Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect Veteran Departs BioWare After 22 Years
After 22 years in the industry, BioWare developer James Ohlen announced his departure and future endeavors. His work included high-profiled projects as designer and writer for such series as Dragon Age Origins, the Mass Effect trilogy, Baldur’s Gate, and SWTOR. He’s had a diverse array of experience under his belt including time with Knights of the Old Republic and more recently, Anthem. However, after more than two decades of dedication, Ohlen revealed his retirement from the studio via Twitter:
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
Ohlen has his sights set on other projects, ones more intimate and personal unlike triple-A IPs such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect. “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,” he explained. “Please visit [Arcanum Worlds] to see what I’m talking about.”
Throughout the show of support in the comments section, he reveals his work with a “publishing ventured” called Arcanum Worlds. Working alongside former BioWare creative director Jesse Sky and “several talented artists,” he’s on board to develop a tabletop adventure titled Odyssey of the Dragonlords. Here’s a summary of the source book based on Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition:
Even the gods are bound by oaths and prophecies… At the dawn of time, a war between gods and titans left the landscape of Thylea forever changed. Thousands of years later, the first mortals arrived by ship and by dragon.
The Dragonlords were the champions who threw down the titans 500 years ago and forged the Oath of Peace. But the power of the oath has waned, and the titans seek vengeance.
You are one of the heroes called by prophecy to end this conflict once and for all. Poets will sing of your exploits for centuries to come… if you survive to tell the tale.”
Odyssey of the Dragonlords is a fantasy world inspired by the mythology of Ancient Greece, a bountiful and lush world for creative ideas to prosper. Several other talented contributors include writers, environment, character and map creators. The website teases a “mystery writer” as well, a “talented author who lives here in Austin, TX.” Could it be another former BioWare developer as well?
Whoever it will be, the future of Odyssey of the Dragonlords is bright. We’re glad to see Ohlen pursuing his passions and wish him the best in his new endeavors! What do you think of the fact that several BioWare developers have left the company in recent years? Does it speak to a climate within the studio or are these individuals simply moving on? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or start a conversation on DFTG Facebook page. To stay up to date on gaming news as it happens, follow us on Twitter! Here’s some of our latest:
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Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.