Streets Of Mage: Shadowrun Returns Returns

It’s almost time to charge up the spells and head back to the streets. Shadowrun Returns arrives in a week and, as is now traditional, a launch trailer precedes the launch, sort of like John the Baptist, except reduced to the form of a short video containing a samurai dwarf. I’m tempted to slip into the city myself but a member of the hivemind has already been deemed fit for purpose, a man very familiar with the challenges of hunching over a keyboard and jacking in without leaving a trace. Sounds tricky to me. I’ve barely played the original Shadowrun – it’s one of those games I’ve read about rather than specifically experienced – but this does look right up my alley.

I want more Arcanum.


  1. Rack says:

    Got my fingers crossed for this one, it looks great and just my kind of game but being designed by the creator of Mage Knight does not inspire me with any confidence.

    • Jutranjo says:

      Vlaada Chvatil is a designer on this? You sure?

      • Rack says:

        No, it’s from the designer of the other Mage Knight. The older one. The really bad one.

      • El_Duderino says:

        God, that dude should totally make a computer game! Galaxy trucker is a great little game, the version where you do a shot of whiskey for every lost spaceship component is… interesting.

        • Rack says:

          Galaxy Trucker is apparently coming to ios which is pretty exciting but I do think he could make some pretty great computer games, everything I’ve played of his so far has had that feel.

        • Ephaelon says:

          You, sir, have just spiced up my weekly game-nights.

        • Vilda says:

          Ok, I’ve had to register just to respond to this :)

          Vláďa Chvátil DID worked on computer games. He used to work for ALTAR Interactive (which was subsidiary of tabletop games publisher, later ALTAR Games and in 2010 merged with Bohemia Interactive) and what I am sure of, he was a lead designer of Original War. He also did level design for Fish Fillets 1 and 2. And I think he worked in some capacity on UFO: Aftermath, but am not entirely sure.

          Then he started creating board games :)

    • lomaxgnome says:

      Not sure why you’d consider his design of a collectable figure game a factor when it comes to the design of this computer game. It would be more reasonable to look at the (frankly awful) catalog of titles his current company has released before now.

      • Rack says:

        Because one’s a turn based strategy game and the other’s a turn based strategy game. While there are different design imperatives involved I’d expect that’s just a wider range of failure states, which as you said haven’t gone particularly well so far.

        • lomaxgnome says:

          Many people (myself included) felt like Mage Knight was a brilliant take on the collectable game figures concept, and some of the followups based on that system (like Heroclix) are still going today. I think there was a terrible video game or two based on it at some point (maybe that’s what you are referring to?), but none of this dev team had anything to do with those.

          Either way, they couldn’t be more different, the success of Shadowrun Returns will depend heavily on its story and how well they implement the existing game mechanics of a pen and paper RPG that isn’t even remotely similar to Mage Knight.

        • jahannan says:

          Well, in his defence he also created Shadowrun. So uh, there’s that. I mean, if anyone is going to be good at adapting an RPG into a computer game then it’s gotta be the guy who created it, right? And considering he also created MechWarrior and Earthdawn I for one am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt about his ability to create successful RPG titles.

          Mind you, I haven’t even played MageKnight, but if Vlaada Chvatil liked it enough to remake it then I doubt it was all bad.

  2. greenbananas says:

    For a second there, I was twelve again and Streets of Rage was getting a sequel. But no. Somebody just had to have himself a pun.

    I hope your dinner’s cold tonight, mr. Smith.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      A new Streets of Rage game could be done very nicely these days. Something a little like Batman Arkham Asylum, but with a bit more variety to the combat and obviously less reliance on stealth or fancy bat-gizmos.

      • Nick says:

        Yeah, I would really like a new brawler of the streets of rage ilk. But even the ones that do get made don’t get it right (Sacred Citadel for example..).

  3. Keyrock says:

    Just a week away from my Ork Shaman getting down and dirty in the streets of Seattle.

