Shadow Realms, Bioware’s mysterious asymmetrical online action game, may have been retooled to support EA’s PC distribution suite, Origin.
Shadow Realms was announced at gamescom 2014 with an alpha expected to kick off in September, but the test hasn’t yet materialised.
Bioware copped to delaying the test back in October, but now Kotaku has word that the online only PC exclusive has been significantly pushed back. Originally expected to launch episodically in 2015, it reportedly won’t release till 2017.
According to the site’s sources, the delay was cased by Bioware’s decision to reboot development in order to build in Origin integration. As an online multiplayer game, Sahodw Realms’ engine needs to have this sort of feature built in from the start, and the developer apparently initially elected to produce a stand-alone client before changing its mind – resulting in a setback to the schedule.
As for why it would do so, Kotaku speculates that Bioware wanted to protect the project from running out of funds or being cancelled like Dawngate and and Command & Conquer, two recent EA online games that didn’t integrate Origin and were shelved before release. The site reports EA studios receive larger budgets if they choose to integrate Origin.
Kotaku also speculates that the move to Origin means Shadow Realms will not be free to play, but I don’t see why EA can’t support F2P games like Steam does – and neither Bioware nor EA ever confirmed the 4v1 action RPG would be free.
In any case, the path of development, especially for experimental projects, rarely runs smoothly, and delays happen. Here’s hoping EA tells us a bit more about this interesting sounding project soon.
Update: Oh, one of Kotaku’s sources said the game is now coming to PS4 and Xbox One as well, but this only gets a passing mention, which is interesting.