By and large, BioWare is considered an exceptionally talented video game studio. Aside from both Mass Effect 3's ending and that Dragon Age 2-sized hiccup, the EA-owned developer has continually delivered on great premises for years.
Indeed, even Dragon Age 2 had its high points with the emotional investment it encouraged players to have in its characters and the relationships that the player-controlled protagonist could form with them still being raved about several years after the game’s release. It’s also easy to overlook the game’s faults when the stellar quality of Mass Effect 1 and 2, along with highly regarded blasts from the past, Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire, help to soothe like a double dose of Aloe Vera.
Almost more impressive than this is that while BioWare is very good at what it does, the developer managed to put together several of these titles while other blockbuster games were in development. Not one to keep its noteworthy attempts at balancing logistics and game design a secret, BioWare could now be working on yet another secret project to join the likes of Mass Effect 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition — both of which are also currently in development.
While EA is playing coy with just “YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN” heading up any official branding in terms of a name, AllGamesBeta were cognizant of the company’s corporate dealings and were quick to point out that EA trademarked ‘Shadow Realms’ back in March, perhaps suggesting that it is gearing up for a new IP later this year. That was half confirmed when BioWare also talked up its new IP at E3 this year, while the name holds an entire ocean's worth of water as pulling up Developer tools (a Google Chrome tool) on EA’s upload of the video shows that they titled the thumbnail image for it ‘Shadow Realms.jpg’, so perhaps it’s one of their more conspicuous moments then.
So with a name that’s being pointed to like a flashing, neon arrow, there are still questions that remain about what Shadow Realms is, what makes it so shadow-y and when we’re going to see its nightmarish gameplay rear its head once more.
Some of that can be answered by EA itself with the YOUVE-BEEN-CHOSEN.com website explaining that “The time is near. They are watching. Your power is rising.” Again, that makes things about as clear as looking through a telescope made of mashed potato but it does hint (ever so slightly) at some type of sleeper agent scenario wherein the protagonist has some sort of budding power (presumably supernatural) and a nefarious group of bad guys wants that power for themselves. That’s usually how these things go, anyway.
Just as presumptuous is the fact that this power will be able to hold strong enough and blast these bad guys away, all whilst they are flinging terrorising scenarios our way that we’ll have to fight back against with both physical attacks and mental fortitude, if that clip of the guy witnessing his own body form in front of him and look him dead in the fact proves to be correct.
This is pure hope (although it would make for an interesting game) but thankfully the addition of “Cologne, Germany” on the You’ve Been Chosen website tells us the rest of what we need to know. That location is of course, that of Gamescom 2014, the annual European games conference and it’s also the same event that BioWare announced Mass Effect 3 some years ago.
We might very well get a glimpse of Mass Effect 4 too after it teased us at E3 but even if that highly awaited title doesn’t get rolled out at Gamescom, Shadow Realms might well be the thing to bowl us all over and deliver more lofty expectations of its own.