22-Year BioWare Veteran Leaves To Work On Smaller Projects

James Ohlen is out.

26 Comments

BioWare has lost one of its most veteran developers. James Ohlen, who had been with BioWare for 22 of the company's 23 years of operation, has retired from the RPG studio.

In a post on Twitter, Ohlen said he "loved" his time at BioWare where he most recently worked on the new IP Anthem. As for why he's leaving, Ohlen said, "I need to take a break from the industry and work on something a little smaller and more personal."

In another tweet, Ohlen said the projects he had the most fun with at BioWare were Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, for which he served as lead designer, as well as Neverwinter Nights. "I've been a D&D fanatic since I was 10 years old," Ohlen said. In his post-BioWare life, Ohlen will stay in the fantasy space. He's collaborating with another former BioWare creative director, Jesse Sky, on the book Odyssey of the Dragonlords. A "mystery" writer is also working on it.

Ohlen's list of credits at BioWare is extensive. In addition to Anthem, he was the creative director and lead designer on Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic, according to GI.biz. He also worked on BioWare's acclaimed Dragon Age franchise.

BioWare's new game, Anthem, is coming early next year for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Unlike many other BioWare games, it's an always-online, multiplayer-focused shooter with limited dialogue options. We saw it and played it at E3 and we came away impressed--check out the video above to learn more.

In addition to Anthem, BioWare is working on a new Dragon Age game, but it has yet to be formally announced.

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SofaJockey

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22 years is a good run. Inb4 some foolish 'this proves BioWare is dead' comments. Oops, too late... ;-)

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Soliaired50

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Probably for the best considering where EA is going with BioWare.

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ixidjfrizzixi

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Translation: I’m tired of making games like everyone else that are a gimmick and clone. I want to games that are story first.

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Hagan

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good for you dude. glad he could get out of that shithole and work on something he is passionate about and enjoys instead of shilling crappy SJW projects.

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PlaystationZone

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Edited By PlaystationZone

Good for him getting out soon can because EA games shut that down very soon .

BioWare know dead it’s control by EA Games .

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Pupchu

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Thats right! Get out while you still can, Ohlen.

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asnakeneverdies

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Edited By asnakeneverdies

So, Anthem sucks and BioWare's doomed. That said, of course they had the most fun in their DnD days, it shows in the games, which got progressively suckier thereafter. However, who could've foreseen it would end like this?!

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gamingdevil800

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Edited By gamingdevil800

You should update the article thumbnail with a derpy Sara Ryder face.

2 • 
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KillzoneSnake

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Bioware does not exist, it is basically EA now. Bioware is dead just like Mass Effect.

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Martin_Pagan

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@KillzoneSnake: I wonder how many times this will have to be repeated for people to finally realise that BioWare is nothing more than just a label now and has been since the acquisition by EA.

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asnakeneverdies

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@nibbin1191: The most painful thing is watching you lose the faith, Nibbin. #FoxInterrupted

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Barighm

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@Martin_Pagan: It's even official. In all legal documents Bioware is referred to as EA Edmonton, but EA stated way back when that they're going to keep calling it Bioware purely for PR purposes.

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BigDaveX

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@nibbin1191: Assuming the company survives long enough to actually make another game in the series, my guess is that the next entry will be Dragon Age Online. EA are surely gonna be wanting a slice of the fantasy MMORPG pie sooner or later.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@bigdavex: They already have their MMO in The Old Republic. It did okay, but not great enough to warrant another attempt. The MMO fad is dying down.

We're much more likely to see something like GTA Online. EA is such a follow-the-leader company I can't see them NOT doing a GTA Online clone at some point. Heck, they probably already did.

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illegal_peanut

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@nibbin1191: Or, they could have a really nice and polished product. That obviously spent 100% of development time on graphics and gameplay, and 0% on the story, and characters.

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illegal_peanut

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@nibbin1191: True. That's actually a little more realistic then What I was thinking. Which I thought they were going to do the same thing they did to Battlefront EA.

Then I remembered: That Battlefront plays almost exactly like battlefield. that's why it was so polished with the gameplay.

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daleksec1977

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Another nail in the coffin for Bioware

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Martin_Pagan

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@daleksec1977: At this point I'm not even sad about this.

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SyntaxKT

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Bioware was at its best when the founders were there. I remember reading that they would buy out seats at movie showings once in a while to treat the whole team. I would imagine these days it's more of a grind to work there and the developers might not even be that passionate to work on a loot based shooter vs the more rpg heavy stuff they did back in the day.

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illegal_peanut

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@syntaxkt: Well that's pretty much how it goes. When you're very close to your team. You end up being one big happy family. Instead of a group of men, and women trying to get a paycheck. There is this bond like no other. Like a group of heroes in TV show or book.

But, once a big business leader takes over. He/she will pretty much make the job as joyless, and painful as possible. All to maximize profits at all costs. No matter what it is; buying cheaper quality products for the workers, Only using sponsored gear, Getting rid of those days where they feed the employees, cutting back on work parties, or getting rid of them entirely, getting rid of time off, getting rid of payed time off, heck even shortening deadlines.

It's actually really, really sad.

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santinegrete

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I wonder if he felt alienated working in Anthem.

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