Here is their press release: Wizards of the Coast hires gaming industry veteran James Ohlen to lead new studio:
In an unrelated press release, from April 16th (with no hint of either Heroes of Baldur's Gate or the new job running the Austin branch of Wizards of the Coast, James Ohlen explained why he quit working for BioWare to start up his own tabletop RPG business, called Arcanum Worlds:Wizards of the Coast press release wrote:Wizards of the Coast hires gaming industry veteran James Ohlen to lead new studio
April 24, 2019
Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age lead designer to helm team in Austin
RENTON, WA – April 24, 2019 – Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., today announced James Ohlen will open a new studio based in Austin, Texas. Ohlen, a 23-year games industry veteran whose credits include Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate 2 and Neverwinter Nights, all based on the Dungeons & Dragons universe, will lead the studio’s creative development of new IP.
“I didn’t think that I would be coming back to the game industry so soon but working with Wizards is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said James Ohlen. “Our mutual love of RPGs, world-building, and interactive storytelling is a perfect match.”
“We’re extremely excited to have someone like James join the team at such a critical time in Wizards’ evolution” said Chris Cocks, President of Wizards of the Coast. “James brings experience in creative direction and studio leadership that will prove important as we look to develop compelling new experiences that engage gamers all over the world.”
Wizards of the Coast’s newest subsidiary will focus on the creation of original IP outside of the Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons’ brand.
About Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast brings people together through their shared love of games. Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and other Wizards games are enjoyed by friends around the world, both at gaming tables and on digital platforms. We bring together world-class creators in game design, worldbuilding, fantasy art, and interactive events to create unforgettable moments.
Wizards of the Coast is a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS). For more information, visit www.wizards.com.
He was actually talking about Odyssey of the Dragonlords which is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, in that blog entry. So it's a surprise that just a few days later, a Baldur's Gate adventure appeared on DMs Guild and he got a job running a WotC office!James Ohlen at the Arcanum Worlds website wrote:It was a year ago and I was miserable, despite being the head of the design department for BioWare – one of the world’s premier RPG developers. Twenty years ago, it was different. I loved my job so much that I worked 100 hours a week – not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I worked with a small team of writers and artists to create design documents that would morph into a game within just a couple of years.
In a period of five years, I was the lead designer on Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic. But those days are long gone. Video games now take five years, cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and require teams of thousands to build. My job went from doing hands-on design for the story, the levels, and the mechanics to overseeing a massive department of designers and writers. It wasn’t as fun as it used to be. I didn’t feel fulfilled because I didn’t feel that my passions and talents were being utilized. Despite my position and the influence that came with it, I was depressed.
Which got me to thinking – how do I get back to doing what I love? What if I could return to what I did decades ago, but apply it to the pen and paper games that inspired Baldur’s Gate? It would be a way to give back to the community that inspired my career. Most of all, it would be fulfilling work.
From the age of 11 to 22, I put in an average of 50 hours a week into my role-playing game obsession. Doing the math, I think that means I put 30,000 hours into the hobby. It wasn’t wasted time as the game helped me through some of the hardest times of my life, introduced me to lifelong friends and was the gateway to my career as a game designer.
I thought I’d retired from game-mastering a few years after launching my first video game. When your hobby becomes your career, you want to spend your spare time doing something else. However, the 5th edition of the world’s greatest RPG pulled me back in. Not only was it the best edition of the game yet, but it was an excuse to hang out with my friends every weekend. Playing the game made me want to contribute to the pen and paper version in some manner.