Wizards of the Coast just issued a press release announcing a new creative studio that will be based in Austin, Texas and will be headed by James Ohlen, whose previous credits include being the lead designer of the Baldur's Gate series.
James Ohlen worked as both a lead designer and senior creative director at Bioware for twenty-two years, where he worked on games such as Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age: Origins, and Mass Effect. Ohlen left Bioware in 2018 to form his own publishing company called Arcanum Worlds, which recently released an adventure for the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons called Heroes of Baldur's Gate.
“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,” said James Ohlen. “Our mutual love of RPGs, world-building, and interactive storytelling is a perfect match.”
“We’re extremely excited to have someone like James join the team at such a critical time in Wizards’ evolution” said Chris Cocks, President of Wizards of the Coast. “James 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 most interesting statement in the press release issued by Wizards of the Coast is that the studio headed by Ohlen will be working on something that isn't involved with either Magic: The Gathering or Dungeons & Dragons, which are easily the two biggest properties produced by the company. It seems that Ohlen won't be working on anything related to the Baldur's Gate series, which is sure to disappoint a lot of fans.
The press release also never outright states whether the development studio will be working on video games or tabletop RPGs. Ohlen's comments about returning to the industry suggest the former, but there is never direct confirmation that the new studio will be working on a video game.
The statements in the press release say that Ohlen's studio will not be working on a new project related to Dungeons & Dragons, but it's possible that they will be working on some kind of multimedia experience that involves both video games and the tabletop games. Ohlen just released Heroes of Baldur's Gate, which is a campaign for the tabletop version of Dungeons & Dragons, yet involves characters and content from the video games. It's possible that Heroes of Baldur's Gate will be the forebear for what his studio is working on.