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Dragon Age creator Mike Laidlaw departs Ubisoft after just a year

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Veteran game designer says he doesn’t know next move yet

a publicity photo of Mike Laidlaw, who wears glasses and has a beard
Mike Laidlaw
Photo: Jerome Bourque/Ubisoft

Mike Laidlaw, the Dragon Age designer who joined Ubisoft Quebec as its creative director in 2018, is leaving the studio after a little more than a year there.

Laidlaw announced the move in a brief tweet that thanked the “talented and welcoming folks” at the studio for his time there. “Now to take stock and figure out what’s next!” he added.

Ubisoft Quebec’s last published game was 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, before Laidlaw arrived. When Laidlaw joined, he said he would be working on a “not-yet-announced project.” At E3 2019, Ubisoft announced the open world role-playing game Gods & Monsters, with Ubisoft Quebec developing.

Originally set for a February 2020 launch, Gods & Monsters was pushed into Ubisoft’s next fiscal year, which begins in April, after the poor reception for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint caused a company-wide soul-searching about making games that seem a lot alike.

That culminated in an editorial team shakeup, reported in mid-January. That affected a unit that worked out of the Ubisoft Paris headquarters, not Quebec City or any other studio. But it was meant to give the company’s franchises more distinct identities by putting them in the hands of more than one or two tastemakers.

Laidlaw joined Ubisoft Quebec in December 2018 after a year spent consulting with that studio and other developers. He left BioWare in October 2017 after more than 14 years with that studio. Laidlaw was well known for his work on Dragon Age, where he was the lead designer on the first three games and creative director of the franchise overall. He also had credits on the Mass Effect series and 2005’s Jade Empire.