Shadowrun Returns Heads To Hong Kong, Via Kickstarter

Shadowrun Returns is returning to Kickstarter. Later this month, developers Hare-Brained Schemes will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise dosh for their proposed Hong Kong setting. The artwork above is the only detail released so far. but the inclusion of neon lighting, streetfood, rain and a brolly is enough to convince me that this is Legit Cyberpunk. My interest in Shadowrun has peaked, following a Turkeymas break spent in the company of the excellent Dragonfall expansion, which is an absolutely smashing RPG campaign, packed with interesting characters, choices and missions. More of that, please.

If I’d seen this news back when the post first went live, I would have greeted it with a shrug but that’s because I hadn’t played Dragonfall until last week. Now that I have played Dragonfall, I greeted the news by high-fiving my monitor.

“I’d love to go to Hong Kong with a computer plugged into my noggin, but why would anyone expect me to fund the trip with my own cyber-spondooliks?”

I hear you, Joe “Comments On” Blogs. Hare-Brained will no doubt explain their decision to return to the crowdfunding well when the campaign launches but the answer is probably quite simple – crowdfunding worked the first time so why not take the same route again? I’ve seen plenty of comments suggesting that a second crowdfunding campaign is evidence that Shadowrun Returns wasn’t profitable, which seems to ignore the possibility of anyone at Hare-Brained actually wanting to keep some of the profits to spend on food, rent and coffee rather than immediately ploughing them into a new game.

After leading the way on one of the most successful crowdfunded projects to date, Larian chief Swen Vincke wrote about the possible advantages of returning to Kickstarter for whatever comes after Divinity: Original Sin. The response from the community is interesting – on the whole, people who enjoy a game as much as people enjoyed Original Sin seem quite happy to be involved with a studio’s next title, both through financial backing and feedback.

When Kickstarter took off, as a way to fund games, I suspected that a lot of studios would use any crowdfunded success to leverage a good deal with a major publisher. I’d much rather see companies like Hair-Brained and Larian find a way to sustain themselves while self-publishing, and if that means an injection of cash is needed during the development of new titles, so be it.

62 Comments

  1. padger says:

    I’ll quickly say: the combat is fine! Before someone says that it isn’t.

    (It’s fine, just not GREAT.)

    • LexW1 says:

      Generally true, but if you’re a Street Sam, your options are so painfully limited (as cyber/bioware functionality and er ways to obtain it are horribly limited compared to the P&P RPG) that it seems rather inferior. Decent fun with most other classes though.

      • Emeraude says:

        I think it’s not so much that they’re limited (though we could use a bit mùore options) as much as they play a different role altogether from the PnP game.

        AS I’ve argued elswhere:

        in P’n’P Shadowrun, Cyberware is tied to character definition. You get it at character creation and it basically says who and what your character is for the team. Whatever you get next is basically refining, fine-tuning of that already defined role. If you even ever add to it.

        In Shadowrun Returns, it’s tied to character progression. You can’t chose it or have it from the start, it just makes your character more powerful in the role already ascribed to it. And only i complement of already, more important skill assets.

        And you can’t really change that without remaking the whole character creation. Which is possible, but has big, cascading systemic implications.

        • LexW1 says:

          More than that, though, cyber/bioware is vastly weaker than in the P&P game AND less interesting, whereas spells are about the same power and as interesting. I don’t buy that it’d be a huge problem to make it more on parity with spells, nor to have a bit more at the start (I mean, you get spells at the start…). Just tone down the skills/stats for Sams if it’s a problem (thus reintroducing the low/no-cyberware, very high-stats/skills role, too). It’s really kind of crap in the current implementation.

          It absolutely is more limited, too, no way to argue otherwise. You can’t choose it, generally AND it has less functionality in and out of combat even when you get it (usually a dull bonus). No way that’s just “different”.

          • Emeraude says:

            Totally disagree about spell (magic in general) – a lot weaker and less versatile than in the pnp (hell, wwe don’t even have an astral plane). and they totally have the same thing as cyberware going on.

            I agree that there is some balancing issues, but that’s another problem.

