Press Release First, then some commentary!
KIRKLAND, WA (January 13, 2015) – Today, indie video game developer Harebrained Schemes launched a new Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund it’s third full length stand-alone game set in the cyberpunk-meets-magic world of Shadowrun.
Unlike their smash success at crowdfunding the entire development of Shadowrun Returns, Harebrained Schemes is approaching this Kickstarter differently, asking backers to become co-funding partners so they can add more to Shadowrun: Hong Kong.
“We’ve already begun development of the Hong Kong game,” said Mitch Gitelman, co-founder of Harebrained Schemes and Executive Producer of Shadowrun. “We’re self-funding the first 12 hours of gameplay at the quality level of Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut. But we have plenty of ideas for features and runs that didn’t fit into our budget. We love Kickstarter and we think there’s no better co-funding partner than our fans to help us take our game to the next level.”
Set in the magically awakened city of Hong Kong in 2056, players will find themselves exploring the underworld of triads, tongs, wild magic, and bleeding edge cybertech with a crew of flawed, dangerous runners each with their own backstory and special abilities.
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring our fans an all new, full length standalone tactical cRPG set in Hong Kong,” said Jordan Weisman, co-founder of Harebrained Schemes and creator of the Shadowrun world. “Every time we release a new Shadowrun campaign, we set out to improve on the art, the gameplay and, especially, the storytelling.”
In 2012, Harebrained Schemes funded the development of Shadowrun Returns on Kickstarter and became the first video game company that raised over $1M and delivered the game to backers. More importantly, the game was critically acclaimed and appeared on many Best of 2013 lists and was awarded Game of the Year from Diehard GameFAN.
Their next title, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, was initially released as DLC and was given to Kickstarter backers for free. Last September, the studio released Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut, a standalone upgrade that was made available for free to all Dragonfall DLC owners. The Director’s Cut was one of the highest rated PC Games of the year, appeared on many Best of 2014 lists, and was awarded Game of the Year from RPG Gamer. A tablet version of the Director’s Cut was released for iOS and Android in December.
“We’re very excited to have Harebrained Schemes back on Kickstarter,” said Luke Crane, Community Manager for Games at Kickstarter. “They did a great job with their first Shadowrun project and have continued to release amazing work since. They’ve shown how Kickstarter creators can invite backers into the development process and build a loyal base of supporters. The new project looks like it’s going to continue their streak of excellence!”
Shadowrun: Hong Kong will be developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems only, with DRM-free versions available through GOG and Humble. Harebrained Schemes expects to release the game mid-2015, at a price point similar to their previous games.
About Harebrained Schemes
Harebrained Schemes is a small team of passionate game developers led by Jordan Weisman, the creator of Shadowrun, Crimson Skies, BattleTech, MechWarrior, and many other acclaimed game worlds. Weisman was also the founder of WizKids, best known for its collectible miniatures games such as HeroClix and Mage Knight. Founded in 2011, the Seattle-based studio is centered on deep collaboration between seasoned veterans and fresh talent. Titles include Crimson: Steam Pirates (iOS, Chrome, 2011), Strikefleet Omega (iOS, Android, 2012), Shadowrun Returns (Steam and mobile, 2013), Shadowrun: Dragonfall (Steam, 2014); Golem Arcana (Retail, 2014) and Shadowrun Dragonfall – Directors Cut (Steam and mobile, 2014). For more information visit http://harebrained-schemes.com/.
So here’s my ten quick thoughts:
1. It’s great to see a third Shadowrun video game. I’m not surprised it is being set in Asia as it very nearly won the backer poll that set Dragonfall in Berlin. I know I’ll be backing it…although perhaps not for the same amount I did with Shadowrun Returns. I’ve never used my boxed copy of the game. I do love my hardcover Anthology though.
2. Hopefully the game will be available on GOG.com or at least available in some DRM free version for backers. That was a real point of contention with the original game and I HBS did a great job of making that option available.
3. Twelve hours of gameplay is about what to expect form a Shadowrun RPG considered the previous two. It’ll be interesting to see what the stretch goals provide. Will it just be lengthening the game or will there be some interesting ancillary items as well?
4. Below is a gallery of some sample art for the game. Looks like two orcs and a Dwarven Decker (odd but fun combo) will come into play. I love the inclusion of a Rat Shaman, as that was the first character you could hire in the original Sega Genesis Shadowrun game. That was a Male Dwarf instead of a female Orc though. I keep hoping we’ll get a major Troll party member in one of these games, but it looks like that’s not going to happen here either.
5. Turnaround time of Mid-2015? I know that both Shadowrun ReturnsShadowrun: Dragonfall had to be pushed back from their original release date, but a few months turnaround seems ay too optimistic – especially when stretch goals come into play. Hopefully they revise that date during the campaign as some gamers get EXTREMELY WHINY when a crowdfunding product doesn’t deliver on time.
6. Possible tie-ins with CGL and the tabletop version of Shadowrun? Awesome. Hopefully it’ll go better than the intended release for Shadowrun Online though. That seems to have dissipated. I’d love to see an old school 1e/2e adventure or supplement get released just for this Kickstarter instead of something for 5e. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy 5e. It’s just this is set in the 2050s not the 2070s, and I’d love to see a retro release for those that still prefer an older version of the game. Hey, maybe dual stats like some 4e/5e releases?
7. I’d love another anthology written for this game ala Shadowrun Returns. That was one of the best parts about the previous Shadowrun Kickstarter and I’d love to see it happen again. We’re getting a full novel though! That’s awesome. I just wish I knew who the author was going to be.
8. I would love to see a re-release of the Genesis and Shadowrun versions in Virtual Console format for the Wii/Wii U. Hell, I’d take it for other consoles and PC. It wouldn’t have to be remakes or HD’ing the visuals – just a straight LEGAL port would be fine. It’s too bad we can’t get Harebrained Schemes to do a Kickstarter for those. There is a remake of the SNES version being remade with the current dev kit for the modern SR games but the engine isn’t a good fit for the Genesis version.
9. If there is DLC for this version and.or a fourth game, I’d love to see Jordan and his team tackle an area that hasn’t really been touched in any version of Shadowrun. Imagine a game set in the Caribbean or Iceland. That would be interesting settings.
10. If Shadowrun: Hong Kong is even half as good as the previous releases, Harebrained Schemes probably has another award winner on its hand. of course, how big the game will be is purely up to the amount of people that back S:HK and how much money gets thrown at it. It’s a shoo-in to get funded but we’ll have to see if the Kickstarter fatigue that has hit some many other recent projects will hit this one as well. Here’s hoping it doesn’t because Shadowrun Returns is one of the biggest video game crowdfunding successes ever.
The link to the Kickstarter is Here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/webeharebrained/shadowrun-hong-kong. Take a look and see if it’s worth backing to you.