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.
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.— James Ohlen (@JamesOhlen) July 12, 2018
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 https://t.co/412NLtStkx to see what I'm talking about.— James Ohlen (@JamesOhlen) July 12, 2018
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 😉 https://t.co/uhUqy4Y6rf— James Ohlen (@JamesOhlen) July 12, 2018