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

Exactly! He worked on Mass Effect, which is pretty much the definition of an ARPG.
It depends on which Mass Effect you mean. ME2 and beyond where much more "action" than ME1.

And frequently, when people talk about ARPGs they mean Diablo clones - classes and levels, but little in the way of meaningful story choices.


"How does this game differ from Mass Effect?" could be the key question - pretty much everything we know about this game so far could just as well describe pre-release Mass Effect.
 
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It depends on which Mass Effect you mean. ME2 and beyond where much more "action" than ME1.

And frequently, when people talk about ARPGs they mean Diablo clones - classes and levels, but little in the way of meaningful story choices.


"How does this game differ from Mass Effect?" could be the key question - pretty much everything we know about this game so far could just as well describe pre-release Mass Effect.
All the Mass Effects are ARPGs, there's just a bit less RPG in the later games.

Story choices etc. have nothing to do with whether a game is an action game or not, a lot of classic RPGs have little in the way of story choices. An ARPG is a game where player twitch-skill is a major factor in playing the game well. They can still have deep stories and meaningful choices, the Witcher series is an excellent example.

I agree that the most likely scenario is that this new game will be very similar in style to Mass Effect, but they might surprise us.
 

Reynard

Legend
All the Mass Effects are ARPGs, there's just a bit less RPG in the later games.

Story choices etc. have nothing to do with whether a game is an action game or not, a lot of classic RPGs have little in the way of story choices. An ARPG is a game where player twitch-skill is a major factor in playing the game well. They can still have deep stories and meaningful choices, the Witcher series is an excellent example.

I agree that the most likely scenario is that this new game will be very similar in style to Mass Effect, but they might surprise us.
I think this is just a difference in terminology. For us olds, ARPG means Diablo Clone. Other RPGs have been what you are describing as ARPG since Kotor at least.
 
I think this is just a difference in terminology. For us olds, ARPG means Diablo Clone. Other RPGs have been what you are describing as ARPG since Kotor at least.
Yup. If you consider any CRPG that isn't turn based an ARPG then Mass Effect and KOTOR are ARPGs. But I would just consider those standard CRPGs, most of them are like that these days.

I would consider an ARPG as something different and more specific.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I think this is just a difference in terminology. For us olds, ARPG means Diablo Clone. Other RPGs have been what you are describing as ARPG since Kotor at least.
I'm 40 and an action RPG is any game where the focus is as much on action gaming tropes as roleplaying gaming tropes. Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls/Skyrim, Fallout post-Interplay, and Outer Worlds are the leading series in this genre. This is also the style of classification you'll see games organized in on storefronts like Steam, Epic, GOG, Microsoft, and others.
 
I'm 40 and an action RPG is any game where the focus is as much on action gaming tropes as roleplaying gaming tropes. Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls/Skyrim, Fallout post-Interplay, and Outer Worlds are the leading series in this genre. This is also the style of classification you'll see games organized in on storefronts like Steam, Epic, GOG, Microsoft, and others.
I would consider all those standard modern CRPGs. Something like Pathfinder: Kingmaker I would call a retro CRPG. An ARPG would be something like Sword Coast Legends or Grim Dawn (to name one that doesn't suck).


It's kind of pointless to have an ARPG subcatagory if it includes 90% of the total output of CRPGs.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I would consider all those standard modern CRPGs. Something like Pathfinder: Kingmaker I would call a retro CRPG. An ARPG would be something like Sword Coast Legends or Grim Dawn (to name one that doesn't suck).


It's kind of pointless to have an ARPG subcatagory if it includes 90% of the total output of CRPGs.
shrug Tell that to the video game industry.
 

Aebir-Toril

Is lukewarm on the Forgotten Realms
I hope that this game does well, but, I find it odd that WotC is assembling an array of game developers and teams as of now. Are they hoping to eventually create a full-fledged AAA studio?

D&D videogames have been fairly profitable in the past, and, I suspect, WotC wants to eat up a portion of the videogame market again.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Videogames can be very profitable but they need a lot of time and work. At least it may be the best advertising to promote old forgotten lines.

A new sci-fi franchise is right because in the business you shouldn't put all the eggs in only one basket. If there are too many medieval fantasy then it becomes "old fashion", because people wants new things, out of the ordinary, enough exotic.

* If they find the right keys for the new d20 Future the next step will be the genre of superheroes.

* Sometimes I try to imagine a space fantasy based in the retro/vintage sci-fi comics from the pulp age.

* How many XPs got by Skywalker when he destroyed the Deathstar?

* We are thinking they are going to produce a "Mass Effect" clone or a "Baldur's Gate at space" and this is a mistake. We don't know about it will 100% scientific or also with some magic/supernatural elements.
 

