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BioWare Announces Shadow Realms

EA BioWare announces Shadow Realms, an online episodic action/RPG in a modern fantasy setting featuring asymmetrical 4v1 multiplayer (which they refer to as co-op for some reason). They are already accepting signups for alpha testing on the Shadow Realms website, which unsurprisingly will require an Origin account. They are obviously itching to tell us about the game, as the website includes an overview from James Ohlen (who says "Shadow Realms isn’t just hearkening back to those early BioWare PC games—it’s finally bringing the magic of tabletop RPGs to the digital realm"), a producer's letter from Dallas Dickinson, an introduction to the setting, a class overview, and a gameplay description. The game does not carry a release date, and there's no word when the alpha kicks off, but the Shadow Realms Facebook page has word on how Gamescom attendees can check this out in person. Here's the announcement:

BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), today announced Shadow Realms™, a new 4v1 story-driven online action RPG, set in a constantly evolving BioWare world where modern meets fantasy. Four heroes adventure against another player-controlled enemy, a malevolent force called The Shadowlord, in dynamic 4v1 co-op missions, ensuring that no two battles are ever the same. Players will have the choice to play either as – or against – The Shadowlord, building experience and progression whether they have chosen good or evil. The over-arching narrative will be released episodically, playing out over time like a great TV series, providing players the ability to experience story-driven adventures as a community.

“This game brings us back to our roots in the realm of classic Pen and Paper RPG, but also delivers something that’s completely new and innovative for our fans,” said Jeff Hickman, General Manager and Vice President at BioWare Austin. “Shadow Realms is a new BioWare RPG that has the hallmarks of all BioWare games with a rich story, a unique world setting and deep combat progression, but built as an interactive experience that evolves the genre and broadens the appeal to online gamers all over the world.”

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.

Join the battle with three other modern-day Heroes to fight the demonic Shadow Legions and a player-controlled Shadowlord to save all of humanity. Build both a Hero and Shadowlord that are deeply customized to the way players want to play.

Visit www.ShadowRealms.com/play to sign up for a chance to get into the closed alpha. Become a fan of Shadow Realms on Facebook and follow us on Twitter via @shadowrealms.

Shadow Realms is in development at BioWare Austin and will be available for the PC from Origin™ at www.origin.com. The game has not yet been rated the ESRB and PEGI; visit www.esrb.org and www.pegi.info for more information.

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45. No subject Aug 13, 2014, 19:59 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Sounds like ass, concept looks like ass, gameplay at this stage looks like ass(wee click fest). I get the feeling that this has been heavily influenced by the dumbnuts that did KoTOR.  
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
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44. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 19:49 HorrorScope
 
Creston wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:45:
Well, EA did say they were thinking about the whole Early Access process, so maybe this is their trial run with it or something.

News from some of the big players this past week, you can see they are now looking at the small indy style development process and methods. So I guess they've been shown up and now want to start dabbling in those realms. So it proves the win indy has been, now will they fuck it up or improve because of this? We shall see.
 
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43. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 19:45 HorrorScope
 
Axis wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:25:
Verno wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 15:51:
Ok, I take back what I said earlier, that looks absolutely awful. One long awesome button fest.

Wow I have to 2nd that, not at ALL what I was expecting, especially when they threw out words like "roots of PnP", "DnD", "Hallmarks of Bioware" "Deep combat progression" etc.

Yep, Bioware is dead in my book. Last game I truly enjoyed from them was NwN... held out hope for this long, can give up now.

Yeah 3rd, it didn't fit the description. It could still be good, but now knowing the direction they are taking, definitely not my preferred path. I'm still fairly hopeful from DA:I. That said, they all have to prove themselves to me on their own standing, nothing they make at this time will be a day one purchase.
 
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42. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 19:43 HorrorScope
 
Yakubs wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 15:38:
This looks horrible (gameplay):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pUlD0Kd6We8

Reminds me a lot of Neverwinter.
 
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41. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 18:45 Axis
 
UHD wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 17:05:
NKD wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:52:
Axis wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:38:
When the PR throws out those PnP keywords ("roots of PnP", "DnD", "Hallmarks of Bioware" "Deep combat progression"), the LAST thing you expect is a hack and slash FPS/TPS game.

Now will it be a good game, perhaps. But will it be "Roots of PnP" etc? hell no.

That's on you. It was pretty clear that when they talk about PnP, they are referring to the Shadowlord player's control over the environment being similar to a DM. They were NOT saying that the game is going to be a pen and paper CRPG engine with turn based combat. To me that seemed obvious, seeing as how they said right away that it was an action RPG. As far as deep combat progression, well, we haven't seen the progression yet, so we'll see later on whether that pans out.

