“Shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, ever, deal with a dragon.” — Street proverb
Legendary designer Jordan Weisman (under his new company Harebrained Schemes) has launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a new game based on his classic pen-and-paper RPG, Shadowrun. The project, Shadowrun Returns, is billed as a 2D, turn-based RPG for PC and mobile devices which will return players to the fantastic mix of high fantasy and cyberpunk beloved the world over by fans.
Speaking as one of those die-hard fans of the property, the ideas laid out on the Kickstarter page do have me salivating. Featuring class-based mechanics which will allow players to perceive the multiple layers of the world and interact with them, the title will also mark a return to the best period in the game’s history, the 2050’s. Mission structure will allow for a layered narrative with many smaller stories contributed by some of the best writers the series’ fiction ever had, including Michael A. Stackpole, Tom Dowd, and Mike Mulvihill (oh, if only Nigel D. Findley hadn’t been taken from us so soon!).
In addition to the game, Harebrained Schemes will also be releasing their level editor which will allow players to create their own missions and stories using exactly the same tools the developers are using.
This project differs from an upcoming MMO from Cliffhanger Productions using the same setting, Shadowrun Online (a title Weisman is also consulting on), which will be set two decades later in the setting’s chronology but will be informed by elements in Shadowrun Returns, making a connection between the two titles.
Allow me to put into perspective for a moment how much of a Shadowrun geek I am. My AOL account, the first globally connected service I ever used starting in 1994, has the username “Dunkelzahn,” taken from the name of a dragon turned presidential candidate in the game setting. I still have it and, on occasion, receive messages from people relating to the name (although, often in German). Yes, I was — and continue to be — a massive dork.
Ten years ago, I would probably have considered murder if I thought it would get this game made. Today, I have some concerns about how much fun I’m going to have playing a turn-based RPG (a genre I fell out of love with long ago) but my resolve is steadfast. It’s still more up my alley than the MMO and I was totally on board for that.
The Kickstarter is already half funded now with 24 days left to go, so it looks like there’s a pretty good chance they’ll get the $400k they’re looking for. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to start a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 so that I can have Mike Mulvihill come to my house and run a Shadowrun game for me and five of my friends.
Shadowrun Returns [Kickstarter]