Cliffhanger Announce Shadowrun Online

Smut and spellcasting.
Cliffhanger (also doing Jagged Alliance Online) have announced that they will be making a Shadowrun game. The fantasy-meet-cyberpunk setting is a splendid one, and Cliffhanger’s effort looks closer to the old RPG than the recent shonky multiplayer take on the game concept. Cliffhanger explain their approach: “it will have a perspective camera in a 3D setting, much like our Jagged Alliance Online game… So, it will be a decent quality, but it won’t be what some call AAA. The reason for that is simple: We are doing a browser based game. This means anyone can access it at any time from their PC… But that also means we need to limit visuals. I hope you agree that gameplay is king, so we think the visuals are decent enough.”

There’s a bit more information over at the announcement, including an explanation of how the game will have two parts – action map and city planning level map. Sounds intriguing.


  1. Alexander Norris says:

    So will this include the utterly broken shamans and anti-tank troll bowmen?

    (Either way I am excited.)

    • Tatourmi says:

      As a seasoned Shadowrun player (4th edition) I can virtually guarantee you that these are NOT the worst things you can do. The martial arts and the spirit possession might be. I have also seen a few suborbital ships takedowns with a throwing knife made by an adept.

      Every mechanic of the game can be abused in a disgusting way. You just have to try not to do it.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I much prefer systems in which it’s not possible to abuse the mechanics at all. We call those “well-designed.” :P

    • amishmonster says:

      I was going to say, you shouldn’t play Exalted with that attitude. It’s kind of the point of that setting!

      I’m excited about a new Shadowrun, though. I never played the pen-and-paper, didn’t have a SNES back in the day, and was warned off the recent version, but the setting has always intrigued me.

    • Harlander says:

      I much prefer systems in which it’s not possible to abuse the mechanics at all. We call those “well-designed.” :P

      We would call them that, if any existed.

      Also, what spanner warned amishmonster off the latest version? It’s the sauce! (Not that it’s not still wonky. It’s wonky in new exciting ways, though)

    • amishmonster says:

      Actually it was my old boss, who was an amusingly avid gamer. He was talking about the PC/360 game though; I don’t know if that’s what you’re talking about or a newer pen and paper edition.

    • Harlander says:

      Oh, no, the recent FPS called Shadowrun is pretty ropey by all respects, and generally not a good representation of the setting.

      I was talking about the fourth edition of the Shadowrun RPG.

      I’ve got the 20th Anniversary Edition. So shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny….

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I was going to say, you shouldn’t play Exalted with that attitude. It’s kind of the point of that setting!

      Exalted is a setting that is one part interesting, one part child rape (Infernals! No, I’m not kidding at all, by the way) and one of the worst systems imaginable to Man. I wish it didn’t have child rape and the system weren’t so terrible.

      We would call them that, if any existed.

      A lot of them exist. Designing a balanced system isn’t some kind of Holy Grail of game design, Harlander.

    • Harlander says:

      If you’re going to take my bait, bite the whole way down.

      Which tabletop RPG systems are impossible to exploit?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Which tabletop RPG systems are impossible to exploit?

      Burning Wheel. If you try to game the system, Luke Crane will punch you in the face the GM will say no. Try to create a character with ridiculous lifepaths, beg for a skill test when it’s not appropriate, and you’ll be shot down.

      If the GM plays the game as written and follows the rules (this is very important), it all works fine. Everything the player does must have a valid narrative reason.

    • Danarchist says:

      “I much prefer systems in which it’s not possible to abuse the mechanics at all. We call those “well-designed.” :P”

      If your game master allows abuse you need a less passive-aggressive game master hehe. Anytime someone tried to use the system against itself they were geeked before they could properly enjoy it. I seem to remember the two times I played the most recent version Physical Adepts were pretty much invincible godlike death machines. Toxic Shaman cult in apartment downstairs, the great equalizer!

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Which tabletop RPG systems are impossible to exploit?

      The one that immediately springs to mind is 4E before Essentials, when it had reached the point at which nothing was game-breaking and 90% of things were on the same power levels (with a few exclusions such as the Seeker, which sort of suck).

      Essentials and its predilection for charge builds (and all the subsequent Badge of the Berserker silliness) sort of upset that, but charge builds still aren’t so powerful as to prove a problem for a DM playing by the rules (rather than requiring Rule 0 fiat).

      If your game master allows abuse you need a less passive-aggressive game master hehe.

      If your GM has to stop you from abusing a system, it is generally worth moving to a system that doesn’t require so many houserules as to be unrecognisable. ;)

      Burning Wheel.

      I actually wouldn’t quote BW, since it’s possible to make several sub-par or above-par choices in Lifepaths and skills/traits which can easily result in parts of the group having much more mechanical impact (and therefore much more narrative agency) than others.

    • nimzy says:

      Let me tell you about the utterly broken troll martial artist that can punch through reinforced concrete and stop a speeding semi truck with his bare hands through abuse of the overdrive mechanic…

      Oh yeah, I also remember conjecture on how you could kill a dragon by hitting it with your car. Something about the force damage multiplier at speed.

    • amishmonster says:

      I haven’t read through the Infernals book yet, but I don’t remember any child abuse. Not that I’d be particularly surprised, what with the demons and such.

      It’s not a balanced system, though, I’ll give you that. Though I’m not sure it attempts to be, for good or ill.

    • Stromko says:

      4E was only balanced because it was terrible. My initial reaction was that they took the most boring class ever devised for 3.5, the Warlock, and just made everyone’s powers work like that. 4E is an example of a system that’s been so streamlined, it has no flavor. I haven’t looked at Essentials, and I’ll accept that 4E is quite worthwhile to play if you have a great DM, but there’s better uses of your time.