    • Caelyn Ellis says:

      The mismatch is a lot more fundamental than the poor implementation of cyberware. Essentially, Shadowrun Returns is a pure combat game with talkie bits. Pen ‘n’ paper Shadowrun, on the other hand, is more of a multi-layered tactical stealth behemoth attached to a point ‘n’ click adventure combined with a fiendishly convoluted political sim mixed with, well, The Sims. The old SNES game got so much right by being an investigative adventure game first and foremost.

      Combat is an important part of Shadowrun, but it’s one of a number of equally important parts. There are ten player characters in my current Shadowrun game (five players, all have backup characters in case of inevitable lengthy hospitalisation) and I can think of one that could be vaguely approximated in Shadowrun Returns (but only by ignoring the fact that she’s a rigger who mainly focusses on vehicles) and two that are combat-focussed enough to fit if the appropriate character options were added to the game. All the others would be unrecognisable because the stuff they do isn’t present in the game.

      Not to say that Shadowrun Returns is a bad game by any means, it’s just that it’ll never play like the RPG.

      • Tacroy says:

        Pen ‘n’ paper Shadowrun, on the other hand, is more of a multi-layered tactical stealth behemoth attached to a point ‘n’ click adventure combined with a fiendishly convoluted political sim mixed with, well, The Sims.

        That’s going to be an eternal issue with porting a pen & paper system to computers, though, so I’m not sure it’s really something you realistically expect from a CRPG.

  2. Ace Rimmer says:

    The Dragonfall campaign is indeed Aces, but I’m quite looking forward to a bit more detail about this. The promo image doesn’t actually use the Shadowrun Returns title but just says Shadowrun Hong Kong, so it’s not clear to me whether it’s intended as another expand-alone à la Dragonfall: Directors Cut or what the deal is.

    In any case, I’ll probably be throwing money at this, given their track record.

  3. FoSmash says:

    Dragonfall was good; I too spent many a roasted potatoe in its worried Kiezs. But I found it a strain to have to read every little detail in order flesh out the world. A mix of voiced and player read detail would be most welcome, if nothing else it would change the pacing a bit and probably add to the general atmosphere.
    Include V.O. in the new kickstarter goals and I might spend some Nuyen on this, otherwise, I’ll just wait for the relevant sale.

    • Emeraude says:

      This is going to be difficult for them, because for people like me – and there certainly were several of us on the official forum, though how much we represent overall of the potential backers I won’t wager, adding voice over is a sure way to make the whole proposition unattractive.
      Thankfully, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.

      That being said, I have my issues with how HBS ran the kickstarter, but they’ve been good sports and I think weathered and dealt with those decently enough that I’m willing to help fund them again. I understand that no creative endeavor is ever going to go smoothly and just as planned, and really I do think as much as they could they tried to deliver us good a game, as close to what they had originally promised.

      And it sure isn’t easy dealing with us mad crowd of disparate wants.

      • Steve Catens says:

        I agree. I understand the appeal of voice acting for some, especially for a generation of game consumers raised on it as the norm.

        However, it’s one of the fastest ways to add cost to a project, for dubious return. Top tier voice talent is expensive on an indie budget, and it always shows when you don’t go with top tier talent. Bad or uninspired voice acting is much worse than no voice acting, and uninspired voice work is far more common than good. Like most people, I can process text much faster than it takes for someone to finish speaking a sentence, and it just makes me impatient. There is no poor or uninspired voice acting in my imagination–every character sounds exactly correct.

        I do hope they save the money, and put it all into top notch story, dialogue and character writing like in Dragonfall Directors Cut, but with even more content and systems polish. Unfortunately, this is a case where you can’t make everyone happy, because putting resources into voice talent, means taking it away from other things–namely the things that made the DragonFall Director’s Cut a classic RPG experience.

        I’ll definitely be backing this game.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          We should go back to mid-nineties style voice acting, when it existed, but not EVERYTHING was voiced. Just let the dude speak once and I’ll continue to hear Sir Patrick Stewart throghout the rest of the story.

    • Ace Rimmer says:

      If so I hope it can be easily disabled. I have no patience for voice acting, especially in RPG’s, just let me read it at my own speed and move on. V.O. breaks the immersion for me almost every time.