Yeah, I'm more willing to believe they're throwing around the video game equivalent of buzzwords to amp up hype rather than a more factual description of the game. You're supposed to read that PR blurb and go "FUCK YEAH D&D HARDCOAR!"

Really looks like multiplayer Dragon Age 2 or Vindictus-style combat with a DM. Fun in theory but that clip wasn't exciting at all and I didn't see anything from the DM's perspective?...

Yep UHD, that's about right.

And NKD, they repeatedly mention in the articles about Baldurs Gate and NwN. Sure they say its an action RPG 'Dungeon Crawler', I saw it too, we all did. But most of us didn't stop reading right then and go "Oh, it's a FPS/TPS Hellgate game with a Dragon Age progression backbone!", because they sure as hell don't sell it like that. Here's their quotes in the articles about Shadow Realms:

Shadow Realms isn’t just hearkening back to those early BioWare PC games—it’s finally bringing the magic of tabletop RPGs to the digital realm

Shadow Realms has its genesis in old school Dungeons & Dragons. When I first started designing BioWare RPGs back in the 90s, what drove me creatively was the desire to give players the experience I had while playing pen and paper games as a youth

..lead designer of games such as Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars™: Knights of the Old Republic™..

BioWare RPGs have successfully replicated many of the things that made classic tabletop games fun: powerful storytelling, being able to create your own character, leveling-up that hero to achieve the heights of fantasy power, and tactical combat against a fantastic array of monsters

It is a game that finally fulfills that fantasy of a never-ending RPG where the players meet up regularly to keep their epic adventures going for as long as they want.

All the enemies, traps and challenges are squarely in the hands of another player, who controls them just like a Dungeon Master.

For inspiration on how to innovate, we took a look at the roots of the online multiplayer RPG game experience. Which is, of course, table top pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons.

There's more, but honestly it's pretty obvious what they are trying to do.

Now, again I'll state the one and only game I'm fanboyish about is DnD, and if they manage to add those types of elements I'll probably play it at least to try it out.

However, the descriptions are misleading the readers no matter how you cut it. One certainly can expect confusion when phrases of old school PnP/Oldschool/DnD/Baldurs Gate/NwN/Bioware roots/Dungeon Master/ are being thrown around in every article, then we find a TPS/FPS gameplay of it. And judging from that gameplay UI and shitty control, it's consolized.

 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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40. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 18:19 Saboth
 
Looks interesting, I guess. Doesn't get the blood pumping.  
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39. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 17:05 UHD
 
NKD wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:52:
Axis wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:38:
When the PR throws out those PnP keywords ("roots of PnP", "DnD", "Hallmarks of Bioware" "Deep combat progression"), the LAST thing you expect is a hack and slash FPS/TPS game.

Now will it be a good game, perhaps. But will it be "Roots of PnP" etc? hell no.

That's on you. It was pretty clear that when they talk about PnP, they are referring to the Shadowlord player's control over the environment being similar to a DM. They were NOT saying that the game is going to be a pen and paper CRPG engine with turn based combat. To me that seemed obvious, seeing as how they said right away that it was an action RPG. As far as deep combat progression, well, we haven't seen the progression yet, so we'll see later on whether that pans out.

Yeah, I'm more willing to believe they're throwing around the video game equivalent of buzzwords to amp up hype rather than a more factual description of the game. You're supposed to read that PR blurb and go "FUCK YEAH D&D HARDCOAR!"

Really looks like multiplayer Dragon Age 2 or Vindictus-style combat with a DM. Fun in theory but that clip wasn't exciting at all and I didn't see anything from the DM's perspective?...
 
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38. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 16:52 NKD
 
Axis wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:38:
When the PR throws out those PnP keywords ("roots of PnP", "DnD", "Hallmarks of Bioware" "Deep combat progression"), the LAST thing you expect is a hack and slash FPS/TPS game.

Now will it be a good game, perhaps. But will it be "Roots of PnP" etc? hell no.

That's on you. It was pretty clear that when they talk about PnP, they are referring to the Shadowlord player's control over the environment being similar to a DM. They were NOT saying that the game is going to be a pen and paper CRPG engine with turn based combat. To me that seemed obvious, seeing as how they said right away that it was an action RPG. As far as deep combat progression, well, we haven't seen the progression yet, so we'll see later on whether that pans out.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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37. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 16:45 Creston
 
NKD wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:27:
Frankly it's very unusual for a major developer to show pre-alpha footage at all. I get the impression they are trying to start showing things early enough that they can actually make changes based on feedback. Usually from Bioware (or any other larger studio) you don't see any real gameplay until a few months before release and the game is basically in a finished state.

