Posts Tagged ‘Shadowrun Returns’

The RPG Scrollbars: The Scrolls of Honour – 2015

As the dragons finally return to their nests to hibernate and the ghosts don their chains to help remind misers of the meaning of the season, we approach the end of another year. As is tradition, that is time for we at the guild-house to award both quests and questers the ceremonial Scrolls of Honour™. (Chorus of affordable angels)

Scribed upon only the finest vellum in ink taken from a particularly recalcitrant octopus from the Abyssal Depths, they are a testament to skill and imagination and occasional disappointments that mean exactly nothing whatsoever except that I have a column and so I can hand out whatever made-up crap takes my fancy. Lo! We begin!

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Shadowrun Returns Devs Bring Back BattleTech, Is Successfully Kickstarted Almost Immediately

Edit: now at over $800k after less than a day. Lawks!

BattleTech is/was the setting for the beloved MechWarrior series, but began life as a 1984 tabletop wargame, long before it was a mech combat sim. Though MechWarrior pops up again now and then (usually involving some tortured development process), the BattleTech name itself didn’t get a whole lot of use when it came to videogames – although Command & Conquer creators Westwood had a go at one. But now it’s getting its first non-spun-off time in the PC gaming sun since 1994, as a new turn-based mech tactics game being developed by Harebrained Schemes, of Shadowrun Returns fame.

BattleTech reached its $250,000 Kickstarter goal within around an hour of announcement. Blimey. However, the game won’t have a singleplayer campaign unless it reaches one million dollars. Wait, what?
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Wot I Think – Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Shadowrun: Hong Kong [official site] is the third-and-a-half time around the block for this cyberpunk-but-with-elves roleplaying series, and by now there’s a routine and a rhythm. You build a Shadowrunner, a secretive mercenary who can fight with technical or mystical powers (or a combination of the two), leading a team of fixed-spec allies with big personalities through real-time exploration and turn-based action. This time, the setting is one of the touchstones of 80s cyberpunk, and we’re dealing with Triads, social segregation and city-wide nightmares in addition to the usual gang war, troll mercenaries and magic-assisted corporate espionage.

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Travel to Hong Kong With First Shadowrun Screens

Now that some Shadowrun: Hong Kong [official site] screenshots have finally been released, we’re allowed a first glimpse at what life for our Runners will be like in the Far East. In short, pretty similar to what we’ve encountered so far in Seattle and Berlin, but with a more Eastern twang. Shanty street markets, dimly lit docks and rooftop hideaways all scream Shadowrun. As does the now familiar art style, which looks like Harebrained Schemes have taken an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. And rightly so.

There’s a teaser trailer too, but it shows absolutely nothing and gives us no clearer indication of when we’ll get our hands on the game beyond “summer 2015”.

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Harebrained Schemes On The Future Of Shadowrun

Last week I ran the first half of an interview with three-time Kickstarter winners Harebrained Schemes, in which they fielded my own questions about their upcoming cyberpunk-with-magic RPG sequel Shadowrun: Hong Kong. This time, they’re fielding your questions – including what they’ve got planned for the future of the series, cyberpunk’s Asian influences, how the stories are becoming increasingly less linear, avoiding Eastern stereotypes with the new setting, and improving the game’s pace.

Oh, and at the time writing the Shadowrun Hong Kong Kickstarter has now brought in $750,000. They’d asked for $100,000. They’ve now unlocked 12 stretch goals, and promise an additional mini-campaign if they hit $1 million. There are still 19 days to go. *blinks*.
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Shadowrun Devs On Hong Kong, Kickstarter, Fans & Story

Shadowrun just keeps on returning. The cyberpunk RPG has has various game adaptations over the last few decades, but it was the Kickstarted Shadowrun Returns which most nailed the concept. Narrative and choice expanded in excellent follow-up campaign Dragonfall, which then saw a further improved Director’s Cut, and after all that devs Harebrained Schemes had a loyal enough fanbase to pull off their third successful Kickstarter, even in an age where there’s a lot of worried muttering about the future of crowd-funding for games. No such worries for Harebrained co-founders Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman, whose upcoming Shadowrun: Hong Kong was funded in less than two hours and now has over $600k pledged – six times what they’d asked for. Blimey.