    • Rizlar says:

      It seems like voice over might put a bit of a limit on the quality and amount of writing, which is really great in Dragonfall. Guess I can understand the desire for voiced stuff if you don’t like reading lots of text, but I don’t think it would necessarily be a good direction for them to go in.

      Also I was just thinking, getting near the end of Dragonfall last night, how much some of the characters have developed a voice in my head. The team all have very specific voices in my mind now, some, like Dietrich, (old cockney German) seem pretty standard, but when I read Glory’s lines it’s in a very specific, grating monotone that I suspect is different for every player.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Agree on all counts. I get that some people don’t enjoy reading, but a heck of a lot of people do, and it seems to me that Returns and especially Dragonfall are games made for those sorts of people. It’s similar to how you wouldn’t recommend an RTS to someone who prefers turn-based games (usually, at least).
        You can’t please everyone, and the more money they spend on adding voice-overs that will probably be hit-and-miss and that some people will outright hate, the less money they’ll have for other areas. At the end of the day though, I can only speak for myself, and I would rather have more well-written rpg goodness sans voice-overs.

        Also want to say that yes, the crew have very defined voices in my mind, too. It’s very much the mark of a well-written character that you can see and hear exactly how they’d act and speak – even if it’s different in each person’s head. I went into Dragonfall expecting another ‘decent’ rpg, and what I got was a wonderful ride, and a party of characters who became more dear to me than any other cast from any other game I’ve played in years.

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        Damien Stark says:

        It has nothing to do with “people don’t enjoy reading”, and that seems a rather condescending way to look at it.

        Laura Bailey in Saints Row 3 and 4, and Jennifer Hale in the Mass Effect trilogy massively improved my enjoyment of those games. Not because “I don’t like to read” – in fact I always turn on the subtitles even in voiced games. But because voice acting – when done right – adds another texture to the experience which helps make it real and memorable.

        There’s a reason people talk about the difficulty of comedic timing, and a reason they give awards to the actors who best perform drama. Their performance is not a superfluous add-on to the superior experience of just reading the script by yourself.

        That said, I do agree with the counter-arguments written so far – that mediocre voice-acting is worse than none, and more importantly the inclusion of voice-acting puts a downward pressure on the volume of writing. If the writers have to keep everything brief to avoid people spacebaring through it, and they’re afraid to make last minute changes and edits because they know actors will have to be recalled and re-paid to update the audio.

        Particularly in the case of a Shadowrun RPG, I agree that those concerns probably outweigh the benefits of voice.

  4. Drake Sigar says:

    I hope they get the sort of funding they want, having clearly proven they’re deserving of the trust. Dragonfall was a great finished game but they went back and added a bunch of content (including more music, new missions, extra endings) then gave it to Dragonfall owners for free, much like the Faster Than Light advanced edition or The Witcher 2’s big update.

  5. tofusheep says:

    shadowrun dragonfall director’s cut was the shadowrun game i was waiting for for many many years. shadowrun returns was good, but with the shadowrun dragonfall director’s cut they really nailed the atmosphere, story, combat, rpg experience i was looking for since playing the original pen and paper shadowrun rpg many many many years ago.

    i was slightly annoyed that they did release so many different versions of the “same” game basically… but meh. will be interesting to see if they can reach their kickstarter goal for yet another new shadowrun… personally i would have thought a new add-on campaign for their latest shadowrun engine would have been possible with the money they made from selling shadowrun returns, shadowrun: dragonfall, shadowrun dragonfall director’s cut…

    EDIT: or maybe thats what they will be doing? kickstarting “just” a new add-on campaign. either way.. shadowrun!
    and yes, i totally just wrote shadowrun like 25 times. sheepstyle, chummer.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      They haven’t really sold “so many” versions of the same game, though. Returns is a totally seperate campaign from Dragonfall, so I hardly see how you can call them the same game. And they didn’t sell the Dragonfall Director’s Cut to anybody who’d already bought the DLC version – as someone above mentioned, they gave it to those people for free.

