Wizards of the Coast Announces Sci-Fi Video Game with ex-BioWare Developers

Wizards of the Coast announced they are forming a new video game studio called Archetype Entertainment headed by former BioWare developers James Ohlen and Chad Robertson. Ohlen will serve as the Head of Studio while Robertson will take on the title of General Manager. The debut project from the studio will be an original IP, “set in an all-new science fiction universe that will send players on a story-driven epic where choices they make will have real consequences on how their story unfolds.”

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Ohlen's credits at BioWare include Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect, Anthem, and of course Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate 2, and Neverwinter Nights. Roberts served as Head of Technology for BioWare from 2015 to 2019 and Studio Director from 2017 to 2019. In addition to their video game credits, Ohlen and Robertson also collaborated on the recently released 5e compatible campaign setting book Odyssey of the Dragonlords distributed by Modiphius.

Wizards of the Coast originally announced the formation of this new video game studio in April of last year.
 
Darryl Mott

Comments

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I saw this elsewhere and it did spark a couple of questions for me. Why buy a studio to produce a game that has nothing to do with your current IP? Could this be an indication of expanding into a sci-fi TTRPG game with the video game as a tie-in? Or is this just a way to start establishing a studio to test the waters before doing D&D or Magic based game?

As with all games I'll take a wait and see attitude, but I do enjoy RPG video games. Maybe I'll actually be done with Witcher 3 by the time it's released. So many undiscovered locations! So much video-game-induced OCD! ;)
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I saw this elsewhere and it did spark a couple of questions for me. Why buy a studio to produce a game that has nothing to do with your current IP? Could this be an indication of expanding into a sci-fi TTRPG game with the video game as a tie-in? Or is this just a way to start establishing a studio to test the waters before doing D&D or Magic based game?

As with all games I'll take a wait and see attitude, but I do enjoy RPG video games. Maybe I'll actually be done with Witcher 3 by the time it's released. So many undiscovered locations! So much video-game-induced OCD! ;)
They just launched Magic: The Gathering Arena themselves plus they just announced an M:TG MMO game, then they've got Dark Alliances from Tuque Games (which they just bought) and Baldur's Gate III from Larian Studios. So there's not exactly any shortage of Magic and D&D video games over the next year or three...
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I saw this elsewhere and it did spark a couple of questions for me. Why buy a studio to produce a game that has nothing to do with your current IP
I think the answer to that would be you can never have enough wholly-owned IP in today's entertainment marketplaces.

I'm not sure forming their own studio is the way to go per se, but with the heavy hitters they're hiring it might make a ton of sense because it will give them full control of the end product's quality/story/etc without having to negotiate licensing rights with who's in charge of things.

I'm sure beyond this game, if it's successful, we'll see other products like board games and perhaps a TTRPG based on the IP/setting.
 

Jer

Adventurer
I saw this elsewhere and it did spark a couple of questions for me. Why buy a studio to produce a game that has nothing to do with your current IP?
Because you want to generate new IP rather than just recycling the same IP over and over again? I mean, I hope that's what they're doing because I'd really like to see more "new" ideas getting produced instead of just looking back to properties from the last 50 years and trying to figure out how to "make them fresh" or whatever.

And if they succeed then Hasbro has another property that they can produce toys from, or they can license out to make movies or tv shows or whatever. It's actually in Wizards interests to create new IP and get it out to a wide audience even if (especially because?) their parent company often acts more like an IP management company than a toy and game company these days.

Could this be an indication of expanding into a sci-fi TTRPG game with the video game as a tie-in? Or is this just a way to start establishing a studio to test the waters before doing D&D or Magic based game?
Or - now hear me out - Wizards might have done a lot of financial and market analysis and see the potential to make a lot of money if they were also publishing video games in addition to publishing boardgames, card games, and RPGs. I really hope that's what it is, because if you want to lose a whole lot of money very quickly, one thing you can do is jump into building an entirely new business in an entirely new area that is incredibly expensive to break into - which the video game industry is - without doing your due diligence to make sure that the move is going to be profitable for you if you succeed.

(I know at one time that the video game rights for all of Hasbro's properties were already tied up with contracts that Hasbro had with studios - it may be that's still the case and if so then the reason to create an entirely new property is obvious because it's not encumbered by any rights contracts that already exist).
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Given that nobody on this forum is likely to know the real answer I was just throwing out some random speculation.

It could well be that they just decided to venture into being a way to diversify. Personally I don't see a lot of inherent synergy unless there are further goals that have not been announced yet.

Another way of stating it. I know there are several games coming out, does buying this studio mean they want to bring some of that development in house? Or are they looking to expand other related industries because "it's all games".

I could see something along the lines of a D20 modern/sc-fi tie in, but successful video games probably makes a lot more money, albeit with much higher risk.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Another way of stating it. I know there are several games coming out, does buying this studio mean they want to bring some of that development in house? Or are they looking to expand other related industries because "it's all games".
Just a correction - Wizards of the Coast isn't buying this studio. They're creating it, so it's brand new.

WotC also purchased Tuque Games last year, plus they created Wizards Digital Games Studio as an internal department separate from both companies back in 2017. So this is a move that's been a few years in the making at least.

But they licensed work on Baldur's Gate III to Larian Studios, so they're not trying to move everything in-house as that's a major title. If they were wanting to move all video game development in-house, that would be their flagship. So they don't want to pull everything under the WotC umbrella, just...some projects.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
"...will send players on a story-driven epic where choices they make will have real consequences on how their story unfolds."

Yep, sounds like an RPG, just like every other RPG in the last 25 years that used that very tagline. :p
Hey now! In Mass Effect [SPOILER ALERT] the choice I made had a huge impact. I got a red, green or blue ending that were totally different colors.[/SPOILER ALERT]
 

schneeland

Explorer
Watch your language, please. Profanities edited out.
Hey now! In Mass Effect [SPOILER ALERT] the choice I made had a huge impact. I got a red, green or blue ending that were totally different colors.[/SPOILER ALERT]
Don't forget the marvellous fourth ending that came with the extended cut where they told you: "Don't like are fancy colours? Then xxxxx You lose!"
 
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Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
I wonder if there will be a TTRPG based on this setting.
They would be foolish not to. With multiple Star Trek and Star Wars movies and/or series slated to come down the pipes in coming years, the market for SF-oriented games will only increase.

This said, there's a lot more money in video games than in TTRPGs.
 

ZeshinX

Explorer
Hey now! In Mass Effect [SPOILER ALERT] the choice I made had a huge impact. I got a red, green or blue ending that were totally different colors.[/SPOILER ALERT]
Fine colours, all. Even the fourth, which finally answered the question of "What colour is giving the finger?" :p

It's just a tiny bit of a disappointment that they'd go with that tagline, even this early on, given the volume of creative talent doubtless available to them.

Perhaps it's deliberate, a bit of nostalgimancy to spark the earliest excitement...but given the state of the video game industry and its descent into greedy over-monetization, with giants like Bethesda, Activision/Blizzard and BiowarEA falling to avarice, I find it wise (for myself, for others...to each their own) to remain skeptical of anything coming from that direction...even after release.
 

Gladius Legis

Adventurer
Hey now! In Mass Effect [SPOILER ALERT] the choice I made had a huge impact. I got a red, green or blue ending that were totally different colors.[/SPOILER ALERT]
Careful now, EnWorld has an active BioWarEA Defense Force. You wouldn't want to trigger them or anything ...
 

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