Shadowrun Returns Returning Next Month, Bringing Editor

If there is a heaven, the first thing I'm going to ask god is, 'Why do some developers and publishers feel the need to watermark their screenshots? Just... just why?'

Shadowrun’s been away since time immemorial. It hasn’t had a videogame in ages – well, except 2007’s bizarrely out-of-character multiplayer shooter revival, but we don’t talk about that. As a result, however, The Rules dictate that Shadowrun’s next digital dalliance constitutes a return, and so it is with Shadowrun Returns. The technomagical role-player looks positively fantastic, so we at RPS are awaiting it with baited breath. That’s right: we’re actively making our mouths smell more appealing so as to lure it into grasping/maybe-licking range. And clearly, it’s worked, because Harebrained just announced that it’ll be out next month – and fully editable on day one, to boot.

It’s coming to Steam on July 25th, and – slightly problematic nature of that fact aside – this is exciting news! Plus, it’s shipping with a seriously powerful editor, and Harebrained is opening up the entire campaign to all aspiring tinkerers from the get-go.

“Beyond its successful community funding, Harebrained Schemes is encouraging its community to share by releasing the game’s game editor, a robust set of tools for anyone to use to create their own stories in Shadowrun’s rich and vibrant shared universe. While other games offer editing tools, Harebrained Schemes is going one step further by releasing the entire Shadowrun Returns campaign in the editor format.”

Welp, time to rewrite the script to be entirely about RPS, then. Or maybe some kind of heavy handed sociopolitical commentary. I’ve always found that Orks and Street Samurais are the best means of communicating weighty topics in a straightforward, relevant fashion. Third alternative: cyberfuturistic Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan fiction. Discuss.

Anyway, this is – to my knowledge – the first multi-million dollar Kickstarter game to actually launch, which is a pretty big deal on a number of levels. Will it be good? Can it be good enough? Can it possibly live up to all of backers’ expectations? Should it? Will people who weren’t backers even care enough to buy it? Does it even matter if they do at this point?

The questions, they are numerous – like plague-ravaged Devil Rats slinking between grime-encrusted sewer grates. There’s quite a bit of weight on Shadowrun’s shoulders, though I’m hesitant to take any conclusions it comes to as definitive. In the end, it’s just one game. As for what comes after, well, we’ll see when we get there.


  1. RedViv says:

    Some of the editor level backers are already working on remaking the SNES game, and there’s probably someone fiddling around in an attempt to get the Mega Drive version into the new game too.
    All glory to the PC!

    • DutchDrunk says:

      That was the first thing that came to mind, how long it would take to get a remake of the SNES version. Which is still one of my favorite games on the SNES.

      • icemann says:

        God damn. I’d play the hell out of that shit. Though cyberspace looks completely different in this new game compared to the SNES game. So how they’d resolve that, I’d be interested to see.

        • ledeir says:

          Hacking in the SNES Remake will be completely redone. The general consensus in the community seems to be in favor of abandoning the old system and fully utilizing the new one.

          That being said, until we see so more official gameplay footage of the matrix, the current plan is to overlay a matrix map of the room where the computer is. The matrix overlay will include NPCs for the IC and there will be newly revealed locations on the map for paydata.

          We welcome advice and suggestions. You can find us on the Shadowrun forums.

  2. Beanchilla says:

    I actually really enjoyed the 2007 shooter version but to each their own.
    I’m sure this game will be great. It looks like a lot of fun. I never played the old one but I am loving the looks of this one.

    • solidsquid says:

      I think one of the major complaints about it was that it seemed more like a generic shooter with a Shadowrun skin applied to it, rather than something built up around the Shadowrun universe. It might well have been a decent game, but this put a lot of people off trying it

      • icemann says:

        It was Shadowrun in name only (much like Syndicate) which is where most people had a problem with it.

        And is also the reason why no`one speaks about it anymore.

