'Baldur's Gate' designer James Ohlen leaves BioWare after 22 years

The industry veteran is leaving video games for Dungeons & Dragons.

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James Ohlen might not be a household name, but if you love video games, you might have played some of the titles he helped create. He became a full-time designer to work on the original Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II back in the '90s, and he has since worked as lead designer and creative director for various projects, including Star Wars: The Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic. Now, the industry veteran has announced that he's leaving BioWare after 22 years of working for the company. In fact, he's taking a break from video games altogether to embark on "something smaller and more personal" -- a publishing company focused on creating Dungeons & Dragons adventures, in particular.

Ohlen said the most fun he's ever had in the industry was working on Baldur's Gate back in the late '90s. He said he's been a D&D fanatic since he was a kid and that it's time to be part of it again. In his tweets, Ohlen linked to his new project, which describes itself as a "a publishing venture formed by a small group of passionate veterans from the video games industry." For his first book with the new company called Odyssey of the Dragonlords, he's working with fellow SW:TOR designer Jesse Sky.

While his departure will surely be a loss to BioWare, it seems fitting that he's leaving the company for a D&D-related reason. According to GameInformer, the developer's founders, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, first heard of him, because he ran two legendary D&D campaigns with lengthy waiting lists.


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