“[I]t was the early days of Star Wars: The Old Republic that I was really involved hardcore in the story design, game design, and all that,” he says. “I just wanted to get back to designing stories and designing games and doing things that I’m passionate about. When I look back at my career, the most fun I had from a professional standpoint was when I was designing stories, levels, worlds, and the game itself.” The bigger teams of BioWare weren’t leaving him the kind of space he wanted. “Working on the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I was the game director, which meant I had the most power, but I often felt like I was the captain of the Titanic and I could just steer it a teeny tiny bit if I put all my efforts into it.”
He also reassures those worrying about the impact on Anthem by downplaying his role there, as well as pointing out that BioWare’s work on Anthem doesn’t mean the studio is giving up on the kinds of games that, well, make BioWare what it is. And then he dismisses the idea that Anthem was EA’s idea and that BioWare is toast if Anthem fails. “BioWare is a lot different than all the other aspects of its business, so even if Anthem doesn’t do as well – and I think it’s going to be great – but if it doesn’t do gangbusters, I don’t think that’s the end of BioWare,” he says. “I think it will simply be a chance for BioWare to learn some lessons and apply it to the next game that comes out.”
Finally, there’s an interesting section on SWTOR too when Ohlen is asked what he regrets most.
“With Star Wars: The Old Republic I wish that I pushed a little bit more toward making it kind of Knights of The Republic Online rather than Star Wars World of Warcraft. A lot of the feedback that we got when Star Wars: The Old Republic got when it came out was, “Hey, we wanted Knights of the Old Republic Online,” something that was more similar to that than a game that was more traditional in the World of Warcraft sense. I can see where that was coming from, but I am still proud of where Star Wars: The Old Republic got to.”