      • KirbyEvan says:

        I mean I guess it appeared as a generic shooter but it had a really nifty magic system in tangent with the playable races that made it feel like if Team Fortress 2 was set in a Shadowrun setting.

      • Sian says:

        Maybe that was just me, but I remember one reason for not buying it was that it required Windows Vista.

      • Tacroy says:

        It actually wasn’t a generic shooter at all – it had a ton of interesting mechanics and options. Kind of like modern TF2, except released a few months before TF2.

        The problem was, they called it Shadowrun. Most people didn’t recognize the name so it didn’t do anything for them, and people who recognized the name felt betrayed because the game basically ignored Shadowrun lore, and expected an RPG anyway.

        It’s like if the recent Syndicate game was actually a very good racing game or something.

      • Corb says:

        Vista only….nuff said

  3. Kiya says:

    I backed on Kickstarter and I’m impatiently waiting for my copy – from everything the devs have posted about the game it looks and sounds as though it is exactly what I was hoping for. I’m really looking forwards to trying out the user made levels done with the editor as well.

  4. AlwaysRight says:

    In answer to your questions:

  5. Drayk says:

    I am really looking forward to it… It will be the first game I backed to come out… I guess Broken Age and Banner Saga will be available shortly too. Not sure about Wasteland 2 timing ?

  6. Mctittles says:

    Will this be a finished game on that release date or a “buy in beta” type thing? Really looking forward to it, but don’t want to pre-order if it’s still going to be awhile for “Gold”.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Never fear, backers have paid good money to do that job for you.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Which is exactly why we don’t want it until it’s ready. Hopefully the fears are unwarranted, but I wouldn’t put it past someone to do a double-dip Kickstarter then Minecraftesque alpha sale.

  7. DyingFlutchman says:

    It’s coming to Steam on July 25th, and – slightly problematic nature of that fact aside – this is exciting news!

    The release date was in june before. It’s been delayed by a month in that regard. Not sure whether I am all that excited about that fact. Though it’s better than the alternative, that they’d release an unpolished game.

    • SooSiaal says:

      Yeah this news isn’t that exciting when the first mentioned release date is only a week away now, oh well…

    • Teovald says:

      I think Nathan is referring to the fact that the game will be on Steam.
      The kickstarter description was contradictory and promised pledge levels with the DRM-free game while the FAQ explained that they were looking into which DRM to use..
      I can understand if some people are upset that the post Berlin DLC and Community created content will require the steam version of the game (the backers will receive a Steam key & the possibility to download a DRM-free standalone version).
      Apparently it is because Microsoft demanded them to use DRM. This also mean that the game won’t be available on GOG.
      I don’t think it is worth fetching my pitchfork but it is still disappointing and at least bad PR.

      • Snidesworth says:

        I’m down with Steam so it doesn’t concern me much, but I imagine that those who assumed they were backing a DRM free game are a bit upset that said DRM free game will actually require DRM if they want to get at most future expansion. Or, you know, pirate what they may have otherwise paid for.

        • AngoraFish says:

          I’m guessing that if they’re willing to pirate the expansions, they’ve probably not contributed to the Kickstarter in the first place.

          Either way, no loss… as if anyone is ever entitled to future expansions of anything as a precondition of buying the base game.

          Of course, if people hadn’t contributed to the Kickstarter there’d be nothing to pirate. So there’s always that.

          • Emeraude says:

            Either way, no loss… as if anyone is ever entitled to future expansions of anything as a precondition of buying the base game.

            Which is missing the point: those of us that backed the project *because* it was announced DRM free (not only, but also for that) did so because we wanted to contribute to an alternative model to the one represented by Steam and its copycapts. One of the hopes was that we wouldn’t have to deal with the very situation we now have to face.

            And we contributed financing it too. Which adds insult to injury.

          • The Random One says:

            As someone in the Kickstarter page put it quite elloquently: it’s as if we had invested into an electric car company, and they had decided to make all of their car hybrids.

