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Shadow Realms – Bioware RPG with 4 vs 1 and episodic content

Shadow Realms logo

We look at how Shadow Realms is inspired by pen-and-paper RPGs

Bioware has unveiled its latest game, the first in a new franchise, called Shadow Realms. Announced today, it was undoubtedly the biggest news from the EA press conference at Gamescom in Germany. The new game looks to be set in the modern world, with players fighting demons that look to come from other dimensions.

^ Here’s a first gaeplay video, which shows a far more action-orientated style than we expected, it’s more Jade Empire than anything else the company has done. It also looks fun, more knockabout than we thought, with a kind of Left 4 Dead style to some of the characters

Bioware made mention of pen-and-paper roleplaying games in its introduction, and a lot of the game design is certainly a nod in that direction. First up is a four vs one structure, with a group of four characters fighting against AI enemies that are controlled (summoned) by a single human player, who takes control of the Shadowlord. This looks to be similar to the classic players and gamesmaster approach of D&D and the like, though we doubt that the Shadow Lord will be given infinite power that he must deploy carefully, with a strict set of limitations more likely to balance the game.

Shadow Realms creature

The 4 vs 1 setup looks to be gaining a lot of popularity, the closest thing we’ve seen to Shadow Realms looks to be Fable Legends, but the much-hyped Evolve also uses a human being to control the big bad guy, rather than relying on an AI routine.

Shadow Lord

Bioware is promising that Shadow Realms will be plot-driven, and be released in an episodic manner, with the community of players experiencing the content together, which should mean you’ll be able to play through the game with your friends in sync. The game looks to be set in both our world, and also visits other ‘Shadow Realms’ with concept art showing fantastical castles and medieval-looking buildings (though those could exist in the modern day admittedly). 

Shadow Realms concept art castle

In terms of style the game most reminds us of the Shadowrun RPG. The punk-street fashions of the main characters, and the fantastic creatures leaking into our world our both themes from that game, plus the swords and guns look matches too, though the cyber element looks to be missing. 

Shadow Realms characters art

Shadow Realms will be available to play as an Alpha later this year, though attendents of Gamescom will get to test it out over the next few days. We’ll update this article with more details once we have them.

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