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Ex-BioWare dev James Ohlen heading up new Wizards of the Coast studio

Ohlen retired from BioWare after 22 years last July, saying that he planned to “take a break from the industry and work on something a little more smaller and more personal.”

Wizards of the Coast has tapped James Ohlen, a longtime BioWare developer and one of the minds behind games like Knights of the Old Republic and Dragon Age: Origins, to lead a new studio the company plans to open in Austin, Texas.

Ohlen previously spent 22 years at BioWare before departing the company last July. He worked on a number of the prolific RPG developer’s best-known games, including some based on Wizards of the Coast-owned IP like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights.

The new, unnamed studio is due to be based out of Austin, Texas and will develop games in a new, original IP that Wizards of the Coast notes is outside of both its Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons brands.

When departing BioWare, Ohlen had noted that he planned to “take a break from the industry and work on something a little more smaller and more personal,” but his plans have changed in the last nine months.

“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 Ohlen in a statement. “Our mutual love of RPGs, world-building, and interactive storytelling is a perfect match.”

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