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The Wizards of the Coast has announced that they hired veteran a game designer to lead their new Texas studio. The former lead designer of Knights of the Old Republican and the Dragon Age: Origins worked with BioWare for decades.
After 22 years, Ohlen bid goodbye to the company in July last year. Among the projects where he is credited were Jade Empire, Neverwinter Nights, and Baldur’s Gate.
Ohlen previously said he plans to work on something “smaller and more personal” when he departed from BioWare. He also wanted to take a break from the gaming industry. He said he never thought of returning to the industry so soon after he departed from BioWare.
However, Ohlen said the opportunity to work with Wizards is “once-in-a-lifetime.” He also admitted that he shares “mutual love” for building worlds and using interactive storytelling with Wizards. He described that their love for RPGs “is a perfect match.”
A rep was quoted on reports as describing the Texas studio as a “multimedia” one. It’s also assured to provide space to create “different expressions.”
GamesBeat also quoted Chris Cocks as saying that Ohlen will be given space to “imagine new worlds and characters.” Cocks is the Wizards of the Coast president.
The studio is still unnamed but it will be based in Austin, Texas. So far, reports have confirmed that the studio will develop games using a new intellectual property. It has nothing to do about the Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering brands, though.
Gaming analysts are seeing that the project will be something tied to the Odyssey of the Dragonlords. This is actually a fifth edition adventure book which blends Greek mythology with classic fantasy. It is still in the works, but it is Ohlen’s publishing venture.
Ohlen created it last year with his former colleagues at BioWare, Drew Karphyshyn and Jesse Sky. Based on the Kickstarter post, the group has initiated a campaign to raise $50,000 for it. The post said the project will only be funded if it successfully reaches its goal by May 16.
But, in just a week, the campaign has gathered almost quadruple the amount of the target. So far, it has got 3,694 backers.
This publishing project was mentioned by Ohlen when he left BioWare. He said he wanted to work on a game he loved called Dungeons and Dragons. Turned out that it will be the Arcanum Worlds.
Whether the new project will take the Odyssey of the Dragonlords or not, the new studio in Texas sounds exciting.
WIZARDS OF THE COAST