Split Personality: Hard Reset Devs Revive Shadow Warrior

This logo contains an actual dragon made out of blood. Take that, Far Cry 3.

In a post-re-Rise-of-the-Triad world, any franchise reboot is possible. Case in point: Shadow Warrior. The original was a ninja-themed first-person shooter sliced and diced from Duke Nukem 3D‘s cloth – Build engine, unrepentantly offensive humor, and all – but it didn’t exactly have legions of lovers banging down doors for its long-overdue return. At least, not that I’m aware of. Maybe I should’ve looked in more shadows. Regardless, it’s coming back, and Hard Reset developer Flying Wild Hog’s hefting the weighty, blood-rusted katana of responsibility.

The company whose name makes it impossible for me to not think about Cards Against Humanity announced the rather surprising project via Facebook:

“Our next project is finally revealed, we’re working on a total reimagining of Shadow Warrior with Devolver Digital.”

So then, it probably won’t be the same game you knew back in the day, except with handsomer decapitations. I’m not saying there won’t be plenty of gruffly attractive, well-dressed cranial severings, but Flying Wild Hog’s fingerpints will probably be quite apparent. Will Shadow Warrior still be abjectly racist in its “humorous” sensibilities? I suppose time will tell.

Really, the same goes for pretty much everything at the moment. Details are basically non-existent, but we’ll be finding out more very soon. But hey, if nothing else, we know for certain that Flying Wild Hog has a fairly magnificent in-house engine and decent-ish old-school shooter chops. Hard Reset’s level design might have been as drearily dreadful as its setting, but bosses were big and guns went kaboomzang real good. Appearances, then, at least seem to suggest this’ll be a pretty natural fit. For now, though, it’s impossible to say anything for sure.

Hurrah! Get excited! Or don’t! It really doesn’t matter at this point. How about the original Shadow Warrior, though? Did you play it? Did you enjoy it? Have you been silently suffering ever since its credits rolled, praying that it’d eventually return to softly cradle your still-beating heart one last time?


  1. Taidan says:

    Oh, those legions of lovers are there alright.

    Waiting patiently… for their Wang.

    • Hunchback says:

      True, true! I’ve been waiting for a damn reboot for… ever?

      The first game in which you got to run to people and cut them in half with a katana, just fucking awesome!

      Sadly, i am afraid this reboot, like many others, will fail to bring back the old feeling (which is probably impossible, from today’s point of view anyway). We’ll see, i guess…

      • Juan Lebedev says:

        Hmm, I dunno, Imagine a mix of the sword gameplay of Metal Gear: Revengeance and GTA.

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  2. Tom De Roeck says:

    I loved shadow warrior but I never owned it so I only played the shareware version.

    it looked like a great game. my fav build engine games were probably, in order of love to less love:

    Blood, duke, shadow warrior.

    • strangeloup says:

      You can get it on GOG for the princely sum of $6.

      It’s still really good, but Build engine controls take a wee bit of getting used to if you’re used to recent FPS control setups.

  3. ChromeBallz says:

    I loved this game. Never finished it though…

    It had a lot of original ideas and somehow felt a bit better than Duke 3D, though i think a lot of my enjoyment may have resulted from it being a Build game (level editing huzzah!).

    I don’t think this remake will be anywhere close, really.

  4. mrmalodor says:

    Do you want to wash Wang? Or do you want to watch Wang wash wang?

    This is nice, but I bet it’ll be just a corridor shooter. Developers are too lazy these days to create such beautiful, complex levels as back in the day. But who knows, maybe they will actually try to break the cycle?

    • lizzardborn says:

      Except … these are not ordinary lazy developers. Painkiller is a gem with very atmospheric and brilliant level design. Hard reset was also very nice game hamstrung by its small budget. These guys know a thing or two about what makes shooters fun and not spunkgargleweewee.

      • Taltos says:

        Hard Reset? That was very nearly the definition of a corridor shooter. Despite its claims to “old-school” gameplay and design, almost all of its levels were pretty simple and linearly focused. Not to mention, its “secrets” were badly hidden, very rarely being more nuanced than a simple fork in the road compared with the typical multiple event flag chains in Doom, Quake, and Serious Sam.