    /rubs hands together

  4. tomshreds says:

    I just don’t understand why but I’ve been a huge fan of Shadowrun on the SNES, and I went to preorder it about 10 times. Each time I finish off not preordering it. Even the launch trailers show not much, always the same fighting animations, a few dialogues box, etc.

    It looks to me they did this to then port it to the iPad (maybe they said that at some point, I don’t know) but it looks like there’s not much to do from the trailers and gameplays videos.

    I like the lore and the sci-fi look of it, but that’s all.

    I’d love to be super hyped by the game but I’m just not. Could anyone tell me why they want the game? Try to convince me, I’d love the game to be good and to have plenty to do.

    PS: I’m not trying to be rude or anything, I love these guys and Shadowrun itself.


    • El_Duderino says:

      Choices and consequences (from what I have read about the game and seen in the shortish dev mission playthrough there seems to be plenty) along with a hopefully thriving modding community is what has me at least a little bit hyped.

    • Lemming says:

      Maybe you’d prefer the original table-top RPG of it then?

    • HothMonster says:

      People , so I hear, are already porting the SNES and Genesis Shadowrun games into it.

    • Scrofa says:

      To be honest since I donated to their kickstarter campaing I was only dissapointed and have no expectations whatsoever.

  5. guygodbois00 says:

    Waiting for the after-release review at RPS, of course. But, out of curiosity, how is it possible for this game to be finished much earlier than Wastelend 2, when development started few months later? Will this game be much shorter? Also, that “no drm + steam” controversy does not instill confidence in one, does it?

    • Rack says:

      It’s a staggered release as I understand it, when they got a ton of extra money they put it towards making an expansion that is free to Kickstarter backers rather than expanding the core game. Seems a very shrewd decision to me.

      • RockinRanger says:

        When they got a ton of extra money they decided to add a second city to the game, but then when they ran out of backer money before they were able to finish it them made it an expansion that would be free for backers.

        • AngoraFish says:

          When did the devs claim to have run out of money? I call bullshit on your assumptions here.

          • Emeraude says:

            According to this interview they ran out of money two months ago and have been financing the game out of their own coffer ever since.

          • HothMonster says:

            Yeah, I thought they were doing it so they won’t have to delay the base game (anymore) while they work on some of the things that got added via stretch goal.

          • RockinRanger says:

            There was the Kickstarter update in the middle of June where they said all the Kickstarter money was spent some time ago.

    • Tacroy says:

      Ugh the drama over Steamworks is the worst sort of rabid fanboy BS.

      Yes, they promised DRM free. They also promised integrated mod support. Turns out, building your own mod distribution, rrating and ranking framework is really hard and takes resources, so you’re better off using a pre built one.

      Guess who has a really well made mod framework that’s easy to integrate with? Steam Workshop. Only problem is, in order to add Workshop support, they had to compromise a little bit on one of their promises. That happens. It’s called “development”. In order to make the best game you can with limited resources, you can’t always do everything.

      And there’s still the DRM free version, with full mod support (just no Workshop). It you really care, the find folks over at Nexus probably already have support for it.

      • lomaxgnome says:

        Personally the only issue I had with the drm “fiasco” was that it showed poor advanced planning on their behalf. I don’t think anyone is surprised by the idea that Microsoft didn’t want a DRM-free version. And like you said, Steam is an obvious (and ideal) solution for the workshop support. They should have just had that figured out in advance of the Kickstarter, not after the fact.

        • Tacroy says:

          Hindsight has a 50 die pool. It people could always tell where their projects would end up, there wouldn’t be fifty million books on software development estimation.

          • Kaira- says:

            If you’re working on an established IP you just might owe to your customers to know what restrictions you will have. Not to say that you should know about these things before you start running campaigns.

          • lomaxgnome says:

            Except it wasn’t a matter of hindsight, it was a matter of doing the Kickstarter project before finalizing the contract with Microsoft. That’s actually quite irresponsible, and they are lucky they got the compromise they did. The end result isn’t a big deal, I agree, but if the DRM-free version had been cancelled entirely, there would have been a far more massive (and deserved) uproar. As it stands, several high-dollar backers requested and received refunds. It doesn’t speak well to their management abilities and will certainly have a large impact on any future Kickstarters they try to run.

