The game development industry is one that’s constantly changing as companies see talent come and go. Sometimes they branch out to seek better positions at new companies, while other times they take larger risks and start out on their own. That is certainly the case with Mike Laidlaw and team at Yellow Brick Games.
For those unfamiliar with Mike Laidlaw, he was a prominent creative force at EA Bioware for years. He’s famous for his work on the Dragon Age franchise, but he was also the lead writer for Jade Empire, which is a lesser-known Bioware classic. As you might recall though, it’s been a few years since we’ve had a new Dragon Age game. Sadly, Laidlaw has not been involved in the development of Dragon Age 4 either. At least not in recent years. So, you might wonder what he has he been up to over the past six years.
Quite a lot it turns out, but he didn’t see much in the way of realized content. He left Bioware in late 2017 with few details provided about the departure. He then began a new gig at Ubisoft in 2018 to work on an Arthurian RPG, but that was canceled, which led Laidlaw to depart from Ubisoft as well.
Laying the foundation
Fast forward to 2020 and we now have the announcement that Laidlaw has founded his own studio, Yellow Brick Games. Laidlaw will work with a team of 15 other industry veterans to produce “high-quality titles that put the player experience first.” The team wants to create new franchises, likely with plenty of creative freedom in mind. That’s the joy of going independent, after all.
Yellow Brick Games consists of founders Mike Laidlaw, Frederic St-Laurent B., Jeff Skalski, and Thomas Giroux. The other team members hail from Ubisoft and EA, so it is definitely a solid roster. The team didn’t comment on any future projects, but we will keep an eye out for news in the years ahead.
It’s not uncommon to hear about senior developers deciding they can do things better on their own. When corporations stifle creativity and demand excess work hours, that’s no fun either. It’s good to hear that Laidlaw is getting back on track with doing what he loves and does best. You can learn more about Yellow Brick Games by visiting the official website.