Fen Research, the studio founded by original RuneScape designer Andrew Gower, has unveiled Brighter Shores – a “cosy” new free-to-play fantasy MMORPG coming to PC and Mac later this year that promises a “relaxing respite from daily life”.

Brighter Shores, which is said to have been ten years in the making, whisks players away to the peaceful coastal town of Hopeport, where they’ll initially take on the role of town guard. Soon, however, they’ll find themselves venturing beyond the town walls “as they learn of a greater threat across the fantastical world of Adothria.”

There’s talk of “quirky characters, fascinating foes and captivating locations” for players to encounter as they explore the world, having adopted one of three classes: Cryoknight, Hammermage, or Guardian. These options are supposed to mark a break from the traditional likes of mage, rogue, and warrior, with Fen Research promises other “new and exciting twists” on the MMORPG genre, including a deliberate shift away from ‘grindy’ gameplay.

Brighter Shores Trailer

Brighter Shores announcement trailer.

While Brighter Shores is free-to-play, Fen Research says it’ll be avoiding micro-transactions in favour of an “all-inclusive premium pass” offering “extra quests, adventures and stories”. That’s on top of the base game’s “hundreds of hours” of free content – and there are regular content updates planned for beyond Brighter Shores’ launch.

“Creating this game has been a real labour of love,” lead designer Andrew Garfield explains in Brighter Shores’ official announcement. “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.”

There’s no release date for Brighter Shores beyond a vague “Q3 2024” right now, but it’ll be available on PC and Mac via Steam when it eventually shows up.

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