      Anyway, was going to throw this opinion into the hat so I might as well do it here where it’s relevant – I’d rather see them make another ‘add-on’ campaign in the same engine, as opposed to an entirely new engine from scratch. As people have pointed out elsewhere, Returns was merely ‘decent’, and the reason people commonly point to is that most of the time and money went to developing the engine and tools, rather than the campaign. Dragonfall proves what they can do with those tools now that they’re complete, and I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have another Dragonfall than another Dead Man’s Switch.

  6. avtrspirit says:

    Dragonfall was one of my top 3 games of 2014. When I saw this news, I too shouted a triumphant “YUSS!”

    Going back to Kickstarter should be encouraged. This keeps them directly accountable to their audience.

    People should not be wary of Kickstarter, but rather, they should be wary of unknown (or new) developers, and leery of grand promises. What we are talking about with Hare-Brained Schemes and Larian are now well-known developers of good reputation AND a previously successful Kickstarter product. It’s awesome (for them and for us) that they want to come back to Kickstarter.

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      Damien Stark says:

      This is a good way of looking at it.

      If your concern with Kickstarter is “how do I know this dev will actually deliver what they’re promising?” then HBS has one of the best track records available. Some (not me) still have an axe to grind over the whole “Steam vs DRM-free” thing, but nobody should be worried this dev is going to release an incomplete game then quit and move on.

      If your concern is “they should be funding it themselves”, well feel free not to fund their new Kickstarter. Those that choose to do so know what to expect and know whether or not it’s worth it to them.

  7. suibhne says:

    For the record, Adam: if profit from the last game was spent “on food, rent and coffee”, it wouldn’t be profit. Profit is the bottom-line number that happens after the sort of operating expenses you cited (and many other items, too). You’re probably confusing profit with revenue, the actual top-line sales money coming in the door before any costs are accounted for.

    In traditional economics, profit should be spent on only two things: returning capital to the company’s owners (investors), or investing in future activities. Kickstarter, definitionally, is about the latter…but shades uncomfortably and counterintuitively into the former, too, because Kickstarter backers play some of the role of investors (i.e., owners) in a traditional business structure.

    We should maybe be concerned with the potential for abuse under the KS system, if (when?) it becomes an unregulated, low-accountability mechanism for raising capital within an ongoing business model rather than a single-project vehicle. But we have absolutely no reason to think that Hare-Brained is engaged in any abuse like that. And most of us seem to agree that Dragonfall was fairly smashing, and it demonstrated a fantastic trajectory of improvement. (And anyway, the most important thing, ethically, is that backers get “value” out of their commitment of funds – however they define that value – and Hare-Brained seems pretty damn capable of delivering at this point.)

    • Shuck says:

      But the profit from the last game becomes the operating expenses/salaries (i.e. the “food, rent and coffee”) for the next game. Or at least part of them, as one doesn’t necessarily have sufficient profits to fully fund another game. Kickstarter, of course, doesn’t fully provide those funds, either, but it helps cut down on the risk of going out of business by spending all your cash reserves making a game no one wants.

      • suibhne says:

        Sure, if that’s actually the case. With software development, in fact, capital investment for the next project isn’t always what’s typically thought of as capital investment; you might be “investing” in additional programmers, artists, etc., maybe newer computers, but probably not a new factory (ha) – so yes, a lot of what’s actually “investing operations” will show up as plain old op ex.

        The potential abuse of crowdfunding as a capital raise mechanism would be if profits from Game 1 were redistributed to the company owners/investors rather than invested into Game 2, which would then approach Kickstarter for its full budget needs with no revenues from Game 1. This wouldn’t be illegal, but it’s contrary to the spirit of crowdfunding and I think most backers would find it highly objectionable; we typically want to fund projects that need the money due to lack of available investment, not projects that could’ve had adequate investment from the company’s prior (crowdfunded) success if only the company’s owners hadn’t gotten filthy rich first.

        Another way to look at it: in a traditional firm structure, the company owners are also its investors, so profits distributed back to them are actually returns on their investment. In companies formed around crowdfunded projects, the company owners might have invested little or nothing while the Kickstarter crowd is actually footing the bill, but profits can legally be distributed to the owners rather than future projects (which would, presumably, be the preferred priority of the KS backers).