          • HothMonster says:

            I don’t disagree with anything you said.

            Except I imagine there is a reason they couldn’t finalize the license beforehand. They mention that the process was “ongoing”, I bet MS wanted to see how much money they made, how big this would be ect ect before they signed anything.

            But yes, it’s a black eye that could have very easily been a decapitation. Hopefully their next project is their own IP so they can avoid this kind of contractual bullshit.

      • WrenBoy says:

        they had to compromise a little bit on one of their promises

        “a little bit”
        one of their promises”
        Good one!

        • HothMonster says:

          Is it more than a little bit? The game and first expansion are available DRM free for backers. They are full featured and you can use community mods/maps ect. Which is what they promised.

          Everything after that is Steam only.

          • WrenBoy says:

            The backers certainly do get a higher percentage of what was promised than everyone else.

            I think this is only relevant if you see Kickstarter as a preorder scheme. While some backers certainly see it this way I think that is a mistake. If nothing else, you are considerably overpaying on most of the tiers if its purely a preorder.

            If instead you see Kickstarter as a means to support the kind of games you would like to see made but which are not currently being made then you are well within your rights to be annoyed at the product being sold to the general public. Especially if you felt you were encouraging the production of DRM free games but also if you were expecting stretch goals to be part of the base game content and not DLC.

          • HothMonster says:

            I see your points and accept them as fair and rational.

      • Saarlaender39 says:

        Tacroy: “…they had to compromise a little bit on one of their promises. That happens. It’s called “development”. In order to make the best game you can with limited resources, you can’t always do everything.”
        Well,…that’s one way to put it…WrenBoy (I think) and I see that a little different. ;)

      • HothMonster says:

        The reason any DLC after Berlin will have DRM is a contractual problem according to an email they sent out:

        “We said that post-Berlin Campaign DLC would only be available on Steam but we never said why. We regret the omission. The reason is that our license to develop Shadowrun Returns actually requires that the game and its DLC be distributed under DRM. This didn’t come up earlier because the situation was complicated by the number of parties involved in the license and because the process was “ongoing”. Ultimately, we were able to successfully negotiate an exception with Microsoft for us to provide our Backers with a DRM-free version of the Kickstarter rewards (specifically the game and the Berlin Campaign) but that exception does not extend to non-reward DLC. So unfortunately, we cannot sell or give away DRM-free versions of the game or DLC on stores like GoG, and that’s why any future Shadowrun Returns DLC will only be available for purchase on Steam. “

      • InternetBatman says:

        I backed it and I have to say I agree. It could have been handled better, but so much negotiation, etc. is remarkably tenuous.

      • Emeraude says:

        Ugh the drama over Steamworks is the worst sort of rabid fanboy BS.

        Translation: “I have no issue with it, so there is no issue”.

        And there’s still the DRM free version, with full mod support (just no Workshop). It you really care, the find folks over at Nexus probably already have support for it.

        As already stated by someone in the thread, the purpose for some of us was to use Kickstarter to support a small ecosystem of hopefully good, DRM-free and OS-agnostic games.
        Being told one year after funding that not only it won’t be so, but the money we put out for that purpose is going to end up *supporting* the proprietary model we hoped to help dodge ?
        That’s rather hard to stomach.

        • Deano2099 says:

          Thing is, when you say “some of us” you mean a tiny number of people who were more interested in funding any DRM free game for the sake of a cause rather than the game itself. When things got complicated, that tiny number of people could have taken the refund offered quietly, but instead kicked up a huge fuss, questioning the honesty and integrity of the developers and making a whole drama out of it, which will likely have a knock on effect on the game sales (as we can see, one week from release, it’s still cropping up in news posts about the game).

          Honestly if I were doing a game KS right now I’d purposefully make it WITH DRM, as your group of people are exactly the sort of people you don’t want backing your project: the type that will try and sink the game the second they don’t get exactly what they want. You’re really not worth the tiny proportion of the money you put in.

