Electronic Arts has officially announced Shadow Realms, the new game series from BioWare, the creator of the hugely successful Mass Effect and Dragon Age titles.
The new PC-only title is an online multiplayer action RPG, in which a malevolent force known as the Shadow Legion breaks out of its own dimension and invades modern Earth, bringing with it an army of assorted monsters. Judging by the brief demo shown at Gamescom on Wednesday, and the teaser videos released over the last week, the planet’s only protectors are a group of teenagers who suddenly discover they have special powers.
The game will comprise of dynamic co-op missions where four players take part as human collaborators, fighting against another player who controls the Shadowlord. It’s a form of asymmetrical multiplayer that is growing in popularity: alien hunting game Evolve and fantasy battler Fable: Legends use a similar system.
Taking to the stage during the Electronic Arts press conference on the first morning of Gamescom, BioWare Austin’s general manager Jeff Hickman said that the game’s dynamic structure is a return to the feel of old pencil and paper role-playing adventures where a game master would control the flow of the action, reacting to player activities. Here, the story guiding the four-v-one fights will alter as the action progresses.
“We want to bring back some of the creativity of a human game master who authors an ever-changing adventure right before you eyes,” said Hickman. “The Shadowlord controls every aspect of the game, possessing, entrapping and destroying. A continuously updated story, embedded in the online adventure, along with an ever-changing world, will ensure that no two trips will play out the same way.”
In the background an over-arching story of humans versus the interdimensional Shadow Legion will play out in an episodic form, with new plot sequences released on a regular basis.
The game is due out late next year, but BioWare is running a closed beta starting in September.
- Keith Stuart is attending GamesCom on a press trip organised by Electronic Arts, in which transport and accomodation costs have been met by the publisher. For information on the Guardian’s policy covering paid-for trips, please see the editorial code or this article on transparency and trust.
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