        My point is that this is probably the only reasonable scenario to be worried about, and there’s nothing in the actual structure of crowdfunding that would inhibit it. Sure, a company’s Kickstarter campaign succeeds only if people are willing to back it…but there’s no disclosure requirement or metric for how well the company used its last round of Kickstarted lucre. (Of course, as I pointed out above, you might reply that this isn’t a problem as long as backers feel they got the value they expected.)

        I’m not worried about this scenario with Hare-Brained, but it’s a potential weakness of the system. Long run, it’s definitely open to abuse.

    • Premium User Badge

      Damien Stark says:

      “it demonstrated a fantastic trajectory of improvement.”

      This is a key point for me. It’s not just that Dragonfall Directors Cut is excellent (though it is). To me the key is that you can really see that a lot of time, effort, and resources went into the building of the engine and getting everyone on the team up to speed. Dead Mans Switch was fine but not great.

      Dragonfall and Director’s cut after it are so clearly improved, that it really demonstrates that they’ve invested in that engine and that team, and now they’re able to do really great things with it.

  8. kud13 says:

    I’m playing and very much enjoying the Director’s Cut of Dragonfall right now.

    Given I was a Day 1 backer of the original, and i’ve throughly enjoyed what HBS delivered, you bet i’ll helping to kickstart more Shadowrun.

    My personal guess is, HBS, despite being headed by the creator of Shadowrun, has to wrangle with M$oft, who continue to hold the Shadowrun copyrights. so any time HBS wants to do somehting with Shadowrun, they need to get a license permission from M$oft. which is probably why they need outside backer support-their profits may be spent on paying M$oft to let them make another Shadowrun game.

  9. Rizlar says:

    Indeed, it makes a lot of sense for Harebrained and Larian to go back to Kickstarter to fund future projects. They have proven their ability to make really great games, of course people are going to want to shower them with money now.

    Shadowrun Returns was pretty hit and miss but it’s clear that the vast majority of the work went into developing the assets and dev/mod tools. Dragonfall is a bit of a tour de force in terms of what you can do with those tools. More campaigns with continuing experimentation and fresh new stories, yes please!

  10. klops says:

    Could someone help me remembering what was the Shadowrun or other cyberpunk game promoted a couple of years ago? It had a known (?) cyberpunk author as its writer/producer and had a very lightly dressed young woman with huge killing things coming from her arms kneeling on a cyberpunky street after killing people in its promo art / video. That art piece caused some upset in RPS also, if I remember correctly.

    That wasn’t promotion for Shadowrun Returns, was it?

    • Robert Post's Child says:

      I think that was the one actually called Cyberpunk – the one the Witcher people are working on. Right?

    • Emeraude says:

      Cyberpunk 2020. Mike Pondsmith collaborating with CD Project.

      • klops says:

        Thaksies! Both.

      • sicemma says:

        A couple of screens of Sleeping Dogs on gaf from member wask has left me thinking a 3d shadowrun/blade runnery thing done right is sorely missed right now. Please be good, cyberpunk.

        • Emeraude says:

          I think every fan of the RPG genre has for the past past ten years or so been waiting for a game that would live up to the aspirations of VtM:B, tailored for their franchise of choice.

          Would sure love to see a cyberpunk equivalent.

      • Mr.K says:

        I believe it – the crpg version – is called Cyberpunk 2077 now.

  11. Robert Post's Child says:

    Got Dragonfall Director’s Cut during the Steam Holiday, enjoying it so far but I’m really getting a kick out of messing around with the Editor. Much easier to get into than the ones that have come with other RPG’s recently, so it’s actually fun instead of just banging my head against a wall.

  12. RuySan says:

    I found Shadowrun Returns so boring and soulless that i didn’t even finish it, even though it’s supposed to be short. So, while RPG is probably my favorite genre, i’m in no hurry to play Dragonfall.

    • Zallgrin says:

      I can’t even explain how much better Dragonfall is than Returns. It has far more engaging combat, great companions that always stick around and much much better writing. Give it a chance one day! It’s truly incredible how they improved in such a short time.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Like Zallgrin says, you should give it a shot sometime! I thought SR was merely OK and nothing special, but then I saw people that thought similarly praise Dragonfall. I decided to try it recently, and I don’t regret it at all! The writing is better (it’s still not incredible, but it’s a lot more fun to read, and has some brilliant moments here and there), and this time around the mechanics fit much better with the way the story is being told, so it actually makes sense as an RPG.