          • Emeraude says:

            I just so love the broad strokes you’re using.

            In preamble: I did not back “any DRM free game for the sake of a cause”. I backed a Shadowrun game. AND, being told it would be DRM free, I backed it even more. Cause that’s a thing I wanted to exist A DRM free Shadowrun game (If I have to use your own brush: funny how Shadowrun has that whole anti-Corporate, Cyberpunk, us-against-the-man narrative, but some of its fans would rather just walk in the ranks for the sake of their own enjoyment).

            Just go and check my post history on the official forums for Shadowrun Returns.

            When “things got complicated” (hint: it started well before the DRM issue; anyone that has any passing knowledge of the creative process, especially within a collective, knows how fast it becomes so) I’ve defended the game and the studio against the detractors, calling for levelheadedness. I did this several time as issues arose.

            Since the DRM issue in particular arose, I’ve told people that would be considered more on “my side” of the argument to stop acting like dicks (cause some sure do, we have at least one example in this thread).

            What I won’t allow though, is for the thing to be put under the rug.
            If the game sells well on its own merit, I’ll be glad for HBS. If the DRM issue and the way it damaged the momentum the game had built damages the sales, then it is sad but it is deserved.

            After all, if my “cause” (or, also, just, maybe, you know, the trust issue you seem to be completely disregarding) is only of value to a “tiny minority”, then putting the truth – no more, but no less – out there for all to see will hurt no one and nothing.

            If we’re more then what you like to believe ant it actually impacts things, then maybe people will start to actually take us into account.

            All in all, I refuse to simply abandon to you people who do not care the whole field of discourse on the matter, so you can have your fun unsopoiled. I’ve cared for that game no less, and maybe much more, than you have.

          • stiffkittin says:

            I can vouch for Emeraude here. Everything she says is true. Along with a handful of other core members of the overwhelmingly mature and pleasant community, who repeatedly called out the bullshit of the couple of clowns and attention-hounds making embarrassing spectacles of themselves whenever something didn’t go according to plan. Who – when we finally did get the real down-low, days after the initial like-it-or-lump-it announcement – quietly said “well that sucks” then promptly moved on to more interesting and creative topics of SR discussion.

            Being in the “not worried” camp myself, in no way excuses the terrible way HBS handled this communication with their backers. I like Steam well enough and was happy to hear they were going with an existing, integrated infrastructure for modding and sharing, I honestly think it’s the best move for the game. Also, at no point was I ever unaware of Microsoft’s ownership of the property and was entirely unsurprised they wouldn’t allow new content to be distributed DRM-free. I’ve often asked myself over the last year how HBS managed to get away with what they did.

            However the issue mattered to some people. Lovely, creative and respectful people who in every conceivable way contributed positively to that community. Basically, either some important information was sat on; or a certain belief in the freedom of the license was allowed to perpetuate; or at best: a startlingly high level of incompetence was shown in miscalculating the levels of disappointment and attachment to a principle.

            Your argument that it doesn’t matter because their opinions hold no value is just the worst kind of arrogant, simple-minded, mockery.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Eh.. it’s technically not a huge deal, perhaps. But in my eyes, Kickstarter thrives on trust. If backers can’t trust a developer to fulfill the promises they made, then why should they receive backing?

        That’s the gist of it for me. I gave them money, and I asked it back because they weren’t as clear and honest towards their backers as they could have been. Just promising something they ought to know they may not be able to deliver is a black mark on them.

        It’s not that I needed it to be drm-free. I needed them to tell me about the talks with Microsoft and that things were still up in the air.

  6. PegasusOrgans says:

    ~drools~ I am so glad I backed this sucker. Looks soooo good!

  7. Lemming says:

    One thing I was never clear about: Does this have a full single-player campaign a la Fallout/Baldur’s Gate, or is this just a set of tools to make your our missions with? If it’s the former, I’ll be buying it gladly.

    • lomaxgnome says:

      Full single-player campaign, with at least one DLC campaign to follow. But I’ll be very surprised if the campaign is anywhere near the size of Fallout/BG/etc.

