After a bit of a bumpy development, including turning to Kickstarter a year after its announcement and a lengthy delay, Shadowrun Online is slipping on its trenchcoat and mirrorshades to greet the world. Street samurai and shaman throughout The Matrix will get to throw down in turn-based tactical combat come Monday, March 31, when the game will launch via Steam Early Access.
While the full game will have a free-to-play option, Early Access is only for the full paid version which includes all microtransaction doodads for $30 (one imagines it'll be £20-ish). It'll be a combat-focused hunk of the game with several co-op missions and a little PvP, but missing a fair few parts.
A fair few parts like hacking, character progression, items, and more. Given that the game's already pretty late, the Kickstarter campaign having pegged it for May 2013, developers Cliffhanger Productions simply want to get something into players' cyberhands.
Cliffhanger had hoped to simply build Shadowrun Online upon its Jagged Alliance Online code but oh, what folly! After starting over from scratch, they then needed to find another investor to hold them up while they did the unexpected extra work.
Oh, it's hard not to be sceptical about a F2P game with a wobbly history, but turn-based cyberpunk combat and mirrorshades and hand razors! Hopefully its focus on killing means the combat's a little more rounded than in HareBrained Schemes' Shadowrun Returns, where the best solution to street thugs and elite corporate security alike was almost inevitably spitting bullets.
Here's Cliffhanger managing director Jan Wagner to explain a little more of what's going on with the Early Access release: