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BioWare

Shadow Realms, the new BioWare RPG, has a lot of strong and unique ideas

Aug 25 // Brett Makedonski
The initial pitch for Shadow Realms is a videogame adaption of pen and paper RPGs. The developers cited their love for an experience where you never know what's going to happen and is completely unique every time as the reasoning behind this. They're porting this sort of dynamic feel to Shadow Realms by letting a human mastermind the dangers that the team of heroes will have to face. Teams of four will be pitted against one overpowered opponent called the Shadowlord. These four players (made up of Warrior, Wizard, Assassin, and Cleric classes) fight through arenas as the Shadowlord throws enemies, traps, and challenges at them -- much like a Dungeon Master would. The Shadowlord can also opt to join the fray himself by possessing one of the baddies; this is indicated to the team by casting a glow around that particular enemy, letting them know that it should probably be their main priority. Throughout the course of battle, both sides get increasingly more powerful. Being god-like in nature, a well-played Shadowlord inherently has the advantage. To (somewhat) counter this, the team is given the ability to change their loadouts at checkpoints so that they can tailor their approach to combat. This also serves as a way for BioWare to let players play however they want. Cognizant of the tendency to get pigeonholed into traits of a particular class, the developers insisted that it's okay to play as a "uzi-toting Wizard." We didn't have the chance to go hands-on with Shadow Realms, so it was tough to get a feel for how the action played out. The modern gothic setting looked interesting enough and the ordinary person character models were welcomed, but beyond that, we don't know how it controls. Of the people that did play in our demo, the Shadowlord was victorious. We asked a developer how this might bar off progress if the heroes are continually unable to beat a Shadowlord, and were cryptically told that "Even when you're defeated in Shadow Realms, you won't be upset." That's where there's potential for the largest disconnect in the game. BioWare's touting that Shadow Realms will have a deep and unique story where players experience their own tales of humor, betrayal, and romance. It seems as if much of this will take place in an overworld setting, with players popping into battle to further the narrative. It's unclear if this will come off as seamlessly interwoven with combat leading to bigger plot points, or if the two will be disjointed. For all of the unusual approaches that BioWare's taking with Shadow Realms, possibly the most drastic is that the game will be released episodically. Truthfully, it sounds as if the studio's are trying to capture some of Telltale's lightning. With all of the purported branching moral choices and cliffhangers that were said to be found throughout, BioWare seems focused on offering a new gameplay take on the style that Telltale recently popularized. The developers so much as stated that their intention is for players to have a "watercooler" mentality with Shadow Realms where they can't wait to talk to their friends about the game's most recent happenings. They also thought that some would "binge play" as if it were a show on Netflix to get caught up on the releases. Something that BioWare wasn't too eager to talk about is their monetization plans for Shadow Realms. One developer expressed the studio's caution by simply saying "We want to be the good guys," as far as pricing models go. He offered that the game will initially be released with a lot of content, which will probably pave the way for smaller chunks. However, no one would give suggestions as to how long each episode will be or how often content will be released. All-in-all, BioWare has a lot of strong individual ideas for Shadow Realms. The asynchronous multiplayer could be a hit for both sides -- the heroes motivated by teamwork and enhancing their character, the Shadowlord motivated by an obvious god-complex and some narrative elements unique to him. The modern fantasy setting is one that's not overdone and could offer something beyond the tropes that define the genre. And, the episodic release model could do wonders for the plot of an RPG. But, we'll have to wait until 2015 to see if BioWare can make all of these strong ideas gel into a cohesive experience.
Shadow Realms preview photo
How will they all come together?
Anytime you sit in on an early look at a new videogame, the presentation's sort of structured the same. Throughout the introduction to the title, the developers always -- always -- pepper the speech with catchy phrases a...