  8. Didden says:

    I’m always kind of curious where phrases we say, originate from. So baited breath? Well apparently its bated breath, and comes from the word abated which explains what it means:

    link to

    PS. Game looks great, and I will be picking this up 100%. After a not so hot kickstarter (at first, at one point it didn’t look like it was going to make it), I’m now glad this thing is a real thing.

    • Jambe says:

      I logged in to say announce this triviality myself, and there you were.

      But yes, bated breath, from the Latin battuere, which means “beat”.

      • Didden says:

        Yes, I like how we use these phrases but no longer really know what they mean, but they have become to mean something else, or represent a feeling or emotion, that is and sometimes isn’t connected to the original phrase.

        • Sian says:

          Pretty sure Nathan was just making a joke…

          • Didden says:

            No, I totally get that, don’t get me wrong, wasn’t being critical. But I did wonder at that point what the original phrase meant. No harm meant.

        • solidsquid says:

          A sort of je ne sais quoi you might say?

        • AngoraFish says:

          Kind of begs the question, though, doesn’t it.

      • The Random One says:

        So it looks like Nathan was… baiting you into posting this.

  9. lowprices says:

    I love the idea of editors and mod support, but in practice the results tend to be fairly uninspiring. We have the potential to create entirely new worlds and adventures, and what are most mods? Nude mods and My Little Pony. Most level editor results? Note for note remakes of other games.

    Still, better that it’s in than not, I guess, as usually one or two tend to be decent.

    • c-Row says:

      I think there’s a correlation between the usability of an editor and the freedom to create mods that are not just a reshuffle of the original or closely related game.

      An open system like the Quake/Half-Life (1) engine allowed for maps and games way beyond what the creators envisioned, but building away in Hammer or another editor isn’t really easily accessible and requires some serious time investment.

      On the other end of the spectrum we have games like Portal 2 or – presumably – Shadowrun Returns. The tools make it easy to create something new but you’ll always move within the confines of the original material.

      There are the odd exceptions to that rule, but I think the above is true for most moddable games.

    • Sian says:

      If there’s a voting system, usually some good maps shuffle through to the top. A few of the player made dungeons in Neverwinter online were quite good, but maybe those were just remakes I didn’t recognise.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Neverwinter Nights had a bunch of good campaigns. Dark Waters was my personal favorite, and that was a completely different setting.

      • DrMcCoy says:

        Dark Waters for Neverwinter Nights was just a prototype, the actual Dark Waters module was for Neverwinter Nights 2. Me, I found Dark Waters to be highly forgettable with awkward writing and cringeworthy voice acting. I really loved the Shadowlords and Dreamcatcher campaigns though, by the same author as Dark Waters, Adam Miller. The continuation, Demon, was that great anymore either, IMHO.

        Nevertheless, there are a myriads of very great Neverwinter Nights community modules.

    • dE says:

      Ugh. Thanks for the punch in the stomach. I’ll think twice about making a Shadowrun Returns campaign now, like I did campaigns and worlds for Neverwinter Nights.

      I’m sick and tired of folks like you. You read a news article about nudepatches once and that’s your entire wealth of information. Your reasoning doesn’t go further than “There be nudepatches, thus all mods are nudepatches”.
      How does one argue with your ilk when all it takes to nuke your silly notion is to actually look at mod repositories? Surely if you had any interest in the matter, you would have checked that yourself and realized that your statement is wrong and based on excentric examples in an ocean of options. Yet you refuse to do that and stick to your faulty logic.
      Don’t fret, there are many like you, it’s a bit of a cult movement to bash modding lately. That despite things like DSFix, Stalker Complete, Oblivion Largescale Mod Nehrim, UI Patches, modded combat incorporated into main development, DayZ. Without mods there’d be no Counter-Strike, no Day of Defeat, no Red Orchestra, no Hidden, no Dystopia, no wealth of story modules for NWN (where a lot of them surpass the official campaigns by a mile). Without mods there’d be no fanpatches for brilliant but broken games like Vampire or Precursors. Entire games are based around the idea of creation, what about Minecraft and the crazy worlds people create (And the mods for it) or the gameplay mods for Terraria that add so much? Your ilk pisses on the work of so many, based on an easily corrected misinformation.

