After 10 years and two canceled projects, former Dragon Age director says he's "confident" his promising new game about giant bosses "will get out the door"

Eternal Strands
(Image credit: Yellow Brick Games)

Following two canned projects and a decade of corporate mishaps, Dragon Age's former director is "confident" that his self-published game will see the light of day. 

Mike Laidlaw made his name working at developer BioWare for more than a decade - with writing and design credits on classics like Jade Empire and Mass Effect - before he was promoted to lead the Dragon Age series. Unfortunately, Laidlaw's tenure at the storied RPG studio ended once an early version of Dragon Age 4 was canceled.

Laidlaw then moved over to publisher Ubisoft where another project of his was also scrapped, inspiring him and three other developers to co-found a new studio, Yellow Brick Games, to work on a new game, the recently revealed Eternal Strands

That means Laidlaw's games have, unluckily, not made it across the finish line for more than a decade since Dragon Age: Inquisition in 2014, but the director reckons his upcoming monster-hunting action title will fare better, despite a publishing deal with Private Division falling through. 

"You accept it as part of the realities of games," the director said in an interview with Bloomberg. "They're not all going to ship… That is something you sort of make your peace with." When it comes to Eternal Strands, however, he's "confident the game will get out the door."

In an industry that's currently plagued with mass layoffs and frequent studio shutdowns, what makes Laidlaw so positive? Yellow Brick Studios is reportedly only employing around 70 people, which is a relatively low staff count compared to the hundreds of developers that push EA or Ubisoft games out.

"Because the overall team is small, the relationships feel a lot more personal, and communication is a lot more direct," he said. "There's a lot of upside." And, encouragingly, Laidlaw is more focused on sustainability and making sure the team wants to continue making games after Eternal Strands is released.

As Obsidian veteran Josh Sawyer recently stated, burnout has "replaced crunch as the primary hazard of the game industry."

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.