Dragon Age: Inquisition photo
Dragon Age: Inquisition

BioWare states that one complete playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition is 150 hours


That's with collecting everything
Aug 13
// Chris Carter
Today at EA's gamescom press conference, BioWare's Aaryn Flynn talked a bit about how long Dragon Age: Inquisition would take to complete. The answer? If you did everything in one playthrough, it would take roughly 150 hours. Sounds like a lot, right? Well let me break that statement down based on my experiences with the game at a recent preview event.
Shadow Realms photo
Inspired by pen and paper RPGs
At the EA press conference today, BioWare announced its next project, Shadow Realms. Jeff Hickman, the Studio General Manager discussed its inspiration in old school pen and paper role-playing games, before elaborating on how...

BioWare photo
BioWare

Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson leaves BioWare


His new IP at the studio is entering pre-production
Aug 07
// Jordan Devore
Mass Effect series executive producer Casey Hudson has parted ways with his long-time employer BioWare. He's been at the company for nearly 16 years and previously worked on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic as project d...
BioWare photo
BioWare

BioWare's third teaser trailer goes all Good Will Hunting


It's not your fault
Aug 07
// Brett Makedonski
The third teaser trailer in BioWare's "You've Been Chosen" campaign leading up to the reveal of (presumably) a new game, features a redhead in a pair of Converse that are too clean staring at some sort of impact site that le...
BioWare photo
BioWare

Another 'You've Been Chosen' teaser from BioWare


'Do you know they are watching? Your power is rising'
Jul 31
// Jordan Devore
This second live-action teaser for BioWare's next game isn't as good as the initial one, but I found it ever so mildly interesting. No "smokeface" this time, sadly. While we know the project is set for a gamescom reveal next...
Inquisition combat photo
Inquisition combat

Dragon Age: Inquisition combat makes me want to play Final Fantasy XII


No you have a problem
Jul 29
// Steven Hansen
Let's be fair, a lot of seemingly arbitrary things make me want to replay Final Fantasy XII. A lack of time coupled with a naive hope for an HD re-release always keep me from doing so, leaving me in a perpetual state of want...
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Also, we are eight years old.
Monday is the worst day of the week, so Bill and I are coping with it by drinking blueberry smoothies and talking about wonderful things like superhero nonsense from Comic-Con, Mass Effect's exciting new (old) sharkmobile, Trine 2's awful poetry, Destiny's two unoriginal races, and True Detective, which Bill doesn't like, and therefore isn't allowed to have blueberry smoothies anymore.

Mass Effect 4 photo
Mass Effect 4

There are new details on Mass Effect 4, but all anyone cares about is the damn Mako


It's back, but I wanna see something new
Jul 28
// Brittany Vincent
BioWare made an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend to divulge some of the first details about the upcoming Mass Effect title, but all we really know for sure at this point is that there's going to be a new Ma...
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The night is dark and full of something, or whatever
BioWare sent out a mysterious teaser trailer for its new horror IP. The trailer implies surreal psychological terrors, but the identity of this game is even more of a mystery. EA's trademark activity points to the name "Shadow Realms," but the channel hosting the video and the website for the game are called "You've Been Chosen."

BioWare photo
BioWare

BioWare's 'Nightmare' teaser trailer is unexpected


'You've been chosen'
Jul 25
// Jordan Devore
BioWare sent emails to fans overnight that include a "Nightmare" teaser trailer for what appears to be a new intellectual property. The video is live action, so it's hard to say what this will be other than "Hey, the guy wit...
Dragon Age photo
Dragon Age

Dragon Age: Inquisition pushed to November


The longer I stare at this guy's flesh, the grosser it looks
Jul 22
// Jordan Devore
Battlefield Hardline, and now Dragon Age: Inquisition -- it's delay day at Electronic Arts. BioWare has moved Inquisition from October 7 to November 18 (Nov. 21 in Europe). Considering how stupidly packed with high-profile re...
Mass Effect photo
Mass Effect

