I guess James Ohlen isn’t totally out of game dev quite yet. After announcing his retirement in July of 2018 and then going on to open a Kickstarter for his own D&D adventure book, Ohlen has been selected by Wizards of the Coast to be the head of a new game studio opening in Austin, Texas, and has confirmed that the studio will be working on a new IP.
Details are understandably sparse at this point, considering Ohlen’s tenure at Wizards of the Coast won’t begin until this May. Even so, details from VentureBeat reveal that this new game will not be from the worlds of Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, or Ohlen’s own projects at Arcanum Worlds.
We’re also not sure whether this new game will be on PC, console, or mobile. All we do know is that Ohlen will be heading up the entire thing and he seems pretty jazzed about it. “My plan was to spend several years away from the industry and just focus on doing the books, [but] they really impressed me with the culture,” Ohlen is quoted as saying in a phone interview. “They were offering me an opportunity to come to work on the kind of personal projects that reminded me of my first five years through decade at BioWare.”
WotC president Chris Crocks is similarly effusive, according to quotes in an email interview. “James is probably responsible for half of my favorite games of all time, so we’re giving him space to imagine new worlds and characters that he’d like to explore,” said Crocks. “We think James is the perfect choice to build new brands outside of our core franchises.”