Many Bioware RPG titles are a household name to some gamers. Baulder’s Gate 2, Jade Empire, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect are just a few. One developer in particular that gamers have to thank for bringing these titles to life is Mike Laidlaw, who announced his departure from Bioware over on Twitter this week. Although he does not list a specific reason for leaving, he wants to “[reconnect] with all the amazing games and worlds that [his] peers have created.”
— Mike Laidlaw (@Mike_Laidlaw) October 12, 2017
Laidlaw’s first stint in the gaming industry stretches back to 2000 with Bioware and Interplay Entertainment’s Baudler’s Gate 2. A while afterwards, Laidlaw went on to work on Jade Empire as a lead writer. Laidlaw, being an open member of the LGBTQIA+ community, helped create a place of diversity in the gaming industry by helping create bisexual characters within Jade Empire. Afterwards, he went on to be one of the writers for the 2007’s first entry into the sci-fi epic, Mass Effect.
His most notable work was with the medieval-fantasy RPG series, Dragon Age, where he was the lead designer and director for all three entries into the series, 2009’s Dragon Age: Origins, 2011’s Dragon Age II, and 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. Along with this, he was also the creative director for all three games and DLC in the series.
Dragon Age: Origins was met with critical acclaim at the time of its release, and the vastness and complexity of the world of Ferelden was praised heavily. Although Dragon Age II was met with lukewarm reactions, critics still agreed that the intricacies of the previous game were still worthwhile in perusing. Laidlaw’s final entry into the series, Dragon Age: Inquisition, was met with more appraise than its prequel, and it had the inclusion of multiple LGBT characters. One character is an openly trans man, and another is an openly gay man. These steps towards more inclusion in gaming were met with much praise from the LGBTQIA+ community and opened up a new realm of possibilities for LGBT characters.
Although it is sad to see Mike Laidlaw’s departure, his future endeavors are sure to bring many surprises to fans.