1.01.
Fixed are saved games for single-core processors, DAII asking for non-existent drives, release control issues and voice over issues when switching language on Steam.
The only problem with the latter, wrote BioWare on its forum, is that this patch can't be used on Steam yet - it's in beta state and Valve won't allow untested files to be handed out to its customers.
More copies of Dragon Age II were sold on Xbox 360 across UK shops than any other platform - by far.
Chart-Track told Eurogamer this morning that Xbox 360 commanded 57 per cent of the total, whereas PS3 managed only 22 per cent.
The remaining 21 per cent was attributed to PC. Chart-Track doesn't count digital sales, such as those made on Steam.
Beefy BioWare role-playing game Dragon Age II has completed its UK quest and topped the all-formats video game chart.
Combat is the biggest challenge to DAII's engine...
Dragon Age II's exposition scenes compared using DF tools.
A member of the BioWare Social Network has had his account suspended for 72 hours for referring to EA as the devil.
BioWare has more Dragon Age II downloadable content besides Exiled Prince and Black Emporium "in the works" - and we're promised "beefier" experiences than were offered for Dragon Age: Origins.
Forget Dragon Age II, what about Dragon Age 3 - has BioWare started work on that?
BioWare's epic fantasy romp Dragon Age II arrives today and there are bugs - "two biggies", lead designer Mike Laidlaw told Eurogamer.
His team is "aggressively patching" these and hopes to offer fixes "as soon as humanly possible".
"There's been a few minor [bugs] and a few technical hiccups on PC. The two biggies that I'm aware of - that we're looking at aggressively right now - are on PC there seems to be some compatibility issues with DirectX 11," said Laidlaw.
No more hype: Dragon Age II has landed and the reviews are in. "An enduring classic?" asked Eurogamer's Dragon Age II reviewer Dan Whitehead. "Not quite." He might as well have said, "An enduring classic like Mass Effect 2?" It's BioWare's own fault; if Mass Effect 2 hadn't been such a thunderous realisation of what Mass Effect started, perhaps we wouldn't have expected the same from Dragon Age II. And then there are the people miffed because they really liked Dragon Age: Origins and why did BioWare have to go and change it? I want Baldur's Gate II, stamp stamp.
BioWare's big launch just hours away.
Down in a dank dark dungeon.
Introducing a brand new party member.
After 45 hours of bloody combat, fraught conversations and shameless attempts to have sex with elves, Dragon Age dumps me back into the real world with the comforting ping of an Achievement unlocked for good measure. The friendly lozenge contains just one word: "Epic". It's not wrong.
Dragon Age II is a big game. Not in the usual sense of lengthy playing times and sprawling maps (though it's no slouch in those departments), but in terms of its ambition and storytelling.
This is a game with a lot on its mind, a game that wants you to feel the weight of history, both ancient and personal, pressing down on you with every decision you make. It wants you to live through a story that spans a decade, taking you from penniless refugee to beloved champion.
PC gamers looking for a little extra definition from their copy of fantasy RPG Dragon Age II can download a high resolution texture pack, developer BioWare has announced.
Last week's Dragon Age II demo from BioWare is well overdue for some Digital Foundry analysis, but we do so with some caution - while demos are usually highly representative samples of the final game, the company's Mass Effect 2 PS3 effort turned out to be significantly different from the quality of the retail release. Also, while a PC version of the demo is available, it's been cut down and misses so many high-end features that we thought it best until final code arrived before we looked at that one in any depth.
Digital Foundry tools analyse BioWare's DAII sampler.
A 1.3GB single-player demo for Call of Duty: Black Ops can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store today. It coincides with arrival of the Black Ops First Strike Map Pack (locked until tomorrow), which costs £11.49 and measures 1.4GB.
PixelJunk Shooter 2 also arrives today (7/10 Eurogamer), as does old PSone game Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
There's a lorry-load of DLC to bolster your games with, as revealed by the EU PlayStation Blog, even some for Dragon Age II, which isn't out until next Friday.
Dragon Age II's campaign is shorter than Dragon Age: Origins' – but it's longer than Mass Effect 2's.
Gamers shouldn't feel intimidated by the RPG genre, so says Dragon Age II developer BioWare. They might not know it, but they already have the necessary skills to jump in and have fun.
Grammy Award winner Florence + The Machine are on the Dragon Age II soundtrack.
Demos for Dragon Age II, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars and Yakuza 4 headline today's PlayStation Store update.
Both DAII and LEGO:SWIII are 1.5GB files, so leave yourself plenty of time to download them.
New games (free to trial) are Alien Breed 3: Descent (7/10 on Eurogamer), TNT Racers (7/10 on Eurogamer) and The Undergarden (7/10 on Eurogamer). What do you mean we favour a certain review score over others? Where is your evidence?
BioWare has moved to calm concern that it has dumbed down the Dragon Age experience with the second game in the series, insisting combat is more tactical this time around than it was in the first game.
Hawke this way.
The Dragon Age II demo can be downloaded right now from Xbox Live Marketplace.
If one million users download the impending Dragon Age II demo, two new in-game items will be unlocked, developer BioWare has announced.