      • uncleezno says:

        @dE – don’t let bad apples ruin this for you! I’m one of the guys who doesn’t mod at all, but greatly appreciates the work that modders do in their own free time to make games better for everyone. Can’t wait to see what you whip up for SR!

      • lowprices says:

        Woah there.

        Clearly I phrased what I said poorly. I was merely lamenting what I perceive to be a high chaff-to-wheat ratio amongst mods and player-made levels. I am well aware there are lots of great mods out there. I was not declaring the work of all modders worthless. Nevertheless, since I clearly gave that impression I apologise.

  10. Noviere says:

    I didn’t back this, but the more I see, the more I want to play it.

  11. Emeraude says:

    I can’t help but feel sorry for HBS. The level of more or less passive aggressive comments on the Kickstarter page seems to rise with each of their updates.

    Not that it’s totally unwarranted, as a disgruntled backer, I know this first hand.

    But I do think they could be given a break.

    • Tacroy says:

      Honestly, I can’t believe the sense of entitlement the DRM-free folk seem to have. You’re getting a DRM free version, which, yes, won’t have the Steam Workshop features – but that’s because Steam Workshop requires Steam DRM.

      Did you want HBS to write their own framework for distributing mods? Because that would only take another year or so of development time. You can still manually install mods on your own, and I bet the Nexus people will have a mod manager out momentarily.

      • Emeraude says:

        Call me entitled, but as a strongly anti DRM person myself, and a backer, I am extremely disappointed in how things have turned out.

        And HBS didn’t *have* to use the Workshop – nor create their own infrastructure, not when the Humble Store exists, is cheap and does the job perfectly for those of us that do not care for Valve’s service.

        Which is besides the point: they advertised the game as DRM free. Many of us find they respected the letter of the agreement but not the spirit of it.

        I just wish some of the people who share my opinion weren’t being such assholes in the way they express their concern.

  12. derbefrier says:

    I didn’t pledge on the kickstarter but I will be picking this up. Looks fun from what I have seen

  13. Frank says:

    “Will people who weren’t backers even care enough to buy it? Does it even matter if they do at this point?”

    (1) Yes and (2) who doesn’t like money? I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen and will certainly be buying this (though I might wait for a sale). I didn’t back it because Shadowrun was just another 80s (?) console game (franchise?) that I’d never played and very rarely heard about.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Does it even matter if they do at this point?

      The interesting implication of this, however, is that as most Kickstarters (at least in theory) have covered the bulk of development costs out of backer funding post-release sales are simply cream on top.

      I can see a few of these devs doing very well indeed out of this.

    • myelbow says:

      To be clear for the lazy or Google impaired, Shadowrun was an ’80s pen and paper RPG that was most excellent when compared to a lot of the D&D clones and D&D itself at that time. The SNES and/or Sega iterations from the late ’80s/early ’90s have just generally been accepted as the only quality video game adaptations of the RPG since the pen and paper game was released.

  14. sharks.don't.sleep says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this but the lack of a manual save system and no lootable corpses left me quite miffed. :/

    Source: link to

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Hmm… those are two serious offenses to me. I didn’t believe you because that doesn’t make any sense, so I went and read your link.
      Yeah, they say it’s too complicated to use manual saves (they don’t have time to program it?) and looting isn’t even a function of the engine (?!)

      pretty alarming design choices. We’ll see how that all works out.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Rifling through the pockets of corpses has always been a core part of my preferred game experience.

        • uncleezno says:

          Shadowrun (pen and paper, at least) was never about looting. It’s not a CRPG, and you never had a giant inventory – you had what you could reasonably carry. And as you were a shadowrunner, doing illegal things hopefully without getting noticed, most runs involve getting in and out, not murdering 25 guards and stripping all their body armor off to put in your bag of holding.

