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[Update] EA Confirms BioWare’s 4v1 PC Title Shadow Realms Canceled

by Mike Futter on Feb 09, 2015 at 08:46 AM

Update: EA has confirmed our report that Shadow Realms has been canceled. The company posted an update to the game's website with details.

Here is the full text of the confirmation from BioWare Austin general manager Jeff Hickman:

Today I’m sharing some important news about Shadow Realms and our BioWare Austin studio.

We’ve made the decision to not move forward with development of Shadow Realms. We fully recognize that this news is disappointing to some of our fans, so I want to explain more behind this decision.

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.

These include additional ongoing enhancements to the award-winning Dragon Age: Inquisition, as well as the next game in the Mass Effect series and other new IP.

But the biggest focus for our team in BioWare Austin will be on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. 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.

For all the people that registered for the Shadow Realms Closed Alpha, we’re working on a way to say thank-you for signing up. To all those players that gave us feedback at Gamescom and PAX, and those that shared their thoughts and impressions in the past months, we thank you for being part of the conversation. 

Original Story:

Multiple sources tell us that Electronic Arts' experimental project, Shadow Realms, has come to a close. The title, part of the 4v1 trend, was in development at BioWare Austin.

The game was announced at Gamescom following an extensive, live-action teaser campaign. Hands-on play was offered at the show in Cologne, Germany in August 2014, and we had the chance to give some impressions.

PC editor Dan Tack wrote in his hands-on preview that the title was slated to include episodic content heavy on the story. Given BioWare’s forte, the narrative focus fit with the Austin team’s work on Star Wars: The Old Republic. 

Gameplay was set up as a progression through a labyrinthine dungeon, as heroes worked to overcome traps laid by the “shadow lord.” The villain had the ability to place monsters along the way, working to wear the heroes down before a final confrontation. 

This isn't the first time EA has experimented and then pulled back. In November, EA canceled its in-development (and in-beta) MOBA Dawngate.

BioWare is still positioned well, with Star Wars: The Old Republic, a new Mass Effect title in the works, a whole new intellectual property, and Dragon Age: Inquisition reaping a sizable number of awards. 

When reached, EA declined to comment on the matter. We'll update should additional information emerge.


Our Take
While it’s certainly disappointing to see the project abandoned, cancelations are not uncommon. What is less familiar is the very public outing the title had in front of a large audience after a flashy teaser campaign. It wouldn’t entirely surprise me to see learnings from this experiment re-emerge later in a different BioWare game.

As for EA, this trend of experimentation, but realistic evaluation of those projects, is heartening. Our hope is that employees working on the project will find homes on other EA teams.