James Ohlen was one of the architects of the 1990s’ Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II video games, along with other classic CRPGs. He has been working for BioWare for over 22 years, but now he’s leaving to publish D&D adventures with his new company, Arcanum Worlds, and their first hardcover sourcebook, the Ancient Greek themed Odyssey of the Dragonlords.
He’s not alone, either. He’s joined by Jesse Sky (Star Wars: The Old Republic). Their website announced their first project,
“… a hardcover sourcebook for the fifth edition of the world’s greatest roleplaying game. This epic adventure is set in a fantasy world inspired by Ancient Greek mythology.”
Ohlen announced this new venture in a series of tweets.
“After 22 years I have retired from BioWare. I’ve loved my time with Anthem, Star Wars, Dragon Age and Dungeons and Dragons. But I need to take a break from the industry and work on something a little smaller and more personal.. The most fun I’ve ever had at BioWare was as the lead designer on Baldur’s Gate 1+2 and NWN. I’ve been a D&D fanatic since I was 10 years old and I want to be a part of it again. Please visit http://www.arcanumworlds.com to see what I’m talking about.
The first book I’m working on is called Odyssey of the Dragonlords. I’m working on it with another former Creative Director from BioWare – Jesse Sky. Plus a mystery writer that I’ve worked with before.”
Game Informer says that BioWare’s founders, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, originally heard of Ohlen when he was running a comic book store and running two legendary D&D campaigns so popular that they had waiting lists.
Ohlen’s credits include Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age: Origins, Baldur’s Gate I & II, Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Jesse Sky worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic, along with three expansions.
The team also has a yet to be announced mystery writer.
So how do I feel about this? Myself I am absolutely over the top with excitement at the chance to get my hands and eyes on what they are looking to develop. The thought that the creators of 90% of my all-time favorite games. Are about to break bad from the video game industry and create what THEY want to produce… It cant get made fast enough!
My only concern when it comes to this project is that because of their background in what I feel is some of the best video gaming projects. That the bar will be set to high just out of expectations. So I ask you, readers is that a valid concern, and are you as excited about the prospect as I am?