More info on the next Mass Effect to arrive at Comic-Con International


Soon.jpg
Jul 15
// Chris Carter
On July 23rd through the 27th, San Diego Comic-Con will be unleashed again for the masses to attend, which means tons of movie, TV, and videogame news will follow. We can probably expect more on the next Mass Effect ...
Dragon Age: Inquisition photo
Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition is just as pretty indoors as out


Snap some necks with thighs of steel
Jul 11
// Steven Hansen
The first part of this walkthrough with creative director Mike Laidlaw managed to get me excited for Inquisition despite not touching previous Dragon Age games. This one, too, looks pretty darn cool, even without bears to freeze. Plus, Dorian's sweet mustache. 
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Lemme ride them big lizards
I've liked just about everything I've seen from Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is weird, because historically I've basically avoided the series. Here is literally everything I knew about the previous Dragon Age games go...

Dragon Age: Inquisition photo
Dragon Age: Inquisition

This one area in Dragon Age: Inquisition is bigger than all of Origins


This developer demo is actually getting me excited
Jul 09
// Steven Hansen
So big they've added mounts, from regular old horses to the more exotic.  I never felt the Dragon Age games looked too hot, but BioWare has done a nice job making a more lush world. And then you get attacked by a g...
Dragon Age 3 photo
Dragon Age 3

Leliana re-confirmed to have a part to play in Dragon Age: Inquisition


What part is unknown
Jul 07
// Chris Carter
According to Bioware's official Dragon Age site, Leliana will be returning for Inqusition. Not a whole lot is known in terms of whether or not she will be playable, or just influencing the story, but they are building he...
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Sometimes dudes just want to kiss dudes
The most recent character announced for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dorian, is BioWare's first totally gay party member character. Only male player characters will be able to engage Dorian romantically. As well, Doria...

Dumb hair photo
Dumb hair

Dragon Age: Inquisition's Cole is an angsty teen listening to CKY


Dumb hair? Dumb hair
Jun 23
// Steven Hansen
I've never actually listened to CKY. However, I knew two angsty teens that did. Both were white and had dirty blonde hair over their eyes just like Dragon Age: Inquisition's Cole. "All Cole knows for certain is that the world...
Freddie Prinze. Jr. photo
Freddie Prinze. Jr.

Freddie Prinze Jr. tells us a bit about his role in Dragon Age: Inquisition


He sounds a lot better than Vega did in ME3
Jun 23
// Chris Carter
I wasn't a big fan of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s role of James Vega in Mass Effect 3, but his new turn as "Iron Bull" in Dragon Age Inquisition sounds a lot more interesting. This new video from Bioware gives us a glimps...

I couldn't believe the size of Dragon Age: Inquisition's world

Jun 18 // Brett Makedonski
Dragon Age: Inquisition centers around the on-going war between the mages and templars. The presenter emphatically stated several times throughout the demo that this was our goal. That might be what's on BioWare's mind, but honestly, it seems like the more important objective in Inquisition is simply keeping the world from tearing itself apart. All across the land are breaches that need to be repaired, which is the protagonist's duty as the Inquisitor leading the Inquisition. There's plenty of room for customization here as four races and nine specializations (as well as choice of gender) are offered. If Inquisition's going to ask the player to make decisions to affect the outcome of the game, it's a good thing that the option to play several different ways is represented. Not that the Inquisitor would attempt this on his/her own, however. Inquisition has many playable characters that are leaders in their own right, effectively making the player a leader of leaders. These characters react based on choices made throughout the game. For instance, in the demo, we sent one to Redcliffe Castle where she was captured and tortured. We eventually freed her, but the presenter remarked that it'll have a long-term effect on our relationship moving forward. It's probably for the best that relationships be tended to as carefully as possible, because you'll anyone and everyone on your side in the thick of battle. The combat system has been sort of reworked for Inquisition to compromise between Origins' and Dragon Age 2's. Now, the player is able to pause time entirely to take an overhead tactical approach, or get into the fray themselves while switching characters on-the-fly. This was displayed flawlessly in a battle against a ferocious Fereldan Frostback dragon. With different reticules aiming for specific parts of the dragon, the team chipped away. This is where Focus was shown off -- a shared resource that slows down time for everyone but our party. After inflicting some major damage, the dragon was wounded enough that we could move in and deliver the coup de grâce. By the time the 30-minute presentation was up, I realized that we had barely even scratched the surface of what Dragon Age: Inquisition will have to offer. With a massive play space that changes based on in-game decisions and actions, dynamic RPG offerings, and an entire story to tell, Inquisition needs several hours to express what it's all about -- not just a thirty minutes. That being said, a half hour was sufficient time to impress; I can't imagine more time wouldn't just build on that.
Dragon Age preview photo
The rest of the game looked damn fine, too
Fantasy games have some of my favorite settings in all of videogames. Forests, mountains, chasms, rivers -- they all have a serenity and majesty about them that wonderfully adds to the sense of scale. It shouldn't surprise me...