        I can trust Devolver a little more to understand what worked in these older FPS games, Flying Hog Studios not so much.

      • soldant says:

        Painkiller was a linear sequence of arena fights. Nothing exciting or unusual there.

        Then again Shadow Warrior wasn’t particularly fantastic at the time either.

  5. zenomp5 says:

    “Whooo-a wanta some wang!” hahaha such a good game. Hope they don’t duke nuke’m forever it. Did anyone try playing the shaddow warrior cd in a cd player (music), those tracks were hilarious.

    • JD Ogre says:

      Those tracks weren’t hilarious – they were actually great music (except for Lo Wang’s Rap, which I don’t actually like or find particularly funny). In fact, it’s been in my MP3 library since the 90s.

      SW’s also my favorite of the four main Build Engine games: Shadow Warrior, Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition, [One Unit Whole] Blood, and Redneck Rampage. Have the original discs for all of them, and Blood’s & Redneck Rampage’s (DN3D didn’t come with one, sadly) soundtracks are also in my library for regular listening. :)

  6. orange says:


  7. BobbyDylan says:

    Oooo… Stickey bomb, lika you!

    I’m not sure what this says about me, but I’ll be disapointed if it doesn’t have the same steriotypical OTT humour.

    I gues I must be a racist then. How sad.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      Only if you don’t recognise that it’s an OTT stereotype and you think it’s an accurate portrayal of anything.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      You’re only a racist if RPS says you are. Don’t worry, they limit their social outrage to sexism, so you’re in the clear. For now.

  8. PoulWrist says:

    Hah, Fork Parker teased this on twitter :D

  9. DickSocrates says:

    If any company is capable of producing an authentic Shadow Warrior experience in today’s world it’s Devolver.

    And the first game wasn’t racist. It is possible to have fun with other cultures and stereotypes without it being racist. No one is attacking anyone’s culture, no one is putting anyone else down.

    • Prime says:

      But really honestly genuinely, not trying to be funny, and a wee bit for the sake of argument, is it though? Can you lampoon a culture without it being racist? If I blacked up to portray Malcolm X delivering one of his most memorable speeches, would that not be racist because I’m not taking the piss? If I did the Asian slitty-eye thing to deliver a beautiful piece of Japanese poetry, would that not be racist?

      Do you believe Phantom Menace was racist in any way? They could argue they weren’t picking on Jews, Blacks and Asians but clearly some people felt uncomfortable with the various aliens enough to say they were. What about Transformers 2’s “twins”?

      I can’t recall enough about Shadow Warrior (too long since I played it) to remember if it was really racist or not, but it is the kind of portrayal of Asians you really don’t see any more. There must be a reason for that.

      • Soldancer says:

        I greatly enjoyed the game in college back in the 90’s (caron dating will confirm this), but even then some of the “jokes” made me cringe. As a big fan of anime back then, it also really bugged me that Lo Wang was this weird conflation of Chinese AND Japanese racial stereotypes. Honestly the “fortunes” you got when you found the fortune cookie health boosters were some of the funnier jokes.

        Prime posits an excellent question. Is something still racist even if we are aware it is playing with stereotypes? It’s definitely something worth thinking about, and I don’t think there’s an easy answer.

        As far as the game itself goes, I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m hoping as several others have said that it doesn’t fall into the Duke Nukem Forever camp. The original Shadow Warrior was pretty fun apart from its stereotyping and sometimes-flat humour. The gameplay was pretty awesome, and the weapon selection fantastic (katana, quad shotgun, and severed, fire-breathing head? YES).

        ::fingers crossed::

    • Ragnar says:

      “And the first game wasn’t racist. It is possible to have fun with other cultures and stereotypes without it being racist. No one is attacking anyone’s culture, no one is putting anyone else down.”

      While I also believe it wasn’t racist, replace “racist” with “offensive” and it falls apart. Things that aren’t racist can certainly be offensive to members of that race, and while it is technically possible to have fun with cultures and stereotypes without being offensive, it’s such a fine line that few succeed at pulling it off.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Really looking forward to this, I loved the original. I’m not racist or mysoginistic in real life, but my taste in games is way different. I sure hope this new game is at least twice as offensive as the first one. Naked chicks overload and stupid stereotypes galore please, it’s gonna be awesome. Oh, and Kill Bill-style founts of blood too.

