It’s unusual for a game that had a playable build as recently as this past August to come under the chopping block, but the four-versus-one competitive RPG that was announced by BioWare Austin last year at Gamescom, Shadow Realms, has been axed. There had been some murmuring of the game seeing an expanded scope and even a new release date of 2016, but not it’s shutting down instead.
BioWare Austin’s general manager, Jeff Hickman, had the following to say on the subject in a post on : “We’ve made the decision to not move forward with development of Shadow Realms.” He continued, saying, “While the team did amazing work on the game concept and we got lots of great feedback from our fans at events and through other game testing, right now there are other projects for the team to work on within the BioWare studios for the coming year and beyond. We’ve got an incredibly talented team here at the Austin studio, and they are excited and already deep on new projects within the BioWare family, ones that will make some great BioWare games even better.”
While it’s not clear to what extent publisher Electronic Arts – who own Bioware – had influence over this decision, it seems (publically at least), that this was mainly due to Bioware’s own feelings about the game.
Some of the listed games include Dragon Age: Inquisition and the Mass Effect 4. But the game that seems set to benefit the most is MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is still going strong. Hickman said: “As every Star Wars fan knows, this is a massive year in the Star Wars universe. We have some great plans for expanding this epic game this year, and look forward to sharing the news about those plans with our players in the coming weeks.”
While this is an unfortunate loss for a game that seemed to be received reasonably well at Gamescom and beyond, it’s bound to leave some of the closed beta players for Shadow Realms extremely disappointed, the timing of the content update to accompany Star Wars Episode 7 is certainly exciting news in its own right (come on, it’s Star Wars! Without George Lucas on hand to screw it up!), though some will no doubt raise an eyebrow. It’s EA, after all.
While it’s unlikely that the film with have any direct links to The Old Republic – thanks to them being set thousands of years apart from one another- it’s entirely possible that some or all of the new planets and races featured in the film will find themselves added to the game, possibly in the form of new dungeons, raids, quest hubs or PvP warzones. We might also see Old Republic versions of some of the new starship designs, given that it’s already been established that many of the designs seen in the films are merely iterations of older models dating back thousands of years (technology has a tendency to develop slowly in the Star Wars universe).
Those interested in The Old Republic news will likely be able to find out more in the coming weeks. In fact, Dale has recently delved back into The Old Republic following the release of the recent Shadow of Revan major expansion. You can expect his review of that in the coming weeks (he has to get through the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion first, following a lengthy absence), but he has said that his experience so far has been largely positive thanks to a thriving community and populated servers, as well as sweeping improvements since the game’s original launch back in 2012.
Bioware’s most recent game was, of course, the aforementioned Dragon Age: Inquisition. Jodie Rodgers reviewed the game for Continue Play, awarding it a score of 9/10.
“Dragon Age: Inquisition is a masterful representation of its genre and sets a new standard for RPGs to live up to,” Jodie said in her Dragon Age: Inquisition Review. “It sets itself apart from other games through its fascinating narrative and rich cast, and is easily the best role-playing game of the year.”