The last few weeks seem to have marked the start of a golden age for old-school gamers like me and, I’m sure, many of you, as quite a few veteran developers took steps to bring beloved franchises and gameplay styles back to life without turning them into first person shooters.
Kickstarter is having a big role in this process, thanks to the fact that it gives developers the ability to bypass the FPS-centric publishers and start projects that would otherwise be rejected or warped by the unbending laws of commerce.
The latest of those projects seeking the help of the community to reach its funding goal is Shadowrun Returns, offspring of one of the most prestigious franchises created by FASA Corporation back when covers were still illustrated by Larry Elmore and pen, paper and imagination were still dominating over the pixels.
The youngest between you may actually remember the name thanks to the first person shooter published in 2007 by Microsoft, but please forget about that. It simply didn’t happen, at least in my world.
Shadowrun Returns will be a 2D (yeah, you read correctly: 2D. The graphics will actually have sprites) turn-based single player RPG with “deep story interaction, meaningful character development, and highly-contextual tactical combat”. It will be released on PC and apple/android tablets.
At the helm of the project we’ll see Jordan Weisman, founder of FASA and creator of the original game. He created his new studio, Harebrained Schemes,together with some of those that formed the original team and quite a few of the original writers behind the game’s story.
Yes, I just repeated the world “original” three times in a row. It must be because that’s one of the elements that paints me excited for this project.
For those that have no idea of what the Shadowrun franchise actually entails (shame on you), it’s basically a mix between two very different genres, high fantasy and cyberpunk, set in a post apocalyptic future where magic has reawakened together with the dragons and the other fantasy races we all know and love, mixing with technology and virtual reality to create a very vibrant ad highly unique world.
The game will include all four “realities” present in the world of Shadowrun (the Physical, the Digital, the Mystic, and the Astral) and each of those realities will be portrayed differently. Different character classes will have the ability to see different realities, requiring interaction between them to paint the whole picture.
The most exciting feature will probably be the level editor, that Harebrained Schemes will publicly release, allowing the community to create and share its own stories and adventures. You probably know how much I love modding, so I don’t need to go at length in describing the potential of this feature.
The funding goal required isn’t even that high, as Harebrained Schemes asks “just” for 400,000 Dollars to kickstart the project. The process seems well on its way with about $25,000 pledged in a couple hours.
You can pledge your own support here, and watch Weisman’s own video message below. Take it away Jordan!