Dragon Age: Inquisition photo
Get up, stand up
Honestly, I'm a little lukewarm on Dragon Age: Inquisition. The footage out of E3 2014 failed to impress, and I find myself joining The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's camp instead. But this trailer piqued my interest in a strange wa...

Mass Effect photo
You like exploration, right?
"Pick a planet across the other side of the galaxy and fly there and see what you'll discover," Mass Effect series executive producer Casey Hudson said of the next installment currently in development at BioWare's Montreal s...

Mass Effect photo
Mass Effect

This Garrus statue is what dreams are made of


That's 21 inches of pure turian
May 30
// Brittany Vincent
Excuse me, 1/4 scale figure of Mass Effect's Garrus Vakarian. I couldn't help but noticing your 21 inches of pure turian goodness over there, and you're a little expensive, but you lookin' hot. Let's get together and talk cal...
Mass Effect 3 photo
Mass Effect 3

BioWare announces most popular Commander Shepard names


I like 'Josh Homme Shepard,' but that's kind of dumb, I guess
May 15
// Brittany Vincent
BioWare has published player data culled from Mass Effect 3 to determine the five most popular names chosen for Commander Shepard, and the top names might surprise you. Sarah and Jack are at the top of the list for both femal...
Dragon Age photo
Dragon Age

Dragon Age: Inquisition has a $170 collector's edition


Keep away from small children
May 13
// Jordan Devore
For the Dragon Age fan who needs more stuff in their life, there's the collector's edition of Inquisition to consider. Or should I say the "Dragon Age Inquisition Inquisitor's Edition," to be precise. It's really called that,...
Mass Effect 3 photo
Mass Effect 3

Thank the Goddess! Mass Effect 3 Omega DLC is free on PSN


Snap up some additional Mass Effect goodness
May 02
// Brittany Vincent
If you've been holding off on purchasing additional Mass Effect DLC because of the sticker shock, today's your lucky day -- if you're a PS3 player, at least. The Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC pack is currently free via PSN for US ...
Mass Effect Trilogy photo
Mass Effect Trilogy

Oh, Shep: Mass Effect Trilogy might make its way to Xbox One and PS4


A Chilean retailer spills the medi-gel
Apr 28
// Brett Makedonski
Commander Shepard and Company might be hopping aboard the SSV Normandy and jetting off to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. That's because Mass Effect, one of the most revered (and then reviled) franchises on the Xbox 360 and ...
Star Wars  photo
Star Wars

Knights of the Old Republic and other Star Wars media no longer considered canon


Your fanart and fanfics aren't canon, either
Apr 25
// Brittany Vincent
That's a nice extended universe you've got there, Star Wars. It'd be a shame if it were invalidated. Actually, that's exactly what's happening. Lucasfilm announced just that today via the official Star Wars blog, where it wa...
Dragon Age photo
'I'm starting to think this is a world in love with crisis'
The Blight is over, the Qunari have been driven from Kirkwall, and the mages have gone to all out war with their Templar oppressors. We've seen a lot of crisis across Thedas, but all that doesn't seem to compare when demons ...


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