Starring an Elven Felicia Day.
Felicia Day, star of comedy World of Warcraft Xbox Live series The Guild, plays an elf in an upcoming Dragon Age II live action mini-series.
If you can get your bottom to London on 19th February, you can meet the stars of BioWare, Crytek and Slightly Mad studios - and play their games.
If there's a series less suited to preview events than Dragon Age, I'd like to see it. Actually, I'd like a colleague to see it instead.
Dragon Age II offers more than a racy bedtime love scene - one clip shows a woman on her knees before a man, evidently intent on performing more than a simple prayer.
Our German colleagues at Eurogamer.de have just received a press release from Electronic Arts confirming a Dragon Age 2 demo.
It's out 22nd February on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
That's a Tuesday – we assume it'll launch on the European PlayStation Store a day later on Wednesday 23rd February.
BioWare has clamped down on rampant Dragon Age II demo speculation.
"The demo is not 'confirmed'," stated Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II lead writer David Gaider on the BioWare forum.
"We have made no official announcement.
Update: I made some errors while reporting this story. Thank you to the people who pointed them out. I'm sorry. The gist of the story still stands.
All non-Steam versions of Dragon Age II on PC will require an online check "after a select period of days".
Complimentary Facebook game Dragon Age Legends will unlock two rings, two amulets and a belt in Dragon Age 2.
BioWare fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age 2 has a whopping 103 minutes of cutscenes.
Arise, Sir Issac of Clarke.
All EA's games are friends, which is why a code is being included in Dead Space 2 that will unlock armour in Dragon Age 2.
BioWare talk Dragon Age 2 story.
The first piece of meaningful Dragon Age 2 downloadable content will be called The Exiled Prince, EA has revealed.
BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have been inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame alongside videogame greats such as Shigeru Miyamoto, Peter Molyneux and Yu Suzuki.
In Dragon Age 2, fighting can be handled one of two ways, either as a fast and fluid action RPG or as a stop-and-start strategical RPG.
BioWare gets fired up.
Soldier Aveline Vallen is the latest key character to be unveiled for Dragon Age 2.
Latest diary with new footage.
You think you have trouble keeping up with all the games coming out? BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka spends up to three hours a night on games and still thinks that's not enough.
Claws for thought.
Splattered with sexy blood and fairly creaking under all of that carefully-crafted history, Dragon Age was a decade in the making. The sequel, on the other hand, has been in development for a couple of years at most.
Update: A Dragon Age Legends website is up. You can sign-up to beta test the game there.
BioWare's upcoming fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age 2 will feature a downloadable content platform similar to Mass Effect 2's Cerberus Network.
Pre-order Dragon Age 2 before 11th January and you'll receive a free upgrade to the game's Signature Edition, developer BioWare has announced.
You can't import Dragon Age: Origins characters into Dragon Age 2, but your old saves will shape the world you play in.
BioWare has announced plans to wrap up all add-ons and DLC packs released for Dragon Age: Origins into one tidy package.
BioWare's mammoth role-playing sequel Dragon Age 2 and People Can Fly's thousand-mile-an-hour shooter Bulletstorm will both be playable at the Eurogamer Expo 2010.
The BBFC - Britain's game-rating body (at least for now) - has outed an Ultimate Edition of Dragon Age: Origins.
We strongly advise against reading the things people write about you on the internet. It is, as Peter Mannion once said on The Thick of It, "like opening the door to a room where everybody tells you how s*** you are." Nevertheless, emboldened by the hugely positive response to Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare has been on forums seeking inspiration for the sequel.
First screens from gamescom.
Scaling new heights.
BioWare has dated Dragon Age 2 for Europe.
The camera in the PC version of Dragon Age 2 "likely" won't zoom out as far as the camera in the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins, developer BioWare has said.
BioWare has corrected an error-riddled IGN preview of Dragon Age 2, explaining that there are more than three dialogue choices per conversation.
BioWare has whittled Dragon Age 2 conversation choices down to three.
Yesterday, BioWare co-founder Dr. Greg Zeschuk delivered a keynote presentation to the Develop Conference in Brighton entitled Creative Game Development: How we do it at BioWare. In it, he discussed BioWare's rise from being two men in a Canadian garage to the triple-A developer it is today.
Dragon Age 2 will be released in March 2011 on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, EA has confirmed.
Update: The Dragon Age 2 website has been updated with an exciting bullet point list of new features. We've copied them.
Embark upon an all-new adventure that takes place across an entire decade and shapes itself around every decision you make.
Determine your rise to power from a destitute refugee to the revered champion of the land.
BioWare has said that Dragon Age 2 is in development and the developer's official Twitter suggests that a proper unveiling is due today.
Yesterday the EA-owned studio listed "Dragon Age 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2009's 'RPG of the Year' Dragon Age: Origins," in the boilerplate regarding current projects as part of its announcement about taking control of Warhammer Online servers.
Separately, the BioWare Twitter said "2morrow will be a great day for BioWare fans. Just sayin'," at about 1pm PST / 9pm BST yesterday.