    • Lorgath says:

      Yes, there is going to be a full single-player campaign – but I’m a bit worried about how long it’s going to be.

      • Tacroy says:

        Probably pretty short – they’ve always pitched this as being more like Neverwinter Nights than Baldur’s Gate.

        • Zekiel says:

          Good grief that’s a comparison that makes me shudder. I still remember the horrendous disappointment of starting the NWN campaign expecting it to be comparable to Baldur’s Gate 1/2. Rather than a characterless cut-and-paste story with almost zero strategy and fun.

          (Before anyone points it out – yes, I know that’s missing the intention of the comparison which was to length rather than quality.)

          • Tacroy says:

            Eh honestly I wasn’t expecting anything great out of NWN – they were pretty clear that it was a tool kit for making BG style adventures, so I wasn’t super pissed that the included campaign wasn’t great.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            It took a few years but NWN did have some incredible user made modules.

      • DeFrank says:

        10-12 hr campaign.

    • wodin says:

      A fair few user made campaigns already in the is going to be about 100 hours long!!

  8. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Aren’t some of those guys from Troika in Obsidian now? Not sure where I read that…
    I’d love some more Arcanum, and also VTMB

  9. wodin says:

    This is the first big kickstarter RPG I think isn’t it?? Fingers crossed. It is great there are already user made campaigns in I see lots of long term playability here.

    However disappearing corpses and non destructible terrain and a couple of negatives..but hey it’s not got a huge budget.

  10. lilly_watson says:

    my roomate’s step-aunt makes $61 hourly on the computer. She has been out of work for five months but last month her paycheck was $20774 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site…..b­u­z­z­5­5.ℂ­ℴ­m

  11. The Army of None says:

    We all want more Arcanum, Adam :(

  12. Saarlaender39 says:

    “Except it wasn’t a matter of hindsight, it was a matter of doing the Kickstarter project before finalizing the contract with Microsoft. That’s actually quite irresponsible, and they are lucky they got the compromise they did. The end result isn’t a big deal, I agree, but if the DRM-free version had been cancelled entirely, there would have been a far more massive (and deserved) uproar. As it stands, several high-dollar backers requested and received refunds. It doesn’t speak well to their management abilities and will certainly have a large impact on any future Kickstarters they try to run.”

    And now guess, what Harebrained schemes announced lately?:

    link to

    • WrenBoy says:

      Ive never wanted to see anything failing this badly since Windows 8.

  13. Cronstintein says:

    Wow, a surprising amount of hostility towards this project in here. I, for one, am really hoping this is a good game. I loved the genesis shadowrun back in the day. I like the setting and even if their campaign isn’t great, I hope the tools are sufficient for some good community content.

  14. MellowKrogoth says:

    The animations and spell effects look mediocre to me. Hopefully the gameplay will make up for that.

  15. Sardukar says:

    I’m a backer! And I feel the real strength of SRR is in the editor. It’s very powerful and already early-access users have built some great stuff with it.

    link to

    But understand – this is not Skyrim. It’s a top down turn-based RPG. With, I think, gorgeous setting art. It’s not a multi-million dollar pretty toy. It’s for people who might like to try a turn-based game with lots of dialogue, many different character types to choose from and a huuuuge amount of content headed towards us.

    Also, you can play a Troll mage. With a cyberarm.

  16. Arach says:

    I´m really excited for this,bought it last month when the release date was supposed to be june and been looking forward to next week´s release every since,can´t wait for this.

    Shame about Wasteland 2 being delayed though…

  17. The Petulant Platypus says:

    I’m an old fan of the Shadowrun RPG back in the day, I enjoyed the old Shadowrun console games and I even really enjoyed the old books – Secrets of Power series was a great read back then as it really gave you all the background info and set the tone of Shadowrun.

    From what I have seen the game is looking good, more importantly it looks to have a strong community backing in terms of additional content/mods, which as we all know, has kept many a game alive long past it’s original “use by” date.

    Have to admit resurrecting the old Troll Street Samurai is feeling better and better!