Archetype Entertainment was born in 2019 after two of BioWare’s heavy hitters, James Ohlen and Chad Robertson, became disappointed at what the studio had become under EA’s management. Despite its recent formation, Archetype has already gained a following thanks to the former’s exploits, which include design work for classics such as Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age: Origins, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
We learned last month that Archetype’s first game would be an RPG set in “a new sci-fi universe.” That alone got plenty of Mass Effect fans riled up, but its potential has grown even greater with the news that lead writer Drew Karpyshyn has joined the studio. He made the announcement on his blog earlier this week, stating that he hasn’t been “this excited to work on a project in a long, long time.”
His participation can only mean great things for Archetype’s freshman effort. Karpyshyn’s credits include Neverwinter Nights, Jade Empire, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. He’s also written plenty of great novels for these franchises (e.g., Mass Effect: Revelation, Star Wars: Darth Bane – Path of Destruction), as well as original work such as The Chaos Born Trilogy.
Karpyshyn didn’t shy away on his feelings about BioWare and explained how the studio changed for the worse: “…as we grew and became more successful, things changed. We became more corporate. We were less able to make what we loved, and the teams were pushed to create games based on market research rather than our creative instincts and passions. My dream job became just a job, and I lost the enthusiasm and excitement I once had.”
Archetype Entertainment’s official site has some concept art on display that teases what kind of world it’s building. One of the images suggests that the game will feature at least one environment that mixes sci-fi elements with steampunk, which could make for a pretty interesting setting.
“At Archetype, we believe there will always be a place for story-driven roleplaying games that put the player at the center of an epic personal narrative with impactful choices. We are building games that represent the diversity of our audience. We also believe that game studios should empower top developers and challenge them with ambitious projects that are shaped by a strong, clearly communicated creative vision,” reads a passage on the website regarding the studio’s goal.
Archetype is an “autonomous division” of Wizards of the Coast, the role-playing game company behind the ultra-popular Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons franchises.