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As much as I may want this to be a thread on a video game adaptation of Logan's Run, my palm is not blinking red. Instead, I have put up a preview of Shadowrun for the Xbox 360 and PC based on a gigantor press pack the House of Gates sent out.
Some background on the game that Microsoft is using as their pilot program for the Live Anywhere solution, as detailed in an interview I did with Chris Early at E3.
Set in and around Santos Brazil in the year 2031, Shadowrun tells a story of struggle between two opposing forces, namely the RNA Global mega-corporation and the Lineage, a 5000 year old secret society dedicated to defending a magical power that was recently unearthed by RNA Global.
As a game, Shadowrun is played over a series of rounds involving up to 16 players, 8 versus 8, at a time. During the first 30 seconds of each round, players have the opportunity to buy additional weapons, magic and tech, spending the money earned during play for winning rounds and for actions during gameplay, including killing opponents, carrying the artifact, and using certain abilities to help the team. Players on the losing team also earn some money between rounds.
The winning team is the first one to win six rounds. Each round is four minutes with the possibility of one minute overtime, and the method of winning is determined by the type of game being played, including Raid, Extraction and Attrition. Sounds a bit more like a sport than a bitter conflict, eh?
Also, there is talk of magic and tech, both of which rely on a pool of energy called Essence...and honestly I really like this bit:
Essence is the magical energy needed to cast spells. A player begins the game with a full pool of Essence represented by a column of circles in the lower left of the screen, and every spell that is cast takes its cost from that pool. Over time, the Essence pool will regenerate, filling back up to its maximum.
However, having tech assigned for use will reduce the maximum size of this pool. Each tech has its own Essence penalty associated with it and assigning multiple techs will reduce the available Essence by the total of these penalties. Tech penalties are shown at the top of the Essence bar. Certain spells will also temporarily drain a portion of the Essence pool while they are in effect. This is called investment, and investments are shown at the bottom of the Essence bar.
And finally, the coup de grâce, care of FASA Studio Manager, Mitch Gitelman:
It's true that Shadowrun started as an RPG but it's also been a tactical combat board game, a collectable card game and an action figure combat game. The world of Shadowrun is large and there's a lot to do in it. Pen-and-paper and electronic RPGs explore the story element of that world, but other mediums have focused on the combat like we did. But the question remains—why a team-based first-person shooter?
If you look at FASA's history, you'll see why. We've been making multiplayer shooters since 1990 with the BattleTech pods. The pods were location-based multiplayer units that linked eight players together in virtual reality cockpits along with voicechat. Seven years ago, we released MechWarrior 4 and people are still playing it in multiplayer leagues. We produced MechAssault, the launch title for Xbox Live at the birth of online console action gaming. After that, we developed Crimson Skies, a game that lots of people call their favorite online game for the Xbox. And then I hired John Howard, the lead designer of Halo, melded the design teams of those great games together and set out to make Shadowrun.
ScreenshotSo why adapt it to an FPS? Because we know it would kick ass. If you ran a studio with a history of making groundbreaking and fun multiplayer action games and the lead designer of the best FPS on console, what would you do?”
They are supposed to have a new build for this at Microsoft's party next week at GDC, so if anythign major happens, I'll be sure to speak up when I'm sober.