25 April 2019
Roleplaying veteran James Ohlen to head up development
Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast has founded a new studio focused on creating original games outside of its flagship RPG and collectible card game.
Based in Austin, Texas, the studio will be led by James Ohlen, a 20-plus-year veteran of video game development whose many credits include work on Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights, two seminal 1990s computer RPGs set in D&D’s Forgotten Realms universe.
During a 22-year stint at video game developer BioWare before his departure last year, Ohlen also contributed to other acclaimed roleplaying games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Dragon Age: Origins.
Despite Ohlen’s experience working with D&D-based titles, Wizards of the Coast confirmed that the studio would be committed to developing brand new IP outside of both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering.
Commenting on the new studio’s direction to Gamesindustry.biz, Wizards CEO Chris Cocks said that the games produced by the team may be standalone releases, with expansions and tie-ins as part of a wider series or universe not necessarily guaranteed.
“Our first step is to build a franchise that will endure, like Magic and D&D, and we'll figure out the right platforms for that world to express itself over the years to come,” Cocks said.