          • Emeraude says:

            This really. Of all the complaints one can see erupt from time to time about that game, the fact that the “no looting” one seems to be the most widespread one barely makes sense to me.

            Looting is extremely rare and situational in the P’n’P game, for reason that make perfect sens both from a game system and a narrative stand-point.
            Only explanation I can think, of is that the people who complain about that for the most part do not know Shadowrun.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I think it’s just alarming to PC RPGers more than PnPers because we’re used to that high in the anticipation of searching a corpse. Like I said, we’ll see how it works out, because although it’s a jarring decision I don’t really know how the game will work.
            But I truly hate checkpoint saves if they don’t allow me to manually save. Sometimes I can tolerate it, if the checkpoints are rolling (like each is a unique save, so I can reload an older game) but really I would rather just have a save anywhere anytime feature because I never know when I’ll need to shut down and I hate replaying long areas unless it’s a fun actiony game…especially long areas of story/cutscene/dialog. For me, a “save on exit” along with the checkpoints would be sufficient.

          • Sian says:

            As there are no bodies, I don’t think you’ll experience this anticipation. Still, key items can drop from bodies and user-made runs can (and probably will) feature other items from dying enemies. Probably not randomised, but frankly I can live without that.

            As for the save points, if they keep their promise of having them about 15 minutes apart, I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I don’t like this solution, but I don’t think I’ll rue having backed the project because of it.

    • Chay D. Hart says:

      The save points will be 15 mins apart and you will be able to go back to any one of them, so as checkpoint systems go it does minimalise the inconvenience.

      As for the lootable body deal, apparently they found that having persistent bodies caused the screen to become far too cluttered for a turn based game. hey do have ‘take the key item from the body’ examples, and people using the early acess editor have been using the feature as well.

      The way I see it as well, it allows them to balance the economy and power level of the game with the easiest to impliment model, which obviously allows their engineers to turn their attention to other things. as games go their budget for this type of game is extremely modest (have to remember, the 400k original budget was a for a top down 2d MOAI game, not a 3d isometric Unity3d one) so its a matter of prioritising resources.

      They recently announced a full matrix experience (complete with video footage) as opposed to the overlay augmented AR experience they were going to use. I’ll take that over lootable bodies with randomised tables of drops attached to different types of mobs, the art assets and the economic balancing thereunto.

  15. HunterZ says:

    Shipping the level editor with the retail release was always part of the deal (although high-level Kickstarter backers get early access).

    Their approach reminds me of Bioware’s with the original Neverwinter Nights (D&D 3e): both games are basically just engines for running computer simulations of their respective pen-and-paper RPG systems, with probable weak default campaigns made up for by inclusion of an editor that allows players to make their own campaigns.

    Unfortunately NN’s saving grace – multiplayer – is not a feature of SR, so we’ll see how it turns out. I did back the game at the minimum level required to get a copy on release, so I say this as someone with skin in the game…

  16. wodin says:

    Didn’t back the KS..nearly did but had no funds in the bank come the day it ended..will buy from Steam though..

  17. PegasusOrgans says:

    I was one of the original backers and an avid Steam user, despite
    my dislike of DRM in general. I find myself perturbed by the whingers
    that can’t get over the fact that HRS do not own the Shadowrun
    franchise and therefore must do as commanded by Microsoft. It’s
    as if they are relieving M$ of all culpability for their actions in this
    decision and laying all the blame on a studio that lovingly has brought
    back an RPG franchise many of us have dreamed about for nearly
    two decades.

    What is wrong with you people?

    I understand that the glass is ALWAYS half empty… but it just *might*
    be half full, or, in this case, mostly full. In any case, I am excited for the
    game, the Berlin add-on and all the great editor content the community
    are already working on!

    This is truly another golden age for old school RPG fans. Oh yeah, you
    guys hear about the Realms of Arcania remakes? ~drool~