Shadow Realms PC: Everything we know about Bioware's, 4 v 1 online dungeon crawler

The game isn't set for release until 2015, but players can sign up to a closed alpha to try out the magic-and-gunplay combat

Bioware, makers of the hugely popular Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, has announced its newest series,Shadow Realms: an online, multiplayer dungeon crawler which pits teams of four heroes against evil ‘Shadowlords’ controlled by fellow players.

The PC-only title was the biggest news from publisher Electronic Arts at the Gamescom conference, with Shadow Realms' unusual asymmetrical combat following a growing trend (both Fable Legends and alien-hunter Evolve featuring similar dynamics).

The game will play out in a series of plot-driven episodes which will be release one by one, with the game's setting spanning both our own world and the medieval-looking magic-infused realm of Embra.

The two dimensions are apparently bleeding into one another, the result being a varied roster of character classes and weaponry spanning everything from magical powers to swords and guns.

Developer James Ohlen says that the game will replicate the classic table top fantasy game experience, with the players controlling Shadowlords stepping into the role of Dungeon Master, setting traps and enemies for the four-person hero teams.

“It is a game that finally fulfills that fantasy of a never-ending RPG where the players meet up regularly to keep their epic adventures going for as long as they want,” wrote Ohlen on his blog.

The gameplay will progress through a series of dungeons in both Earth and Embra.

“The monsters and villains are smart and unpredictable, making every battle a test of strategy and power. Best of all, everyone gets to enjoy a story that plays out like their favorite TV series, but where they decide the fates of its world and characters.”

From the sound of it a big part of the story will be unravelling the mysteries of Embra - a supernatural domain "where the magic, legends and monsters that inspire our myths are real."

Developer Hall Hood describes Embra as home to two warring civilizations, the pacifist and scholarly Radiant Empires and the cruel Shadow Legions (who now hold sway).

"The survivors knew their entire way of life was doomed without an army to defend it," says Hood. "In desperation they turned to their only hope: us."

The game is set to launch in late 2015, with players able to sign up to a closed alpha beginning next month.

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