Well, EA did say they were thinking about the whole Early Access process, so maybe this is their trial run with it or something.

Still, it's infuriating to see people shitting on something based on a few blurbs and some pre-alpha gameplay.

I'll admit it doesn't look great, but it's in pre-alpha, so...

A four player vs 1 enemy player Diablo-type game that you can play in easy spurts of say 10-20 minutes could be quite fun, as long as you can stay away from having to pug.
 
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36. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 16:38 Axis
 
NKD wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:27:
Creston wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:21:
Eh, it's in pre-alpha, so the final product will undoubtedly look little to nothing like this. It looks like over-the-shoulder Diablo, only this time there'll be a DM running around as well. Still seems interesting.


Frankly it's very unusual for a major developer to show pre-alpha footage at all. I get the impression they are trying to start showing things early enough that they can actually make changes based on feedback. Usually from Bioware (or any other larger studio) you don't see any real gameplay until a few months before release and the game is basically in a finished state.

Still, it's infuriating to see people shitting on something based on a few blurbs and some pre-alpha gameplay.

When the PR throws out those PnP keywords ("roots of PnP", "DnD", "Hallmarks of Bioware" "Deep combat progression"), the LAST thing you expect is a hack and slash FPS/TPS game.

Now will it be a good game, perhaps. But will it be "Roots of PnP" etc? hell no.
 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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35. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 16:27 NKD
 
Creston wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 16:21:
Eh, it's in pre-alpha, so the final product will undoubtedly look little to nothing like this. It looks like over-the-shoulder Diablo, only this time there'll be a DM running around as well. Still seems interesting.


Frankly it's very unusual for a major developer to show pre-alpha footage at all. I get the impression they are trying to start showing things early enough that they can actually make changes based on feedback. Usually from Bioware (or any other larger studio) you don't see any real gameplay until a few months before release and the game is basically in a finished state.

Still, it's infuriating to see people shitting on something based on a few blurbs and some pre-alpha gameplay.
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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34. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 16:25 Axis
 
Verno wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 15:51:
Ok, I take back what I said earlier, that looks absolutely awful. One long awesome button fest.

Wow I have to 2nd that, not at ALL what I was expecting, especially when they threw out words like "roots of PnP", "DnD", "Hallmarks of Bioware" "Deep combat progression" etc.

Yep, Bioware is dead in my book. Last game I truly enjoyed from them was NwN... held out hope for this long, can give up now.
 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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33. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 16:21 Creston
 
Eh, it's in pre-alpha, so the final product will undoubtedly look little to nothing like this. It looks like over-the-shoulder Diablo, only this time there'll be a DM running around as well. Still seems interesting.

 
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32. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 15:52 Acleacius
 
No reason to trust ea or brand bioware.  
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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31. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 15:51 Verno
 
Ok, I take back what I said earlier, that looks absolutely awful. One long awesome button fest.  
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Playing: Far Cry 4, Prison Architect, DriveClub
Watching: Tusk, The Equalizer, The Homesman
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30. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 15:38 Yakubs
 
This looks horrible (gameplay):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pUlD0Kd6We8
 
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29. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 15:09 DangerDog
 
Some sort of portal like cross over to a D&D world from a modern one, will I be able to take my M16+grenade launcher into battle against skeleton warriors?

 
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28. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 14:58 Julio
 
Creston wrote on Aug 13, 2014, 14:13:
So it's a little rough to kick Bioware to the curb for having one bad, publisher-fucked, game.

The old Bioware is dead and gone. They make crap now. But you can press a button and something awesome will happen I bet.
 
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27. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 14:41 Paketep
 
Origin -> no sale

That was easy.
 
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26. Re: BioWare Announces Shadow Realms Aug 13, 2014, 14:40 psulli
 
The ire and bile that BIOWARE has earned while in cahoots with EA should make me feel badly for them.

But I don't. The BIOWARE folks that had institutional power got their payday. All I got was the knowledge not to do business with BIOWARE again. I haven't bought an EA game since ME2.

I'm pretty convinced that this game will be shelved like that other one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Command_&_Conquer_(2013_video_game)

edit:
... but whatever. I have even lost interest in Dragon Age. I didn't bother with numba two ... and number three looks like numba two now with more fan service.

 
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