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.