    • Steve Catens says:

      If you had so little success with the original game I can’t guarantee Dragonfall will turn it around for you. But I can guarantee you that the Dragonfall Director’s Cut version is superior in every way to the original campaign, and the definitive version of Shadowrun Returns.

      I think the reason why there hasn’t been more talk about the Dragonfall Director’s Cut, is it just fell victim to the incremental nature in which it came to fully realize its potential. The original campaign which is still the way most people experienced the game was hit and miss for most, the original Dragonfall DLC expansion (which is what RPS reviewed) was much improved, but the standalone Directors Cut version has enough polish and some excellent, highly significant added content, to really push it into the realm of a great RPG. It’s a shame the road in getting there was so long, but such is the nature of modern indie game development.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      For the love of the Old Gods, please play Dragonfall.

    • fredc says:

      I felt the same about the initial SR and also dragged my feet about getting Dragonfall. But it was actually really good, even before the “director’s cut” – they changed/fixed just enough of the game and put an engaging story behind it. Still not a massive open world, but that’s to be expected given the size of the team and budget.

  13. Sardonic says:

    Did anybody else just get an urge to listen to ‘The Synapse’ track from DX1?

    • Emeraude says:

      No, but added to the play-list now. Double Cross was my goto track on that one.

    • Kolba says:

      Yes. But then I also had that urge yesterday. And the day before yesterday. And the day before that. And…

    • Distec says:

      DX’s soundtrack has been on every music player I’ve owned, along with Unreal Tournament which used the same file format for its music. Something about those MOD tracks have a special effect on me.

  14. Samuel Bass says:

    Was mixed on the original launch game, but Dragonfall was one of my favorite games this year. If they can maintain that level of quality, I’ll keep backing them as long as they make them.

  15. oafish-oaf says:

    I asked this somewhere else on RPS, but can any of the RPS Director’s Cut fans recommend any of the Steam Workshop mods? With all the different versions of the game, I’d rather ask here than there.

    • Premium User Badge

      Damien Stark says:

      AFAIK all of them have to be updated/ported to work in the new Directors Cut engine.

      Nightmare Harvest was good, but doesn’t seem to be in the new engine yet?

      The SNES Reboot will eventually recreate the SNES game, which I would then highly recommend, but it’s still being built. Actively worked on and updated (last update was two days ago) but incomplete.

      Shadowrun Unlimited essentially copies the Genesis game, which was much more open-worldy and thus lots of fun even if it’s not strictly speaking “complete” yet. You can just make a character, take freelance jobs and work your way up to better gear and skills and tougher jobs. The matrix is also way more detailed and fleshed out than in the campaigns. I highly recommend.

  16. tom29 says:

    I think it’s not so much that they’re limited (though we could use a bit mùore options) as much as they play a different role altogether from the PnP game.

  17. Tukuturi says:

    Did Dragonfall have the overt racism (e.g., magical minorities and noble savages) that the basic campaign in Returns did? I liked some of the ideas, but I couldn’t bring myself to finish SRR for its treatment of Native characters.

    • Ace Rimmer says:

      Part of the Shadowrun setting is that the Awakened World is a place of widespread racism against ‘meta-humans’ (i.e. non-human humanoids) and violent prejudice against magic-users. Dragonfall tackles both of these fairly head-on. I don’t remember the original campaign (Dead Man’s Switch) that clearly, but think a lot of this stuff was just taken as given as part of the background, whereas Dragonfall deals with it much more explicitly.

      • Tukuturi says:

        I think Shadowrun can provide a great setting for tackling social issues in a productive and sensitive way. It also has some inherent problems in in the way it treats Native Americans/First Nations Peoples as eco-magical tropes. There’s a real tension in Shadowrun, going back to the FASA days, between tackling racism and just being racist. To the point that I made it in Dead Man’s Switch, Harebrained seemed to lean to the latter side of that tension. I don’t think it was necessarily intentional, but it was insensitive. I made some polite efforts to contact them about it, but I never received any replies. This sort of soured me on the company and their work with Shadowrun, which is a shame because I love Shadowrun and other games in the universe have been such a disappointment. I will make an effort to get over it and at least give Dragonfall a shot.

