I developed a deep appreciation and love for urban fantasy stories in college. One of my English professors had assigned a short story collection for one of the many folklore and fantasy classes I would go on to take. It was there that I first discovered Charles De Lint, as I was drawn to a story called "The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep." I would later learn it was part of his Newford series of stories and novels, set in a modern town where reality and fantasy mingle.
Stick with me, I trust you that this is going somewhere relevant to your interests.
"The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep" is a retelling of "The Buried Moon," but most importantly in this case, it focuses on a woman named Sophie who seems to be going to another world while she dreams. In it, she's actually living a continuous, other life. It incorporates the lucid and progressive dreaming phenomenons, while also suggesting that the dream world can be a tangible place.
Which brings me to BioWare's "You've Been Chosen" trailer. I'm sure you've seen the video by now. If not, allow me to sum it up for you. A man is running from someone, or something, down a shadowy alley. The scene shifts to a sharply dressed man in a living room chair, with smoke for a face. It goes back to the fleeing man, who comes upon a car. He struggles to get in, then sees someone else is already inside. Then the reveal--the man inside is himself, and the version of him that was running turns into a being of light.
That's when the man awakes, in bed, with a woman who is his girlfriend or wife. The trailer ends with the tagline, "What really happens when we sleep." Also, it appears to be tied to EA's Shadow Realms trademark.
I know there's no connection, yet I can't help but feel that the story is helping to provide insight into BioWare's trailer. Perhaps BioWare is constructing an urban fantasy for us, one that suggests that our selves are connected to two worlds at once and in this game, our avatar will be awakened. We'll be aware of both realities and, like "The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep," Shadow Realms will explore the ideas of progressive and lucid dreaming.
It also got me thinking about the kind of game "we've been chosen" to play. Given the ephemeral nature of dreams, a shooter seems unlikely. It could be an MMO, but The Secret World seems to similar and I doubt EA would want to chance one after Star Wars: The Old Republic. I'm hoping for an adventure game, since a dream-like setting would offer the perfect opportunity for BioWare to show-off its choice-laden, story-heavy techniques. Though really, the safest bet is an open-world adventure along the lines of Watch_Dogs and Deus Ex, involving shadowy figures and all sorts of intrigue.
Though whatever happens, a part of me is going to hope that the Shadow Realms end result will be something that still reminds me of one of my all time, favorite short stories.