Shadowrun Returns: Soon

That’s why I’m excited to say that a new adventure in the universe’s long lineage will be available in summer of 2013 in the form of Shadowrun Returns, available for tablet, PC, and Mac. Produced by Harebrained Schemes Studios, and on a shoestring budget might I add, what sneak peeks of the game we’ve received thus far look extremely promising.

Think Fallout: Tactics meets Neverwinter Nights in a gritty urban sprawl where humans, meta-humans, and weirder things besides struggle for survival beneath the bootheel of nation-spanning megacorporations.

According to Mitch Gitelman, cofounder and studio manager at Harebrained Schemes, “Shadowrun Returns is first targeted at people who know and love Shadowrun, whether it’s because of the SNES and SEGA games, the tabletop games, or the fiction. Second, people who like turn-based tactical games like the old XCOM and RPG story games like Neverwinter Nights will enjoy our game as well.”

It will be combining RPG and turn-based strategy elements with puzzle-solving and character development. You can start as one of five possible character races, and rather than be relegated to a class system, you can choose a cluster of skills which make up a specific archetype per the pen-and-paper game, or you can mix and match skills to create an archetype of your own.

Combat, espionage, negotiations, and above all, roleplaying, all feature heavily in contributing to the ongoing story which is, at its heart, a gumshoe detective piece set in a high-tech lowlife world. In this way, it holds more true to the spirit of the pen-and-paper game than any attempt at a video game thus far.

Hard details are still a little tough to come by as the game engine is still being built. What we do know is that the game will be available for online download. It will have bundled with it the same level editor they’re using to make the game, allowing the budding GM to create his own adventures.

Shadowrun Returns

Stuffershack mayhem. Now with new NERPS!

It should be said that there are a number of rumors floating around which have led to misinformation. The majority of the interview with Mitch was devoted to clearing up those details.

Chrysophase: How much of this venture would you say is original intellectual property versus properties already established and maintained by Catalyst Game Labs? Any additions to the established mythos to make Shadowrun Returns unique?

Mitch: We are working to ensure that Shadowrun Returns stays true to the lore of the original tabletop game that takes place in 2054. We’re not inventing new canon.

Chrysophase: There’s been mention of customizable equipment and character classes, but what about crafting?

Mitch: Hmm, that’s odd. We never mentioned customizable equipment anywhere and I can tell you that it won’t be in the game. Neither will crafting. We’re a small team on a small budget (for our ambitions) and need to keep the right scope. Shadowrun Returns doesn’t have character classes but does have starting character archetypes. From there, you can grow your character’s skill progression however you want.

Chrysophase: Can we expect to see some fun take place in the Matrix? And what about the spirit realms?

Mitch: During our Kickstarter, we announced that we wouldn’t be traveling inside the Matrix or Astral Plane. However, Deckers can enter the Matrix in the game and do lots of cool stuff. Likewise, Mages can’t travel in the Astral Plane but do have the ability to see people’s auras by peering into it.

What the game appears to be shaping up to so far is not something that changes the way games are played. Isometric viewing angles have been employed in limited fashion since the SNES. The leveling od individual character skills and karma have been around since Fallout. But, what we at AlterGamer are hoping to see, is a game that takes the best elements from games of the past and roles them into something solid, well-done, and satisfying. When Shadowrun Returns drops, we’ll keep you posted.

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About The Author

John Richard "Chrysophase" Albers
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John Richard Albers, an author, armchair psychologist, amateur historian, freelance, peacemaker, dragonslayer, warmaster, and part-time herald of the apocalypse, hunts ghosts when he isn't hunting crazy people. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature, is working toward a degree in parapsychology, and is acting CEO of Prior to Print Proofreading LLC, where he gets to torture editors instead of them torturing him for once.

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