What is Shadowrun Returns?
Shadowrun Returns is a turn based tactical combat RPG game set in the Shadowrun universe. (It is largely unrelated to Shadowrun Online
, a different game, which is an MMO by the Jagged Alliance Online people. Shadowrun Online is set later in the Shadowrun universe and will pick up plotlines from Shadowrun Returns.) It's out on PC and is coming to tablets.
Another Shitty Shadowrun Cash-in? Bleh
Not so fast! This game's made by Jordan Weisman and his team. Weisman is the guy behind Battletech, Crimson Skies, and other things (like... Shadowrun). Weisman was one of the original creators of Shadowrun and his game company, Harebrained Schemes
, is made up of a bunch of people he's brought along with him from his FASA days (plus a bunch of other people). Marshall Parker and Sam Powell, the composers of the music for the SNES
Shadowrun games respectively, are collaborating on the music.
Okay, What's the Game Like?
I'm literally just going to copy and paste from the Kickstarter page:
Single player turn based RPG. None of this "let's try to be Counterstrike" stuff we got in the last Shadowrun game.
One of the many innovations in Data East’s Shadowrun Super Nintendo game was a unique conversation engine that opened up new avenues of conversation based upon information you learned through interactions with characters and objects. We intend on taking a similar path with a new twist or two.
Contextual Gameplay in Four Realities
Four realities overlap in the world of Shadowrun (the Physical, the Digital, the Mystic, and the Astral) and associated character classes such as the Street Samurai, Hacker, Combat Mage, and Shaman, each have the ability to view and interact with the world in ways the others can’t.
Here are some ways that selecting each character class allows you to see the map from a different perspective:
- 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.
- 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.
Missions (aka "Runs") in Shadowrun Returns can require interaction with all four realities simultaneously, requiring you to use information learned from each character’s perspective to coordinate their context-sensitive actions to get the job done. . . and survive.
That’s why we decided to make Shadowrun Returns a turn-based game—so we can offer you a wide range of context-based gameplay options from which to craft a your plan.
It gets complicated.
BUT it's Weisman's license now, I guess. Partially. A Shadowrun MMO is also in the works
, and it will be set later in the timeline (the 2070s) and it will feature callbacks to Shadowrun Returns.
Hold On, What is Shadowrun?
Never heard of Shadowrun? Here is a PDF introduction to the setting
Created almost 25 years ago, Shadowrun remains one of the most original and cherished role-playing settings. The game world’s origin story mashes-up the dystopian Cyberpunk future of a Blade Runner with the high fantasy creatures and races of a Lords of the Rings in an organic way that produces iconic characters, environments, and situations.
It's the RPG setting that you'd get if Neal Stephenson wrote The Lord of the Rings. It's cyberpunk all the way down, from the corporations that control everything to the glorification of hackers and punks and outcasts and robot limbs, but it also has a mystical/spiritual side, which manifests itself in the form of shaman who can enter the astral plane and elves and orcs and other creatures which are walking around smoking cigarettes. Here's how the Kickstarter describes the universe:
The Shadowrun Wiki
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.
is a nice place to brush up on the lore. Learn about the noble Century Ferret
and peruse the inscrutable last will and testament of the first and only dragon president of the United Canadian and American States
Odds and Ends