KOTOR, Dragon Age: Origins lead designer will lead a new studio for Wizards of the Coast

Dungeons & Dragons company Wizards of the Coast announced today that it is opening a new studio in Austin, Texas, that will be headed up by former BioWare stalwart James Ohlen. Ohlen left BioWare last year after a 22-year career, during which he amassed design and writing credits including the Baldur's Gate series, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, and Dragon Age: Origins. 

"I didn’t think that I would be coming back to the game industry so soon but working with Wizards is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Ohlen said. "Our mutual love of RPGs, world-building, and interactive storytelling is a perfect match." 

What exactly the new outfit will be getting up to hasn't been revealed at this point, but a rep said that it will a "multimedia studio," with "freedom to develop different expressions." Interestingly, and also a little bit disappointingly as a big Baldur's Gate fan, it apparently will not be a D&D project: Wizards of the Coast said the studio "will focus on the creation of original IP outside of the Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons brand." 

One possibility is that it will be related to Odyssey of the Dragonlords, an "epic adventure book" in the works at Arcanum Worlds, a publishing venture Ohlen co-founded last year with fellow former BioWare bros Jesse Sky and Drew Karpyshyn. The company launched a $50,000 Kickstarter to support the book on April 16, and after just one week it's already pulled in almost four times that amount.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.