Posts Tagged ‘Harebrained Schemes’

How BattleTech Hopes To Do Giant Mechs Justice

There is no shortage of classic MechWarrior games for PC. MechWarrior 2 was one of the defining 3D action games of the 90s, and MechCommander remains a beloved tactical game among the people who remember it. But you could argue that there’s never been a real BattleTech game, one that faithfully recreated both the tabletop tactical games and the kind of warfare portrayed in in the sourcebooks. The PC games set in the MechWarrior universe all had to make drastic departures.

Now, over thirty years after he created BattleTech, Jordan Weisman is finally getting around to making a PC wargame that does it justice. After successfully reviving the Shadowrun franchise on PC, his company has brought BattleTech to Kickstarter. It’s a descended from the boardgame in ways that the other PC MechWarrior games never could be. I spoke to Weisman about why things would be different this time.

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Shadowrun Returns Devs Bring Back BattleTech, Is Successfully Kickstarted Almost Immediately

Edit: now at over $800k after less than a day. Lawks!

BattleTech is/was the setting for the beloved MechWarrior series, but began life as a 1984 tabletop wargame, long before it was a mech combat sim. Though MechWarrior pops up again now and then (usually involving some tortured development process), the BattleTech name itself didn’t get a whole lot of use when it came to videogames – although Command & Conquer creators Westwood had a go at one. But now it’s getting its first non-spun-off time in the PC gaming sun since 1994, as a new turn-based mech tactics game being developed by Harebrained Schemes, of Shadowrun Returns fame.

BattleTech reached its $250,000 Kickstarter goal within around an hour of announcement. Blimey. However, the game won’t have a singleplayer campaign unless it reaches one million dollars. Wait, what?
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Wot I Think – Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Shadowrun: Hong Kong [official site] is the third-and-a-half time around the block for this cyberpunk-but-with-elves roleplaying series, and by now there’s a routine and a rhythm. You build a Shadowrunner, a secretive mercenary who can fight with technical or mystical powers (or a combination of the two), leading a team of fixed-spec allies with big personalities through real-time exploration and turn-based action. This time, the setting is one of the touchstones of 80s cyberpunk, and we’re dealing with Triads, social segregation and city-wide nightmares in addition to the usual gang war, troll mercenaries and magic-assisted corporate espionage.

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BattleTech Returns: Shadowrun Studio Preparing Mech Combat Kickstarter

Shadowrun has enjoyed a triumphant return and after the superb Dragonfall, I’m as excited about the the upcoming trip to Hong Kong as I am about almost any other game coming up in the second half of the year. Harebrained Schemes love a good return though and now they’re preparing to help another series step back into the limelight.

BattleTech is back. Or at least it will be if an upcoming Kickstarter is successful. Details below.

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Shadowrun: Hong Kong Boots Up On August 20th

Where else would shadowrunners set up base?

Shadowrun: Hong Kong [official site] has finally got itself a fancy release date, so y’all can pencil this in: August 20th, which gives you a good month to crack those knuckles on the franchise’s original Gera-Approved Pen & Paper Daddy for full preparation.

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Travel to Hong Kong With First Shadowrun Screens

Now that some Shadowrun: Hong Kong [official site] screenshots have finally been released, we’re allowed a first glimpse at what life for our Runners will be like in the Far East. In short, pretty similar to what we’ve encountered so far in Seattle and Berlin, but with a more Eastern twang. Shanty street markets, dimly lit docks and rooftop hideaways all scream Shadowrun. As does the now familiar art style, which looks like Harebrained Schemes have taken an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. And rightly so.

There’s a teaser trailer too, but it shows absolutely nothing and gives us no clearer indication of when we’ll get our hands on the game beyond “summer 2015″.

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Death Is Beautiful: Shadowrun Devs’ Necropolis Looks Ace

Certain games, you know the ones, give you that straight up “YES. THAT. PLEASE.” reaction. Something about the aesthetic, the animation, the developer – something makes you disregard any possibility other than finding a way to get it onto your hard drive as soon as possible. For an example, please see above.

Necropolis [official site], first revealed late last year as the next game from Shadowrun Returns devs Harebrained Schemes, is a semi-procedurally generated Zelda-like with big, brutal combat. It’s stunningly pretty (or “in vogue” as Alec called it, smartypants) and promises a darkly humourous tone. Until this very moment there hasn’t been any footage. Until now.

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Harebrained Schemes On The Future Of Shadowrun

Last week I ran the first half of an interview with three-time Kickstarter winners Harebrained Schemes, in which they fielded my own questions about their upcoming cyberpunk-with-magic RPG sequel Shadowrun: Hong Kong. This time, they’re fielding your questions – including what they’ve got planned for the future of the series, cyberpunk’s Asian influences, how the stories are becoming increasingly less linear, avoiding Eastern stereotypes with the new setting, and improving the game’s pace.

Oh, and at the time writing the Shadowrun Hong Kong Kickstarter has now brought in $750,000. They’d asked for $100,000. They’ve now unlocked 12 stretch goals, and promise an additional mini-campaign if they hit $1 million. There are still 19 days to go. *blinks*.
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Shadowrun Devs On Hong Kong, Kickstarter, Fans & Story

Shadowrun just keeps on returning. The cyberpunk RPG has has various game adaptations over the last few decades, but it was the Kickstarted Shadowrun Returns which most nailed the concept. Narrative and choice expanded in excellent follow-up campaign Dragonfall, which then saw a further improved Director’s Cut, and after all that devs Harebrained Schemes had a loyal enough fanbase to pull off their third successful Kickstarter, even in an age where there’s a lot of worried muttering about the future of crowd-funding for games. No such worries for Harebrained co-founders Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman, whose upcoming Shadowrun: Hong Kong was funded in less than two hours and now has over $600k pledged – six times what they’d asked for. Blimey.

Earlier this week, I talked to the pair about why they went back to the Kickstarter well, what they’re doing differently this time, how they’ve been able to make story an increased focus, what the community’s up to with the Shadowrun editor and being sent free pizza.
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That Was Quick: Shadowrun Definitely Returns Again

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. But they weren’t talking about one studio being able to pull off multiple successful Kickstarters when they said that, so it’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that Harebrained Schemes join the likes of Double Fine and inXile in getting a second [edit – third, in fact: they also had Golem Arcana, which I think makes them the crowdfunding leader?] game crowd-funded into existence. There’s lots of anxiety flying around about the Kickstarter era of videogame development winding down, but Shadowrun: Hong Kong flew in the face of doomsaying by getting itself funded within hours of the campaign launching.
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