The man behind some of the industry’s most compelling narratives in Dragon Age: Inquisition and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has decided to leave BioWare.

David Gaider is the writer who crafted some of the best stories in RPG history over the past two decades, and his work at BioWare has been a contributing factor in the studio’s continued success. Unfortunately, Gaider took to Twitter to announce today that he would be leaving his position at BioWare after seventeen years:

“Some news: I must sadly announce that, after 17 years, today is my last day at BioWare. I’ll miss my team, and wish everyone here the best.”

Gaider’s career started back in 1999, when he worked on Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn. His work on that title soon opened the door for Gaider to take on some bigger roles: Gaider wrote some of gaming’s most memorable characters, including HK-47 from the critically acclaimed Star Wars RPG series Knights of the Old Republic, before being given the lead writer role on Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark.

Perhaps David Gaider’s biggest contribution to gaming, however, was his decision to design a fully gay party member for the first time in video gaming history. Gaider, who is openly gay himself, wrote Dorian in Dragon Age: Inquisition as part of a personal effort on his part to make games a much more inclusive environment for fans of different backgrounds, beliefs, and sexualities. He also wrote for Dragon Age: The Silent Grove, which was a companion comic for the series published by Dark Horse Comics.

Over the past five years, BioWare has now sustained two massive losses to their widely praised writing staff. First, Drew Karpyshyn, lead writer of Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic, retired after twelve years at BioWare in 2012. Now the writing team will have to fill another big hole, as writers like David Gaider, both talented and bravely pushing to drive story-telling in gaming forward, are certainly difficult to replace.

For those wondering whether or not the decision to leave was made by Gaider, he confirmed in an e-mail to Polygon that it was. Gaider also had some kind words regarding his former employer, stating:

“It was indeed my decision [to leave], one not made easily since BioWare’s been very good to me, and the parting is amicable…it’s simply time to move onto a new challenge.”

david gaider interview dragon age

Gaider added that “as to where I’m headed next, that announcement will come in due time”, fueling speculation that the much sought-after writer left BioWare in pursuit of another project elsewhere. While that remains to be seen, whichever developer is lucky enough to pick up Gaider will instantly be expected to create a game with an imaginative and engaging narrative, and even BioWare might have at least one game that Gaider wrote for left: rumors circulated last year that Gaider was one of several writers working on a secret BioWare IP that has yet to be revealed.

Did you enjoy David Gaider’s work on titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Knights of the Old Republic? What do you think this means for the existence or production of BioWare’s secret new title? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Twitter (via Polygon)