When James Ohlen retired from BioWare final yr, he mentioned he wanted a break from the trade. Talking with GamesIndustry.biz this week, the lead designer of video games like Star Wars: Knights of the Previous Republic and Baldur’s Gate says he initially meant to step away from video video games for a number of years, however has been lured again forward of schedule by Wizards of the Coast.
That supply was to run a brand new Wizards of the Coast growth studio primarily based in Austin, the place Ohlen was already residing. And though Ohlen has a storied historical past with Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons property (He held key design positions on Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, and Neverwinter Nights), this new studio has a mandate to concentrate on creating unique mental property.
When requested concerning the influence workaholic management can have in shaping a studio’s tradition, Ohlen says he is conscious of the implications, and has been reaching out to buddies, friends, and mentors like BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk for recommendation. He provides, “By way of setting the tradition, I actually thought that the tradition of BioWare is one thing I need to mannequin my new studio after. They did an ideal job.”
As for the lengthy-time period imaginative and prescient for the studio, Ohlen stated he is “fairly positive” Wizards of the Coast desires it to be a AAA developer sooner or later, however provides that there is no set purpose for the way large the studio will get or a timeline for when it should get there.
As for Wizards of the Coast’s pursuits, Cocks provides a number of particulars, noting that the corporate is taking the identical strategy with Ohlen’s studio and its unique IP because it takes with its different manufacturers. Basically, whereas the corporate’s experience in pen-and-paper position-enjoying and buying and selling card video games could possibly be delivered to bear on no matter authentic franchises the Austin studio creates, model expansions and tie-ins are usually not a foregone conclusion.