For several years now, I’ve been a big BioWare fan.
I can remember the first time I ever played one of their games. If memory serves me right, it was Icewind Dale. I didn’t think much of the company at the time, but I also wasn’t really much of a gamer. They had made a good game, I enjoyed it, and I moved on.
Then I played Knights of the Old Republic, and everything changed.
From then on, I was a massive BioWare fan for two reasons:
1 – They made story and character driven games I wanted to play.
2 – They set their games in universes I wanted to explore.
Then I discovered Drew Karpyshyn, lead writer on the Mass Effect games, was also writing novels set in the Mass Effect universe.
I was exceptionally excited to discover this as I browsed my local book store looking for something to read on an extended road trip with my then-girlfriend. I picked up Mass Effect Revelation, a novel detailing the events between Saren (the rogue Spectre from the first game) and the then Lt. Anderson. I was hooked on the universe and Drew’s writing.
And so, it is with great pleasure and not a little fanboy-ing , I present to you a short Q&A Drew was gracious enough to do for us. I hope you enjoy reading his answers as much as I did, and please don’t forget to check the links below to his personal website as well as his Twitter feed!
GI: What lead you to the gaming industry, and how did you end up with BioWare?
Drew: It was really just a case of being in the right place at the right time.
After several years in banking, I decided to go back to school to work on
my Masters in English. While I was there, I noticed an ad in the English
Department newsletter looking for writers to work on a Dungeons & Dragons
game for a local video game company. Coincidentally, I had also just sold
my first novel, Temple Hill, which was set in the same D&D universe as the
game. So I applied, and based on my sample submission and my upcoming
novel, BioWare hired me.
At the time I figured it would be a small bit of freelance work, but
BioWare offered me a full time job and things just took off from there. I
left school and never did finish my Masters degree, but I have no regrets.
GI: What was it like to get to work on the Star Wars: Expanded Universe both in gaming and novel form?
Drew: I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I saw Episode IV
during its original theater run when I was only seven, and I dressed up as
a jawa for the next three Halloweens. So getting a chance to actually work
with the Star Wars franchise was an incredible, dream-come-true type
The great thing about Star Wars is it combines the best parts of both
fantasy and sci-fi, so it appeals to me on multiple levels. And the
Extended Universe is so vast and varied that it gave me and the rest of
the BioWare team the freedom we needed to tell many different stories to
appeal to all sorts of fans.
GI: Where did you draw your inspiration from for Darth Bane?
Drew: Darth Bane originally appeared in the Jedi vs Sith comic series from Dark
Horse, so I didn’t create the character. In that story he was a minor
character mostly lurking in the shadows and the background, but he had a
major impact on the story line – most of the last third of the first Bane
novel is a retelling of the story from that comic series. But I decided to
bring the shadowy character of Bane to the forefront, and explore his
particular dark side philosophy.
I drew on some of the Sith material we used in Knights of the Old Republic
and combined it with some elements of Nietzsche’s philosophies and just
ran with the character.
GI: If you could pick one squad member from KOTOR or Mass Effect to play a
round of golf with, who would it be, and where would you play?
Drew: The where is easy – Augusta National, where they have the Masters every
year. I’ve never been there, but I can’t think of anywhere else – on any
planet – I’d rather play. The who is trickier. I’d be worried about
characters with the Force or biotics using their powers to get an edge; I
know I wouldn’t hesitate to nudge a ball into the cup if I had those
abilities! I guess I’ll go with Mordin from the Mass Effect series; slow
play drives me nuts, and at least I know he’d play fast!
A big thanks to Drew for answering our questions. We appreciate it, especially with the final question. I highly enjoyed the answer. Mordin would be a great guy to hang out with, especially if you can keep up with his thought process. Which I doubt any human could.
If you want to keep up with what Drew is doing you can find him at his Twitter feed and website. Links are detailed below!