James Ohlen, the former BioWare designer, is having a big Dungeons & Dragons month. His Kickstarter Odyssey of the Dragonlords has raised $228,000 already and there are about three weeks still left to run. Odyssey of the Dragonlords is a 5e setting based on the myths of ancient Greece.
Wizards of the Coast, the owners of D&D, have announced that they’ve hired Ohlen to head up a new design studio based in Texas. He’s already worked on titles like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Night, Jade Empire and Dragon Age so he must have been an attractive hire for WotC.
Ohlen told Gamesindustry.biz;
I had pretty well turned down most opportunities for interviews to get back into the industry, but I talked to Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks and he gave me a scenario that was very intriguing and interesting, so I flew up to Seattle and sat down with Wizards of the Coast for six hours of interviews. It was like the scene out of The Godfather where it was an offer that was too good to refuse.”
That too-good-to-be-true offer is to work on new ideas; not D&D. The goal of the studio is to work on new titles outside Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. Wizards of the Coast don’t want all their eggs in just two baskets.
Chris Cocks told Gamesindustry;
Our first step is to build a franchise that will endure, like Magic and D&D, and we’ll figure out the right platforms for that world to express itself over the years to come,”
We think our strength is in creating fun, detailed worlds that players and our community want to immerse themselves in. Obviously, we have a rich lineage in tabletop and trading cards, but what our focus on is developing a world that people will care about and then figuring out which platforms let people connect with it in the best possible way for them.”
The clues seem to be pointing towards Ohlen going back to his core competency as a computer game designer. Wizards of the Coast are talking about platforms. Time will tell.
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