Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT by Trevor Ruben
BioWare is trying something new 'Shadow Realms,' a PC online RPG with 4v1 asymetrical compeition, character customization and, of course, a heavy emphasis on story and lore. It seems there are quite a few competing focuses here, but if anyone can pull something like this off, it's the studio behind 'Mass Effect,' Dragon Age' and 'Knights of the Old Republic.'
BioWare is asking for alpha signups right now, and it's the hosting website with a huge chunk of information about the game.
"Shadow Realms is a multiplayer action RPG ‘dungeon crawler.’ Set in both modern day Earth and the parallel world of Embra, Heroes harness the most powerful abilities of both worlds to reach their greatest potential. Shadow Realms has flexible RPG style character progression and customization that allows the player to choose their Hero’s powers, whether that means shooting a gun, wielding an axe, or casting fireballs. Every match is comprised of four Hero player characters that can be any combination of six classes with countless combinations of abilities and equipment. Together, these Heroes fight their way through different Realms (both on Earth and Embra), finding treasure, dodging traps, opening secret doors, discovering lore, and completing story-driven objectives along the way. But all the while, a fifth player – the Shadowlord – is opposing them."
Before you start making the inevitable 'Fables Legends' comparisions, which also taks heavy inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons dungeon masters for its fifth players, BioWare's intention for the Shadowlord is much more tactile and direct on the battlefield, whereas the 'Fables Legends' guy is more of an omniscient puppetmaster.
"The Shadowlord is not a disembodied character affecting the world from outside and “above” the game, so to speak. They are in the mix with the Hero player characters for the entire dungeon crawl sharing the same 3rd person over the shoulder camera and control scheme. The key difference is that the Shadowlord remains unseen until they possess a monster, cast certain spells, or choose to reveal themselves."
The final little twist in 'Shadow Realms' is Telltale-inspired. BioWare is planning on episodic storytelling, meaning segments of the story will be released over time. Little else is known about how this will actually work.
Also unknown is a release window. At the least, it seems the next few years are going to emphasize the one against many motif. 'Evolve' and 'Fables Legends' are surely only the beginning.
You can find the latest info on 'Shadow Realms' linked from our Video Game Release Schedule.
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