Earlier this week, I talked to the pair about why they went back to the Kickstarter well, what they’re doing differently this time, how they’ve been able to make story an increased focus, what the community’s up to with the Shadowrun editor and being sent free pizza.
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That Was Quick: Shadowrun Definitely Returns Again

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. But they weren’t talking about one studio being able to pull off multiple successful Kickstarters when they said that, so it’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that Harebrained Schemes join the likes of Double Fine and inXile in getting a second [edit – third, in fact: they also had Golem Arcana, which I think makes them the crowdfunding leader?] game crowd-funded into existence. There’s lots of anxiety flying around about the Kickstarter era of videogame development winding down, but Shadowrun: Hong Kong flew in the face of doomsaying by getting itself funded within hours of the campaign launching.
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Reprise Of The Triads: Shadowrun – Hong Kong

Shadowrun is returning. Again! I’ve already covered the basics of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Harebrained Schemes’ next step into the world of fantastical cyberpunk, but the Kickstarter has just gone live so there are plenty of details to wrap that bundle of wires you call a brain around. The video below contains the first glimpse of the game’s isometric interpretation of the setting, unless you count the concept art above, in which case it’s your second glimpse. After the great success of Dragonfall, I’m eager to take another trip into this particular vision of our electronic future.

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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.

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Shadowrun Return Devs Return With Necropolis

Monument Death Valley

‘Necropolis’ is a word which is surprisingly meaningful to me. This is because I was raised in the city of dead, sent out into the wretched world of the living to spread decay and despair. And also because Necropolis was the first-ever Judge Dredd story I read (in fact I came in halfway through) and my tiny mind was blown by the discovery that comics could be so bleak and sinister and amoral and, well, grown-up. The X-Men, my staple diet until then, suddenly looked like clowns.

…Must resist the urge to just bang on about Judge Dredd for three thousand words. Today I was startled to see the word ‘Necropolis’ pop up in a brand new context, that being a “brutal” dungeoneering game from the makers of Shadowrun Returns.
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Shadowrun: Dragonfall Now Has Standalone Director’s Cut

Shadowrun Returns returns! Or rather, its expansion Shadowrun: Dragonfall is returning, this time as a standalone release called Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut. To justify the title, the cyberpunk RPG expandalone is being expanded further with five new missions, a re-designed interface, new endings, new music, and a bunch more. There’s a trailer below which details the biggest of the changes, and it seems there’s good news for both new players and old.

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Wot I Think – Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall

Now that’s more like it. Choice! Side-missions! A hub! A strong supporting cast who are up for a bit of a chat! Little-to-no mandatory decking sequences! A mother-lovin’ save (almost) anywhere system! Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall being ‘just’ DLC for last year’s cyberpunk/fantasy mash-up RPG is bittersweet, because it may well be that only existing Shadowrun Returns owners give it a spin. Really, though, this is the point where new players are best off getting involved – a new, superior campaign with no ties to the last one, and quite a few of the major problems dealt with. Now’s the time to play Shadowrun Returns, basically, but please, start with this.
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Shadowrun Returns Not Quite Returning Just Yet

Much as I thought last year’s opening salvo pulled a few too many punches and didn’t offer anything like enough freedom of choice/movement, I could really go for some Shadowrun about now. Offbeat world, reasonably strategic battles, option to be a bit of dick to everyone… Take me, cyberpunk/fantasy roleplaying mashup, I’m yours. Sadly plans for first official expansion Dragonfall to launch this month have been nixed, though a more concrete release date of February 27th has been pinned to it. I’ll probably have changed my mind about wanting to play it by then. I’ll probably want to play something with horses or chefs or chefs on horses in instead.

