If I had to name the greatest achievement of writing in human history, I would say that honor should go to the person responsible for the character HK-47 in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I think developer Beamdog might agree with that.
The studio announced this morning that it has hired writer and game designer David Gaider as its new creative director. Beamdog is responsible for the recent Enhanced Edition versions of Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, and Icewind Dale. The developer is working on Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear now, and Gaider is one of the people uniquely qualified to ensure that a sequel to that classic PC gaming franchise has a strong chance to remain authentic to its predecessors. We are in something of a renaissance period for PC-style role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate. Industry veterans like Brian Fargo — developer of Fallout — has spearheaded to bring back beloved franchises like Torment and Wasteland with megasuccessful, multimillion dollar crowdfunding campaigns.
Now with Gaider, Beamdog is in a position where it can say to fans of Baldur’s Gate that it has a person central to the success of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights games. The studio is so aware of Gaider’s importance that it actually gave him a promotion before he even started.
“Dave asked me about the writer job we had advertised,” Beamdog chief executive officer Trent Oster told GamesBeat. “We had a coffee. We upgraded the role to Creative Director to match his skills.”
Oster had worked directly with Gaider previously on the Hordes of the Underdark expansion for Neverwinter Nights, and it was that first-hand experience that convinced Oster and Beamdog that Gaider was the right person for the job.
“I had a huge level of respect for his writing and his ability to create interesting and engaging characters,” said the executive. “This really helps accelerate my plans for world RPG domination.”
And Gaider’s history in the industry is one that would impress most gamers. In addition to the Baldur’s Gate games, he has worked as a writer and designer on beloved RPG releases like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age: Origins, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. For Gaider, teaming up with Beamdog is an opportunity to return to his roots.
“I recall my days working on Baldur’s Gate II and the Throne of Bhaal expansion very fondly,” Gaider said in a canned statement. “Thus, when the opportunity arose to become creative director for a company which lives and breathes that style of gaming, how could I refuse? Not that it was an easy decision to leave BioWare behind, as it truly was not, but Beamdog has exciting plans and I’m thrilled to now be a part of them.”
This is a big move for Gaider, who leaves one of the biggest publishers in the world to join what amounts to a small upstart outfit. But he is clearly passionate about the genre, and that was likely what drove his decision.