  10. Richeh says:

    If it’s got a four-barreled shotgun and a nuclear missile you can fire from a shoulder mounted launcher that more often than not kills you stone dead – I’m interested. Duke 3D, Blood and Shadow Warrior were the unholy triumverate of the Build engine.

  11. Kobest says:

    This is great news indeed, but please devs, make sure it has the following:

    1. Loads of guns (that are fun and devastating at the same time)
    2. Visceral combat (you have the feeling of danger, you have to look at your health and ammo count, be aware of huge explosives because they could easily kill you, etc.
    3. Creative levels and level design
    4. One-liners (“Cawaabungaa!”)
    5. Somewhat useable inventory (I rarely used the inventory items in SW, apart from the medikit)
    6. Bosses (Serious Sam 3 nailed this well, that a mini-boss is hard to take down at the beginning, but later in the game, you can mow them down easily with more firepower)

    Flying Wild Hog has the chance to bring back the feeling of the classic Build shooters, so I’m rooting for you guys! :)

    I played through Hard Reset, and they definitely have what it takes to make a game like this happen. If they manage to deliver on these features, it’s day 1 purchase for me and my friends. You can’t believe how much we’re waiting for a good shooter that is reminiscent of the Build games.

    The final bossfight should, of course, happen on an erupting volcano. Any other endgame setting will simply not do.

  12. Lord Byte says:

    Ooh sticky-bomb has a new friend!


    Never had so much fun in a deathmatch game as in the Shadow Warrior shareware :)

    Bought it recently on gog.com and it’s still a fun game :)

    • Kobest says:

      Same here, just played the GOG version two months back. Had loads of fun with it, and I was surprised how well the game aged! :)

  13. GallonOfAlan says:

    Fuck this – WHERE’s BLOOD?

  14. Supahewok says:

    Never played the game, only ever watched a good chunk of it on Youtube in a Let’s Play. Can’t say it ever really struck me as racist; the sheer ridiculousness of everything makes it impossible to accept anything as serious. That being said, I rather doubt that such… humor would fly in today’s market. Different times and all. And I highly doubt that they’ll sneak in naked anime women this time around either.

  15. m_a_t says:

    Oh please…

    I loved Shadow Warrior back in the days but now I just wish it was left to rest in peace.

    Or wait… ah what the hell, just bring it on :)

  16. Badreligion says:

    Well that was unexpected. My buddy actually showewd me this game for the first time not to long ago. He still had the disk for some reason. Quite a funny game. In this day and age I don’t think he will be able to get away with that type of humor but that’s ok as long as we can still cut people in half.

  17. Mollusc Infestation says:

    I’ve been trying to remember the name of this game for years. Some friends and I used to play deathmatch at our local internet cafe. Much fun. However, i have no specific desire for a reboot. Perhaps it’ll be good. That would be nice i suppose.

  18. ronzoni says:

    yes it was racist you fucking idiots. thats like saying a minstrel show wasnt racist because IT WAS SO OVER THE TOP HOW COULD YOU TAKE IT SERIOUSLY RIGHT ITS NOT LIKE IT COULD MAKE ACTUAL BLACK PEOPLE FEEL BAD WHAT ARE YOU SOME KIND OF PC POLICE

  19. Eclipse says:

    I’d love to see a Blood sequel, but not like Blood 2, that had good bits but in the end was quite disappointing… something with the Blood 1 atmosphere, that game was amazing, my second favorite fps, just a little bit under Quake 1

  20. theblazeuk says:

    Who wants some wang!?!?

    Well I could live without as much as I loved the first game at the tender age of 12. Perfectly stupidly fun for me then, the stuff that seems so tacky now was gold then.

