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All Articles: Shadow Realms
Electronic Arts and BioWare unveiled Shadow Realms with quite a bit of fanfare during last year’s Gamescom expo… and now the multiplayer PC title is no more. BioWare Austin’s Jeff Hickman talked about the cancellation on the game’s official website, but didn’t list the reason behind EA’s decision:
While the team did amazing work on the game concept and we got lots of great feedback from our fans at events and through other game testing, right now there are other projects for the team to work on within the BioWare studios for the coming year and beyond. We’ve got an incredibly talented team here at the Austin studio, and they are excited and already deep on new projects within the BioWare family, ones that will make some great BioWare games even better.
In the original announcement, BioWare Austin said that Shadow Realms would have taken the form of a “4v1” RPG, which they hoped would evoke the pen-and-paper RPGs the team grew up playing. But even with the cancellation, the Austin team is being kept busy as Hickman revealed they’ve begun work on “ongoing enhancements” to Dragon Age: Inquisition. They will also provide development support on Mass Effect 4 and “other new IP.”
BioWare has been teasing out new trailers for their “You’ve Been Chosen” project for a few weeks now. We knew that the game was set in the modern day and centered on superpowers in some way, but the developer was saving the full reveal for Germany’s Gamescom event. Today, BioWare’s Austin team unveiled Shadow Realms, their new 4v1 RPG.
With its 4v1 structure, BioWare wants to make Shadow Realms resemble the pen-and-paper RPGs that many gamers grew up on. Four players will battle hordes of monsters as Hero characters while the fifth will control the Shadowlord, a evil mastermind who can set traps, possess monsters, and cast spells in opposition to the Heroes:
In Shadow Realms, Modern Heroes on Earth are being awakened and recruited, because of magical powers they never knew they had, to fight in a new and dangerous war against the Shadow Legions of Embra. The Shadow Legions, who have been battling on Embra for years against the members of the Radiant Empires, have gained new strength with the coming of a powerful, unknown force that we call the Shadowlords. And, they have just figured out how to leave Embra and invade Earth.
BioWare will release Shadow Realms episodically through EA’s Origin service, though a release date for the first episode wasn’t announced. Prospective players are encouraged to visit the game’s official website to sign up for a closed alpha test. Once you’re there, you can also read up on some behind-the-scenes secrets courtesy of the BioWare team.
BioWare has released another teaser trailer in their “You’ve Been Chosen” series of adverts ahead of the game’s Gamescom 2014 reveal next week. This one is titled “Impact” and it depicts a terrified girl whispering that something isn’t her fault over and over again. A quick cut later and we realize that she has somehow created a magical-looking sinkhole under her house. The trailer closes with this teaser’s tagline, which asks, “Can You Control Your Power?”
After careful consideration, I think we’re dealing with mutants here. Or possibly modern day folks dealing with mystical powers that they never knew existed. Something like that.
We’ll find out for sure next week during BioWare’s Gamescom presentation, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, August 13 at 10:00 AM (Eastern Time). If you can’t make it to Cologne, Germany, BioWare will livestream the announcement on Twitch.
BioWare is continuing their “You’ve Been Chosen” series of teasers, ahead of a planned Gamescom 2014 reveal, with “Spark.”
The “Spark” trailer centers around a disturbed teen drawing circles in a diner while his phone keeps ringing. After the teen silences his phone for a third time, lightning begins raining down inside the diner. Finally, a hooded figure looks in on the teen and a tagline, “Do You Know They Are Watching,” flashes across the screen.
What does it all mean? I’m still leaning towards demons. BioWare will unveil exactly what we’ve been chosen for during this year’s Gamescom convention on Wednesday, August 13.
BioWare is still being awfully cagey about what direction Mass Effect 4 will take, but the developer is ready to lift the lid on their next project, an untitled game that has something to do with dreams and nightmares.
A trailer for the game (titled “Nightmare”) teases a bigger reveal at this year’s Gamescom convention, but first we met a terrified young man that is in some horrible dream. It might be gibberish, but a dream analyst would look at the images we’re shown and conclude that a broken lamp symbolizes misfortune or bad luck while the alleyway represents a journey into the unknown. The smoky room implies confusion and anxiety while a doppelganger represents a desire to recapture the past. Finally, light means an understanding or clarity has been reached.
So some sort of misfortune has lead this man on a journey that is confusing. But something in his past will lead to a better understanding of the future and his current situation. The trailer closes by asking “What really happens when we sleep?”, and stating, “You’ve been chosen.” Chosen for what? I’m going to go with demons. It’s usually demons.
In what was more of a talking head, corporate sales pitch than the trailer many had hoped for, BioWare’s developers talked about how the story and characters of their beloved Mass Effect trilogy has shaped the next installment, the currently untitled Mass Effect 4. The most telling quote came from Project Director Casey Hudson:
We start by asking fans what they want, what Mass Effect means to them? One of the things that fans have told us most about what they want in the next Mass Effect game is to go somewhere new and move forward.
Given that Hudson and his team pretty much reworked the entire ending for Mass Effect 3, it would suggest that BioWare is on the level about building a game that the fans want to play. “We’re taking you to a whole new region of space,” he added later. But how new can it be? The jargony “conceptual prototype” featured a character dressed in the N7 Armor, which indicates the game will take place in roughly the same time period as what has come before.
One thing the video does confirm is that BioWare staff in Montreal like to stare into the darkness, and work in really dark rooms. Hudson also revealed that BioWare’s Edmonton studio is cooking up something brand new, but their words were chosen well so as not to reveal anything beyond that.