Wizards of the Coast to open up a new gaming studio

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As much as we live in an entertainment world dominated by video games, I still have a deep appreciation for classic board games and pen and paper role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. There is something quite magical about using your imagination and playing with other humans that is more dynamic than what a video game can offer. However, I’ll be honest and admit that it’s also great to just play these kinds of games online by yourself, though for a while the world hasn’t really had a decent, licenced DnD game worth playing.

Expect that to change though as Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast, following the success of their Magic: Arena online game, want to delve more into the digital gaming market and are opening up a new gaming studio in Austin, Texas with the intended purpose of developing games for all new IPs – and not DnD or Magic The Gathering. They aren’t taking any chances either as they have roped in former BioWare veteran James Ohlen (writer for Dragon Age: Origins, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Neverwinter Nights, and the Baldur’s Gate series) to head up the new studio and help bring these exciting new games to life.

They aren’t taking any chances either as they have roped in former BioWare veteran James Ohlen (writer for Dragon Age: Origins, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Neverwinter Nights, and the Baldur’s Gate series) to head up the new studio and help bring these exciting new games to life.

After stepping out of video games for a while to create Arcanum Worlds, a publishing venture that focuses on stories in the DnD world, Ohlen is returning to the gaming world where he shared his excitement about the new venture and possibilities that lie ahead:

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. Our mutual love of RPGs, world-building, and interactive storytelling is a perfect match.

It’s not clear yet exactly what type of games they are hoping to make and whether the studio will try and return to the classic BioWare games of old that told rich single-player stories in the DnD world or perhaps something a little more online-oriented with the aim of bringing people together through an online portal. Something which Chris Cocks, the president of Wizards of the Coast, only gave a vague clue about as to the direction of the studio:

James [Ohlen] brings experience in creative direction and studio leadership that will prove important as we look to develop compelling new experiences that engage gamers all over the world.

The role-playing mechanics of DnD have stood the test of time and with recent revisions by Wizards of the Coast only making it even better. It’s definitely time that we got a decent game based on these mechanics. What I’m most excited about though with this new venture is the possibility of a great story. It’s one thing to have a solid role-playing system in place, but the real drawcard for games like this are the stories, something which Ohlen’s earlier games were so good at. If we can get a similar experience with the latest core-edition rules of DnD and a shiny new coat of graphical paint, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast could have another big studio on their hands.

Last Updated: April 30, 2019

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