    However the gameplay was pretty fun! Cutting people in half with a sword, throwing shurikens (or darts in the ridiculous British censorship version), kicking people or firing the nuclear bomb into a portal so it destroys everything on the other side but not you; all good times on the farm. In fact I think that was the first time I saw a portal in a game – you could see things moving around on the other side, you could fire through, it was cool and yes, I know, it was a trick of the engine. I remember firing up the level editor and being amazed at how so much level design was a clever trick of making basically 2D (or whatever its called when there’s no real vertical axis) environments seem complex.

  21. Skabooga says:

    I’m always happy to see remakes and reboots of terrible games from the past because they at least stand a chance of being better than their predecessors.

  22. Zogtee says:

    I’m kinda excited about this, as long as they drop the “funny” bits, which were fucking rubbish even back when it was released.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      In fairness, they were about as funny as Duke’s epithets, i.e. only to jocks and 12-year-olds. It was still a good old shooter with lots of inventive stuff in it. Full of easter eggs and secrets too, which are criminally under-represented in the modern shooter.

    • ShockLobster says:

      That ‘rubbish’ was core to the personality of the game.

  23. TomxJ says:

    I’m glad Flying Hog are making another FPS, Hard Reset really hit the spot for me.

  24. Scumbag says:

    I doubt some material will be getting in:
    “Haha! She raided her last tomb!”

  25. manablight says:

    Registered just to post it


  26. Shooop says:

    So then… Misogyny? Big no-no! Racism? A-OK!

    Glad to see that’s cleared up RPS community.

    • Ragnar says:

      Why settle for one or the other? The original Shadow Warrior had both!

    • A Boot Stomping a Human Face says:

      Oh, good, I was looking for the social justice comments.

      As an Asian who despises social justice warriors. I honestly find it fucking weird RPS didn’t comment on how tasteless the original game was.

      And now I need to go get the Shadow Warrior sourceport.

      • iucounu says:

        Was “Will Shadow Warrior still be abjectly racist in its “humorous” sensibilities? I suppose time will tell” edited in later?

        • A Boot Stomping a Human Face says:

          No, but it certainly wasn’t a paragraphs-long rant, like the Dead Island: Riptide torso and the recent Sarkesan [sic] articles.

          • Tagiri says:

            I agree, I am very surprised that less was written on something that may exist in the future than was written on something that exists right now.

          • A Boot Stomping a Human Face says:

            Yeah, man, because assuming that a reboot of a game based on racist stereotypes is going to have racist stereotypes is totally and utterly wrong.


    • Jackablade says:

      If we’re going down that route, I seem to remember a few fairly tasteless depictions of ladies in there too. The bound, gagged and mostly naked Lara Croft being the most prominent.
      link to 3drealms.com
      It would appear that they eventually retconned this with a version of the character which remained chained but was fully clothed and no longer gagged.

  27. albertino says:

    That’s a no hondinary reboot.

  28. Nicodemus Rexx says:

    Does anyone else find their choice of font in that pic as confusing as I do?

    I know it says “Shadow Warrior” but my brain keeps trying to merge the letters above and below into one shape and I keep reading it as: “Sharrour.”

  29. Reefpirate says:

    Man who fart in church sit in own pew.

  30. lasikbear says:

    Evidently this one time a game came out and made the laziest joke possible is one of the fondest memories of many people.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I don’t get it either. The game was clearly inferior to Duke 3D, which wasn’t even nearly as a big a step up from Doom as it gets credit for anyway. I think the fact that there were fewer FPSes out there back then means that just about all of them from that period have a bit of a nostalgia following. I’m still a sucker for anything Dark Forces/Jedi Knight, for example.

  31. MikoSquiz says:

    I am way more excited about this than I was about Duke Nukem Forever or am about the RoTT reboot.

  32. dethtoll says:

    In the immortal words of Ingwit_Agenbite:

    oh fucking no

  33. bill says:

    Hard Reset – the world’s least old-school old-school shooter.

  34. HisDivineOrder says:

    This franchise is in need of a huge reboot. They can’t go the way they did. The world’s become more PC, so they MUST completely go away from that angle.

    And I doubt their engine is going to be very good with people in a living, breathing world. Their engine employed tricks that worked in a sci-fi environment that could be whatever they wanted it to be. I doubt those tricks are going to be very useful in a world of modern design.