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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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