Not to be confused with indie dev Archetype Studios (creators of the Tribe-inspired multiplayer game Midair), this is a new AAA studio founded by a handful of ex-BioWare veterans. It’s located in Austin, Texas and is also the subsidiary to Wizards of Coast. After the embarrassing fiasco involving EA and their mishandling of games like Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda, it is reassuring to see that a few former developers from the much-acclaimed studio are still hard at work in the gaming industry, unwavering from their goal of re-ushering in the heyday of the great CRPGs that their previous home was known for.
Here’s some interesting trivia about the studio and its affiliates.
Wizards of the Coast
A company founded by Peter Adkison in 1990, they made magic the Gathering trading card game in 1993. In 1997, they acquired TSR company (the publishing company of one of the most influential Role Playing Games, Dungeons & Dragons).
In 1999, they where acquired by Hasbro (the toy maker company that also makes tabletop games and even video games). They also made Magic the Gathering Online in a collaboration with another studio called Leaping Lizard Software which it was released in 2002.
In 2008 they acquired Avalon Hill, another table top game maker company. In 2014 they released the 5th Edition of the legendary table top RPG Dungeons & Dragons.
James Ohlen (President)
Before joining Bioware, Ohlen was a comic bookshop owner, but more importantly, already a gifted Dungeon Master (a nerdy term for DnD ruleset creators) for 2 Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. This is what got him hired at BioWare where he worked for a long 22 years.
Fast forward to 2018, he retires and goes on to establish an RPG publishing company called Arcanum Worlds alongside other key members such as Drew Karpyshyn and Jesse Sky (the latter of whom currently works as a creative director on Archetype Entertainment). Since then, companies tried to hire Ohlen but the only company that convinced him is Wizards of Coasts.
At Archetype, James Ohlen he claims that he can make an RPG that he always wanted to make and play as for him, the videogames are a unique interactive medium – and to quote him: “They allow us to give the player powerful choices that have real consequences on how the story unfolds.”
Games that James Ohlen worked on:
- Shattered Steel (1996) = Game tester.
- Baldur’s Gate (1998) = Lead Designer, additional programmer, story writer, dialog writer, manual editor and he also did the compilation.
- Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the sword coast (1999) = Lead Designer.
- Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) = Director of writing, design, manual writer and editor.
- Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (2001) = Director of writing and design.
- Neverwinter Nights (2002) = Core game designer.
- Star Wars: Knights of the old republic (2003) = Core game designer and manual writer.
- Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the underdark (2003) = Worked on some additional design.
- Jade Empire (2005) = Design director
- Dragon Age origins (2009) = Lead designer.
- Star Wars: the Old Republic (2011) = Game director along also overseeing it’s 2 expansions: Rise of the Hutt Cartel (2013) and Shadow of Revan.
Chad Robertson (General Manager)
Not much is known about this gentleman but he was working at Bioware for 14 years as a Technical Director and worked on a couple of games.
He believes that Archetype will deliver the next generation of Role Playing Games.
Games that Chad Robertson worked on:
Before joining Bioware:
- Tetris Worlds (2001) = He worked on it but no specific role for the credit.
One game that he worked on with EA Mythic:
- Warhammer Online Age of Reckoning (2008) = Programmer engineer.
Games that he worked at Bioware:
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011) = Technical director.
- A single player DLC called Jaws of Hakkon for Dragon Age Inquisition (2014) = Chief technical officer.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017) = Head of technology.
- Anthem (2019) = Head of technology.
One game with EA Tiburon:
- Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (2015) = Studio technical director.
Drew Karpyshyn (Lead Writer)
Born in Edmonton Alberta (Canada) on July 28, 1971, he is a writer, scriptwriter, novelist and another former Bioware member – a lot of writing experience under his belt. His career at BioWare started in 2000 and recently joined Archetype Entertainment but this is not the first time he left BioWare – in 2012 he left that company to work on Chaos Born novels, then returned but left again to focus on his indie works. Like many other members at Archetype, he also jumped the obvious sinking ship that was BioWare under the current EA to join the newfound RPG studio so he and his team can continue their journey to craft RPG greatness without any hindrance.
Games that Drew Karpyshyn worked on:
- Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the underdark(2003) = Writer
- Star Wars: Knights of the old republic (2003) = Wrote the manual, worked as core game designer and a senior writer.
- Jade Empire (2005) = Lead Writer.
- Mass Effect (2007) = Lead Writer.
- Mass Effect 2 (2010) = Lead Writer.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011) = Senior Writer, and also worked on the expansions such as Rise of the Hutt Cartel, Knights of the fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne as the writer.
- Anthem (2019) = Writer.
Thank you for reading and in case you haven’t noticed, even though we are late, Bioware was formed on February 1st of 1995 so yeah happy 25th anniversary Bioware. Founded by the Grek Zeschuk, Ray Muzyka and Augustine Yip – all met each other at a medicine school, but little did they know that their studio would go on to make some of the most popular and innovative RPGs in the history of gaming.
From rumors swirling around the industry hotspots, Archetype’s new title is a multi-platform sci-fi RPG – no surprise there, given BioWare’s legacy with games like Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic and Mass Effect 2. Looking at the star-studded lineup of talent at Archetype, here’s hoping that their debut game is a return to form for not just the studio, but RPGs as a whole.