Drew Karpyshyn, the veteran game writer of titles like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire and a foundational contributor to the Mass Effect series, has left Bioware. Again.
In 2012, after Karpyshyn concluded foundational work on the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, he left the studio to write a trilogy of fantasy novels called Chaos Born. After which, he returned to the studio to resume work on The Old Republic, helping to direct its post-launch development.
"I know a lot of you are wondering why I'm doing this," Karpyshyn wrote on his website. "For many people, working at BioWare would be their dream job and they can't imagine anyone stepping away from it. But it was time for me to move on.
"Everyone who works at BioWare pours their heart and soul into the games they are making. It's creatively demanding and - at times - exhausting. In the past, I've managed to juggle outside projects with my work at BioWare, but it always took a toll. And there were always outside projects I had to pass on because they would represent a conflict of interest with BioWare or EA properties.
"So I made the decision to step back (again) and focus on my freelance work. I'd love to say more about the novel(s) I'm working on, or my graphic novel project, but those details will have to wait a while."
Karpyshyn isn't leaving gaming entirely though. He's working closely with a new studio, Fogbank Entertainment, which is a part of 21st Century Fox's expanding game division, FoxNext. Karpyshyn said he was "very excited" to be part of the Fogbank team but couldn't say what he's working on.
Fogbank is a 20-person studio in San Francisco run by Daniel Erickson, a founder of BioWare Austin, the studio that oversees Star Wars: The Old Republic. Erickson worked at BioWare for several years before leaving in 2012. Former Bioware lead writer Alex Freed is also at Fogbank. Freed left BioWare in 2012.
"I'm sure people will read more into this statement than there really is," Karpyshyn added, "but there's not much I can do about that. I know some people are going to dwell on the past, but that's not my style. I'm looking to a bright future, and I hope at least some of you will enjoy where this journey leads!"