Guess who's getting the Kickstarter love? Ancient FASA fossil ("FASSIL") Jordan Weisman. Who's Jordan Weisman? Who's Jordan Weisman?! The guy who created high fantasy/cyberpunk romp Shadowrun, that's who.
Shadowrun, the subpar Xbox 360 multi-player shooter from 2007, you say? NO - Shadowrun, the exemplary pen-and-paper RPG from back in the day that was ported triumphantly to 16-bit consoles in the 90s and ported crappily to the Xbox 360 in 2007.
Now, through the crowd-sourced power of Kickstarter, Weisman and his team at Harebrained Schemes are getting another shot at reviving the dark, mystical world of Shadowrun for a new generation.
Their Kickstarter page blew up yesterday, nailing down their $400,000 goal in 28 hours. They'll be using that cash to bring a rightfully single-player Shadowrun to iOS/Android tablets and PCs.
Find out what the world of Shadowrun is all about and watch the HBS Shadowrun Returns pitch video (and subsequent "thank you" video) after the break.
The best part of this Shadowrun Returns pitch video is the 2007 Shadowrun executive producer getting pelted with projectiles.
According to the Mayan Calendar (and lots of tabloids), the world will end on December 21, 2012. It’s part a 5,200 year cycle of death and rebirth that, in Shadowrun, actually charts the ebb and flow of magic from the Earth. So, on 12/21/12 magic will return, end this world, and wreak holy havoc while starting the next. Aboriginal cultures, who maintained their mystical traditions, are the first to feel the return of magic and use their newfound power to reshape the political, financial, and physical world around them. As the magic increases, Elf and Dwarf babies are born to very surprised parents who carry the right combination of long-dormant genes. But all of these events pale in comparison to the horror of "goblinization", which painfully reshapes the teenage bodies of those unlucky enough to carry dominant Ork or Troll genes. And then the first Great Dragon rises from its 5,200 yearlong hibernation and circles over Tokyo, signaling that the world has truly AWAKENED.
Fast forward two generations, to a world transformed not only by the growth of magic but by the acceleration of cyber technology—a continual effort to improve upon the gifts that nature gave humanity; by the inevitable maturation of the World Wide Web into the Matrix—a network directly accessible by the human brain; and by the near elimination of governments as they are replaced megacorporations—monolithic entities who see only customers, not citizens.
And moving through the dark shadows cast by the gleaming towers of the corps, are Shadowrunners – disposable assets and corporate pawns scratching out a living using a combination of technology, magic, and street smarts. Shadowrunners live between the cracks and operate outside the law, doing the dirty work that corporate wage-slaves won’t soil their hands with and occasionally acting as the only protection the citizenry can turn to.
Welcome to the world of Shadowrun, where man meets magic and machine.
- From the Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter pageFor teh n00bs, Shadowrun is an RPG that combines various sci-fi and fantasy tropes into a vibrant yet gritty dystopian world. Tolkien-esque elements are mashed up with William Gibson's cold and electric cyberpunk cityscapes.
In layman's terms: Dwarves hacking mainframes in cyberspace and Elves with magic spells against a seedy, industrial backdrop of corporate espionage and over-urbanization.
Weisner refers to the class system in Shadowrun Returns as combining four distinct "realities" available to players. Each character sees the world in their own way and interacts with it according to their class:
- Street Samurai see a threat assessment overlay of the environment that notes enemy appraisals, options for cover, potential weapons, and statistics for drawn weapons.
- Combat Mages see magical auras, granting them the ability to locate magical items, identify spells being prepared, and find the intersections of magic lay lines where they can recharge their power.
- Hackers/Deckers see the digital control circuitry that allows them to manipulate the physical world via the digital one.
As far as story is concerned, HBS will be bringing on published Shadowrun novel authors to pen the scenarios. On HBS' Kickstarter page, Weisman emphasizes how important narrative is to the Shadowrun series and promised to make story a focus.
- Shaman see the “true world” that lies in the astral plane, distinguishing the true nature of people, plants, creatures, and magical objects while buildings and other “dead” objects appear as mere shadows.
To this end, HBS plans to publicly release the level editor tool they'll be using to create Shadowrun's missions (or "runs"). Players can create and share "runs" they've created with their friends or the entire community.
Weisman says that the world of Shadowrun is a stage where all manner of stories can be told and that aspect of the game is very important to the team.
Pledging merely $15 gets you a downloadable copy of Shadowrun Returns when it drops, as well as free swag. For $10,000, the top-tier pledges get a tabletop Shadowrun gaming sesh for you and five friends, presided over by Mike Mulvihill, game development lead for FASA Corp. Wow.
Check out Harebrained Schemes' Kickstarter page for more information and to give them all of your monies.