Anyway: trailer, features, exaggerated descriptions below.
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Shadowrun Returns Returns

Shadowrun Returns was a good thing because it was a Kickstarter game becoming a real game in a timely fashion, without additional money demands, without broken promises, and it was released finished rather than in some sort of alphabetaearlyaccessgizmorecash status. The anti-Godus, if you will. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a game that married jaws and floors in delightedly astounded awe. It was Fine. Great setting and roleplaying systems, stuck into a somewhat perfunctory tale that didn’t give said systems much room to breathe. Given talk of ‘hubs’ and choosing missions, I’m really hoping that upcoming, Berlin-set expansion Dragonfall will provide a looser structure and a wider world, in addition to newly-announced very sensible additions such a overhauling the atrocious checkpoint system to allow saving anywhere and more of a team focus.

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Shadowrun Returns DRM Punched, Flung Into A Pit, Killed

When Shadowrun Returns was first conceived, it came with the sparkly promise of pristine freedom – not a speck of diabolical DRM to be found even in its grimiest cybergutters. But then, due to some behind-the-scenes shenanigans, Harebrained Schemes went back on their word, shackling all future updates to Steam, which – while not the end of the world – was absolutely a form of DRM. Now, however, PLOT TWIST: things have changed… again! Harebrained was recently seen beating its own DRM into a mangled, bloody pulp, lighting it on fire, and then reading it passages from this fan fiction. Meanwhile, onlookers watched in horror until they realized this was cause for celebration and started cheering. Some even joined in. Experts described the scene as “just a really great time” and “hahahaha wheeeeeee yeah!”

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Shadowrun Returns Returns In January For Berlin


The October goal for Shadowrun Returns‘ mini expansion Berlin is now a January goal, as Harebrained explain: “we’ve decided to spend more time on Berlin to create an experience closer to the size of Dead Man’s Switch. A story of that scope will take longer, so we’re targeting January for its release.” Interesting! There’s more: “we know that we want our next story to feel more like the player is part of a shadowrunning crew and contain more corporate intrigue.” And that means a story that goes deeper into the original Shadowrun sourcebook set in Germany.

And will they change the way saves work? “It’s still too early to say whether this is going to be possible, but we wanted to let you know that we’re actively investigating it.” Well that’s hopeful.

Walk, Don’t Run: Shadowrun’s Berlin Campaign Delayed

Shadowrun returned! Some doubted. Some declared it too good to be true. Some believed The Prophecy was only a nice story parents told their children to get them from posting 10,000-word rant novels on Reddit. But hark, Harebrained Schemes breathed new life into the series’ patented blend of fairy dust and cyber sparks, and Shadowrun Returns was born. And lo didest Jim end up liking it pretty well. It’s not the ’90s anymore, though. You can’t legally call something a videogame unless you can promise at least 157 pieces of DLC to accompany it. Shadowrun, the retro rebel maverick that it is, is opting for a mere one at this point, but it’s apparently going to be much, much bigger than initially planned. As in, expansion-sized. The only problem? It won’t emerge from Harebrained’s time machine laboratory until 2014.

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Shadowrun Returns’ Berlin Campaign In “Late October”


Harebrained have updated with news of what’s happening following the launch of Shadowrun Returns, and the arrival of the first patch. The Berlin campaign, which will feature a new story mission free to Kickstarter backers, and at an unannounced price for standard purchasers, is now set to arrive in October. The Berlin campaign will also introduce a completely new scenery set for the editor: “Development of Berlin art is already underway, and our design team is also starting to prototype gameplay and mission ideas for the Berlin campaign.”

The post also comes with news of a Linux release, but no time-frame for its arrival: “The editor is now compiling in Linux, but unfortunately crashes when trying to load scenes. We’re confident we can work through the various Linux-related issues, but it is going to take some time to wrangle them into submission.” Sounds like progress, at least.

Wot I Think: Shadowrun Returns


So here I am playing a turn-based RPG. And it’s because of Kickstarter. That feels pretty good, I have to say. What’s more: I’m really enjoying myself. It’s Shadowrun Returns. Let me tell you about Shadowrun Returns.
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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.

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