RuneScape creator unveils new MMO after 10 years of development: ‘At times it has felt like an insurmountably ambitious task’

Andrew Gower, who created the legendary, still-active RuneScape MMO with his brother Paul in the early 2000s, has just unveiled a new MMO, and it’s releasing this year.

Brighter Shores has been in development for 10 years, according to Gower’s studio, Fen Research. It aims to provide “a relaxing respite from daily life,” casting players as town guards in a “cozy” fantasy world—but not one so cozy that the whole game is about snoozing next to a portcullis. The players’ concerns will quickly expand “far beyond the town walls as they learn of a greater threat across the fantastical world of Adothria.”

Fen Research promises some twists on MMO staples. The character classes are new—”Cryoknight, Hammermage, or Guardian”—and without going into details, the studio says it seeks to minimize “the ‘grindy’ gameplay often found in the genre.”

Like RuneScape, Brighter Shores won’t just be about fighting. Players will be able to take up “a huge number of” professions, including fisher, forager, chef, woodcutter, miner, alchemist, stonemason, merchant, blacksmith, “and many more.”

I like the look of it: old-school RuneScape flavor with crisp, understated environments arranged on a tabletop-like grid. It’s built on Fen Reasearch’s custom Fenforge engine, and the developer says it’ll continuously expand the game after launch with new episodes that add “unique side quests, professions, and lands” while “advancing the central story.”

“Creating this game has been a real labor of love,” says Gower. “At times it has felt like an insurmountably ambitious task, so it’s amazing to finally see it coming together in the way I hoped. I can’t wait to see the world full of players enjoying what we have created.”

Brighter Shores will be free-to-play when it releases on PC and Mac via Steam, with a premium pass that adds additional quests, professions, and features such as player-to-player trading. Its current release window is Q3 2024—so, sometime between this July and September.

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