    • Steve Catens says:

      I never played the vanilla campaign, so I can’t comment on that. The Dragonfall campaign deals with a lot of racism themes, but mostly between humans and the non-human races. None of the characters tripped my stereotype meter much, but if you find a mysterious, intelligent, dark skinned elf magical shopkeeper and his more mysterious light skinned assistant, or a light skinned elf drug dealer, or a light skinned bespectacled Troll social crusader, or a punk rock shaman, or the over portrayal of trolls and orks as thuggish types problematic, your mileage may vary.

      The game is set in Germany, so the concept of Native differs. There were no Native American characters that I recall.

      • Tukuturi says:

        Thanks. The insightful and helpful responses to questions like this in RPS comment sections help restore my wavering faith in the internet.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        I’m not inclined to agree that Dragonfall “over-portrays trolls and orks as thuggish types”. I mean they have that reputation, in-universe, but that’s a stereotype people have about them, not a fact we actually observe over the course of the game. Or am I forgetting something important here?

        • Steve Catens says:

          I wasn’t being entirely serious. I was just acknowledging the sort of things people read into the portrayal of fantasy racial tropes. There are, after all, people who condemn the portrayal of Tolkien Orcs, considering them an oppressed people.

          My intention was to convey that if you’re a person that reads a lot into the static portrait and bundled text of an rpg character, then it’s quite possible they’re going to be more sensitive to these things than I am, and I may not be a reliable source.

          Nothing in Dragonfall really bothered me in this regard. It is somewhat conspicuous that in a European setting the only prominent dark skinned character was a magician and magic shop owner, but that character also had some of the most thoughtful dialogue in the game, and countered the traditional European “elven” stereotype by being dark skinned and curly haired, at least in my interpretation of a tiny character portrait. A wash, all in all, and one of my favorite characters to speak with.

    • Emeraude says:

      It’s a setting in which American natives were among the first to get access to magic when it came back to the world and used it as leverage to claim back a lot of their former land in the ensuing chaos of corporate vs government war (note to purists: I’m simplifying).

      You’re not going to escape the shadow of the noble savage trope in that context. Nor, as a with a lot of cyberpunk genre books, its class equivalent of the noble poor.

      If you can go beyond that, there really are good things to take from that well.

  18. noodlecake says:

    If you make a game and that game sells then isn’t the standard thing to invest the profits into the next project rather than scrounging from fans? I don’t get how a company can justify a kickstarter campaign after success and the fans accept it when they are so harsh about other things that aren’t anywhere near so unscrupulous.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I’ll go out on a limb here, and suggest that perhaps their definitions of “unscrupulous” differ from yours?

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      Damien Stark says:

      I think if the past few years of Kickstarter and Early Access and F2P have taught us anything, it’s that you’re wasting your time getting concerned with what “the standard thing” is.

      As someone who occasionally funds Kickstarters, I would personally say that my primary concern is “will this developer actually produce the game they’re claiming, and is that worth what I would give them?” I personally find it far worse when a dev fails to complete the game, or releases it in shoddy condition, or years late, as opposed to “hey I bet they could have afforded it without me”.

      If you find it somehow “unscrupulous” that they’re asking for your money to make a game, then don’t give it to them. I choose to evaluate it on the grounds of “if I give them $20, will I get an excellent game out of it?” And given their track record, I believe the answer is yes and that it would be worth said $20.

  19. fredc says:

    Just chiming in to agree that Dragonfall was great. I was very pleasantly surprised, having been slightly underwhelmed, thought not horrified, by the SR experience, and subsequently disappointed by suggestions that the devs were not currently working on further Shadowrun expansions.

    Will definitely be backing this.

  20. tsff22 says:

    My only real complaint with Dragonfall (which also applied to DMS) is that the game basically forces you to be a Decker. Over half the potential loot in the levels require you to hack terminals or otherwise use a Decking technique to unlock, and, at least in my experience, you’re completely barred from using a Decker party member to unlock them. Only YOU can do so.

    Other than that, the game’s awesome.