‘RuneScape’ Creator Returns After 23 Years With Free-To-Play MMO ‘Brighter Shores’

For those who grew up in the early 2000s, chances are that RuneScape was a rite of passage into the free-to-play, multiplayer online experience. Brimming with old-school charm, the MMO classic whisked players away on an adventure that involved killing monsters (including dragons), completing quests, trading items with others, as well as a host of non-combat tasks like cooking, fishing, chopping wood, starting fires, and more.

23 years later, the same flair continues to live on in Brighter Shores, an upcoming title from RuneScape creator Andrew Gower. It will be free-to-play with an optional premium pass, offering hours and hours of content at no additional cost. Alongside a “cozy, relaxing atmosphere”, players can also expect a heavy focus on crafting and try out three character classes: Cyroknight, Hammermage, and Guardian.

Like RuneScape, the game offers a wide range of professions, including fisher, forager, chef, woodcutter, miner, alchemist, stonemason, merchant, blacksmith, and more. Unlike the former, however, it aims to reduce grindy gameplay often found in the genre.

The first trailer for Brighter Shores offers an extended first look at a peaceful coastal town set in the fantasy land of Adothria, with players fighting enemies, investigating potential threats, and learning skills like magic and alchemy. It’s a familiar sight, oozing the nostalgia and the delightful simplicity of the good old days.

According to Gower and his studio Fen Research, the project has been in development for 10 years. His brother Paul, who co-founded RuneScape‘s studio Jagex, serves as narrative designer. The pair did most of the early development work on the classic MMO, before leaving the company in 2010.

“Creating this game has been a real labor of love,” Andrew said in a press release. “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 releases Q3 2024 for PC and Mac via Steam.