Reynard

Legend
shrug Tell that to the video game industry.
A quick googling shows that both interpretations are right (ex: Steam includes Witcher 3 in it's ARPG category but PC Gamer restricts it to Diablo-likes). It's certainly not worth arguing over. In any case, I hope that WotC is successful at this. Remember that many, many professionals in the TTRPG industry do work in the video game industry, so there's no lack of talent. Whether they will have the budget is a different question entirely.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
A quick googling shows that both interpretations are right (ex: Steam includes Witcher 3 in it's ARPG category but PC Gamer restricts it to Diablo-likes). It's certainly not worth arguing over. In any case, I hope that WotC is successful at this. Remember that many, many professionals in the TTRPG industry do work in the video game industry, so there's no lack of talent. Whether they will have the budget is a different question entirely.
Regardless of the medium, genres only exist for marketing to get you to buy a game/movie/book/whatever and so clerks know what shelf to put them on. It's next to impossible to create a definition for any genre that doesn't include games that are "definitely not" or exclude games that "definitely are" part of it by common knowledge.
 

Dire Bare

Adventurer
Regardless of the medium, genres only exist for marketing to get you to buy a game/movie/book/whatever and so clerks know what shelf to put them on. It's next to impossible to create a definition for any genre that doesn't include games that are "definitely not" or exclude games that "definitely are" part of it by common knowledge.
Genres also exist for fans. If I absolutely LOVED a particular game, then finding a short-hand for other games like it is helpful. Genres are certainly fuzzy and amorphous categories, but useful for the "end-user" in addition to those trying to market to us.

Genres are of course stereotypes (of art, rather than people), and if you're not careful you can miss out on some cool stuff if you make assumptions based on how you view a genre . . . .
 
It's definitely true that most big-budget computer RPGs these days are ARPGs, which one of the reasons why I think it's very likely that this game will be one too. Anyone hoping for a game with rules resembling D&D will probably be disappointed.

There are still plenty of great RPGs released that aren't action-focused though, especially indie games.
 
shrug Tell that to the video game industry.
The industry can do what it likes, but I think in the interests of clear communication we need to do better, and say what we actually mean, rather than throw around jargon that means different things to different people.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Well, if successful the future could be Computer Games for WotC in some ways. Video games are making a lot of money these days, and if they pull this one off, it could be one of the more profitable branches of Hasbro.

Personally, if speaking whether we prefer 1st person or 3rd person...I prefer 3rd Person CRPGs.

What game turns out from WotC though, I suppose we will just need to wait for the future.
 

MGibster

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?
You never know when your current IP will run out of juice. Battle Tech was a very popular IP in the 80s and 90s. Not only was the game successful with tons of source books and a line of pewter miniatures, but the IP branched off into more than 100 novels, computer games, a cartoon (one season), and at one point there were more than 20 BattleTech Centers which were essentially arcades dedicated to Battle Tech. Back in 1992 if you looked at Warhammer 40k and Battle Tech you'd be hard pressed to guess which one would still be around today.

Battle Tech is still around today but it's nowhere near as popular as it was twenty years ago. You don't want to be a company that depends on one single IP. Best to develop more in the hopes that they can generate some revenue.
 
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 can answer that. You buy a studio because you want the people.

Ohlen might be working on his own thing, but he is still a Hasbro employee, so if you want him to consult on Baldur's Gate 3 or a tabletop product you can ask him to do that without having to jump through employment law hoops.

And he can't work on something for a competitor.
 

ZeshinX

Explorer
I would consider all those standard modern CRPGs. Something like Pathfinder: Kingmaker I would call a retro CRPG. An ARPG would be something like Sword Coast Legends or Grim Dawn (to name one that doesn't suck).


It's kind of pointless to have an ARPG subcatagory if it includes 90% of the total output of CRPGs.
Frankly I've always categorized ARPG's as ones that rely almost completely on your personal reflexes ("twitch skills" I call them) to play when it comes to character control/combat and whatever stats exist typically increase damage/health/carry weights, etc...stats that do what they say they do, and only do that one thing but require the player's twitch skills to otherwise be useful.

There are matters of degree of course, but examples of ARPGs would be Witcher 3, Skyrim, Fallout 3/4, etc. Examples of non ARPGs would be Baldur's Gate 1/2, Neverwinter Nights 1/2. Temple of Elemental Evil.

Non-ARPGs don't require much twitch skill (some, to be sure), but not to the degree ARPGs required it. To attack an enemy in say, Witcher 3 is wildly different than in Baldur's Gate. In Witcher 3, you're "always on", whereas with Baldur's Gate, you click on the enemy and the game takes care of the actual attacking with no need for you to intervene directly to make those attacks happen, other than the original click.

The Diablo games fall, to me, squarely in the middle of those personal definitions (taking the worst of both and making one of the most boring experiences I've ever had with a game).

To me, they're all RPGs. It's just a matter of design style and personal preference.
 

Reynard

Legend
Frankly I've always categorized ARPG's as ones that rely almost completely on your personal reflexes
How you personally categorize them isn't relevant, except how it creates confusion because you are applying a personal definition to a discussion about a broadly accepted term. It would be (just as a random example) like me calling 4E a deck building game because I use cards to keep track of my character's abilities -- it would muddy the waters of any potential discussions with people that don't know that I am using a personal definition.

In a community the shared understandings of broadly accepted terminology is important.
 
How you personally categorize them isn't relevant, except how it creates confusion because you are applying a personal definition to a discussion about a broadly accepted term.
It's not though. Even the online sellers aren't consistent with how they categorise things.
 

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