      Good balance doesn’t mean that everyone is just as effective in combat, good balance means that you can choose from a diverse array of characters, have a widely varying experience based on those choices, and can have fun playing a role that you’ve determined for yourself. 4E’s MMORPG tropes only allow for videogame-style balance, not tabletop RPG balance.

      But that does bring up an interesting point. This Shadowrun browser game is a videogame, not a tabletop game. Shadowrun let you make a choice between being a socializer, a detective, a hacker, a mage, or a cybered-up combat god that took 3 actions a round with akimbo smart-linked guns. Which would you rather play in a videogame? Videogames usually do combat well, it remains to be seen if they can make non combat interesting and worth investing in.

  2. Tatourmi says:

    Well, I sort of am excited, but how could they not ruin shadowrun? Well, I certainly hope they don’t but I do not have high hopes of it happening. The closest thing they could do would be a sort of subversion clone.

    • dontnormally says:

      “(so nobody needs to go for pizza while your hacker battles Black ICE for two hours)”

      They get it!

      Remember that one xbox game?


  3. greg_ritter says:

    When I’ve read the word “Shadowrun”, I was soooo excited… right until I’ve read the word ‘online”. So, I was excited for a fraction of second. Good times.

    • chargen says:

      I still had a bit of hope past “online”, but then I got to “browser”.

  4. mollemannen says:

    link to kinda fun to listen to.

  5. Harlander says:

    I’d already heard about this a while back on the Dumpshock forum, but seeing it here on RPS makes me go

    “Tentatively yessssssssssssssssssss”

    If this is multiplayer, with each player controlling one of your runner team, it’ll be a step closer to what I’ve been hoping for for a while. (Neverwinter Nights-esque Shadowrun game… Seattle Nights?)

  6. -Spooky- says:

    “We are doing a browser based game.” *sigh* First thought was on a real epic mmo. :/

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    Looks a bit like Gunshine

  8. Fadobo says:

    I played their Jagged Alliance: Online Version at Gamescom in Cologne this year and it was really, really good (both visually, since it’s looks nothing like a browsergame when it runs in fullscreen, and gameplay-wise). If they do the same with Shadowrun, I am excited!

  9. bill says:

    Shadowrun = YAY!
    Online = Oh FFS!

    Did Deus Ex 3 sell well?
    Because, if it did, if anyone from EA or somewhere is listening: Make a shadorun game like that and it’d be awesome! It’s your chance to jump on the DE3/Bioshock bandwagon!! Loads of cash?? Anyone?

    Console shadowrun was awesome for the time. And actually, a shadowrun with elements of Jagged Alliance would be cool (since they are both about assembling teams of Mercs right?). But online? gah!

    A Deus Ex meets Rainbow 6 (the old ones) game would be great – and they could even tack on a multiplayer FPS bit with unlockable cyber upgrades if they insist.

  10. Tuco says:

    ” I hope you agree that gameplay is king”

    Of course I do, and that’s exactly why I’m not going to expect anything good from a browser game.

  11. Ovno says:

    Looks very interesting especially from the jagged alliance guys.

    I just wish this wasn’t very close to one of the indie games I’ve got planned… ;p

    And as far as oh no its a browser game, there is nothing stopping a browser game being just as deep and detail as any other, especially if its just a normal unity game built for the web player…

  12. Eclipse says:

    you lost me at browser based.

    No wait, you lost me way before when it says it’s an mmo

  13. Snakejuice says:

    If this is even remotely like Shadowrun on SNES I’ll seriously wet my pants! In fact, I might just fire up zsnes right now and do another playthrough..

    • Snakejuice says:

    • Reefpirate says:

      I’m sorry, I don’t wish to spoil your fun with the SNES game… But the Shadowrun RPG for the SEGA Genesis is much much better than the SNES one. Totally different dev team, so it’s not just a port. And it is totally awesome, one of my fave RPGs of the era. You might want to read a quick online FAQ before trying it, because it’s a bit tricky to get into: it uses the actual rules from the pen and paper game.

    • Vagrant says:

      Silly Internet Arugment Time! The SNES game was a better video game.
      the Genesis game was more creative, and much more faithful.

      The SNES game was a lot of fun, and was different from just about every other RPG on the platfom while still having an almost JRPG feel and polish to it. The SG game, on the other hand, was bogged down with features ported from the tabletop, which did translate into a great deal of depth and replayability.

    • Snakejuice says:

      Even tho I owned a Megadrive at the time I never got around to try that version of Shadowrun so I might just give it a try! I’ve however never been much into tabletop RPGs so I might not like it as much as the SNES game..

    • Premium User Badge

      Buzko says:

      I loved the Megadrive game, but couldn’t get into the SNES one (both via emulation). Can’t remember what the problem was, maybe something about the controls. But yeah, there has been at least one really good adaptation.

  14. Lowfyr says:

    Shadowrun Online? Yes please. But you better follow a) the canon and b) the rules. No burn-out tech-schaman recruited by Coyote himself with a negative essence.

  15. Emeraude says:

    At first my heart broke, then I went over the Internet to get some info…

    link to

    Given how their Jagged Alliance Online game looks ( link to ), I’m feeling much better. Still sad we’re not getting a proper RPG, but I can live with that.

  16. sendmark says:

    Well I’m definitely interested, the jagged alliance game looks good and the setting is perfect for an mmo.

  17. Navagon says:

    Should I be pleased that the IP is at least getting some use? Hmm… nah. Not much point.

  18. porps says:

    colour me curious, i sure did like shadowrun back in the days

  19. Ankheg says:

    So, we have interesting setting, very big background, great possibilities (well, you could even create silent hill ilke scenes if you wish, not to mention big number of culture folklore, dragons, metaplanes, cyberspace etc). And all we get is one decent sega game and some number of crap. Why they couldn’t make anything normal?