Former BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw said in a recent interview he would love to give his contribution at CD Projekt RED as part of the team now working on Cyberpunk 2077, the much-anticipated role-playing game in development by the makers of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
He had this to say about his relationship with the Cyberpunk property, which many of you know has become hugely popular thanks to a role-playing game when video games were still something quite up in the air, or at least not as common as they are today.
“I’m a giant Cyberpunk nerd, straight up, Neuromancer is my favorite novel of all time. Like, William Gibson could write on the stall of a bathroom and I would make a small pilgrimage there,” he told Game Informer. “For the most part, moving to Poland and moving my family, and that kind of stuff, would be exceptionally challenging but Cyberpunk’s always had a draw.”
Talking about the relationship between him as a former developer at BioWare and CD Projekt RED, he recalled when CDPR used the Dragon Age maker’s Aurora Engine to build the first chapter in The Witcher series.
“[I hear from them] On and off. It’s not like we can go and grab a coffee since Poland is far away. But when I see them at conventions I tell them their games are absolutely fantastic and usually, they reply with the same thing,” he said, explaining he had some friends at the Polish software house.
“CD Projekt RED licensed from Bioware the Aurora engine, which was the Neverwinter Nights engine, to do The Witcher one. A lot of people forget that and are like ‘Oh, you guys must hate each other because fantasy!’ and I’m like ‘No, man! No. I get to play their game and I don’t know how it turns out. That sounds awesome!’.”
Also, he explained that he doesn’t see much sense into comparisons between The Witcher and Dragon Age since “they make different games”, one more solitary and the other party, strategy combat based somehow.
“A lot of people are like ‘The Witcher is better’. Sure – unless you want a party and the other things that make Dragon Age stand out as unique. They make different games. We had to lean into tabula rasa characters since you can be a Qunari or an Elf, a male or a female, all these player characters are different, whereas they had the advantages and disadvantages of having a fixed player character in Geralt which led them to dig into his story, his relationships and so on.
Frankly, I think it’s to the industry’s benefit. If we all make the same game it would kind of suck. I think we need Divinity, we need The Witcher, we need Skyrim.”
Dragon Age 4 is said to be in the making at BioWare, but of course, the process isn’t involving Laidlaw as he recently left the company after his contribution on Inquisition, and as lead writer on Jade Empire, and lead designer for Dragon Age and Dragon Age II.