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As the dragons finally return to their nests to hibernate and the ghosts don their chains to help remind misers of the meaning of the season, we approach the end of another year. As is tradition, that is time for we at the guild-house to award both quests and questers the ceremonial Scrolls of Honour . (Chorus of affordable angels)>
Scribed upon only the finest vellum in ink taken from a particularly recalcitrant octopus from the Abyssal Depths, they are a testament to skill and imagination and occasional disappointments that mean exactly nothing whatsoever except that I have a column and so I can hand out whatever made-up crap takes my fancy. Lo! We begin!
Edit: now at over $800k after less than a day. Lawks!
BattleTech is/was the setting for the beloved MechWarrior series, but began life as a 1984 tabletop wargame, long before it was a mech combat sim. Though MechWarrior pops up again now and then (usually involving some tortured development process), the BattleTech name itself didn’t get a whole lot of use when it came to videogames – although Command & Conquer creators Westwood had a go at one. But now it’s getting its first non-spun-off time in the PC gaming sun since 1994, as a new turn-based mech tactics game being developed by Harebrained Schemes, of Shadowrun Returns fame.
BattleTech reached its $250,000 Kickstarter goal within around an hour of announcement. Blimey. However, the game won’t have a singleplayer campaign unless it reaches one million dollars. Wait, what? … [visit site to read more]
Shadowrun: Hong Kong [official site] is the third-and-a-half time around the block for this cyberpunk-but-with-elves roleplaying series, and by now there’s a routine and a rhythm. You build a Shadowrunner, a secretive mercenary who can fight with technical or mystical powers (or a combination of the two), leading a team of fixed-spec allies with big personalities through real-time exploration and turn-based action. This time, the setting is one of the touchstones of 80s cyberpunk, and we’re dealing with Triads, social segregation and city-wide nightmares in addition to the usual gang war, troll mercenaries and magic-assisted corporate espionage.
Now that some Shadowrun: Hong Kong [official site] screenshots have finally been released, we’re allowed a first glimpse at what life for our Runners will be like in the Far East. In short, pretty similar to what we’ve encountered so far in Seattle and Berlin, but with a more Eastern twang. Shanty street markets, dimly lit docks and rooftop hideaways all scream Shadowrun. As does the now familiar art style, which looks like Harebrained Schemes have taken an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. And rightly so.
There’s a teaser trailer too, but it shows absolutely nothing and gives us no clearer indication of when we’ll get our hands on the game beyond “summer 2015″.
Harebrained Schemes has done pretty well for itself with the Shadowrun franchise, ringing up $1.8 million on Kickstarter for Shadowrun Returns in 2012, followed by the Shadowrun: Dragonfall expansion (and later, a stand-alone Director's Cut) and Shadowrun: Hong Kong, which is still in development. But in a recent interview with Game Informer, Harebrained co-founders Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman suggested that the studio may move on to something new, that's based on something old.
"There s a very real chance of us pushing the size of the studio just a little bit more," Gitelman said. "What s great is that we greenlit this original IP, Necropolis, but there are other IPs that we ve created in the past that we are very interested in. Maybe soon."
"We re not going to say yet, but one of my old children may be coming home to roost," Weisman added.
Those "children" almost certainly refer to either Battletech/Mechwarrior or Crimson Skies, and the smart money looks to be on the former. Harebrained tweeted a link to the Game Informer story shortly after it went up, which is no big deal, but then so did Russ Bullock, the president of Mechwarrior Online studio Piranha Games. A Piranha Games rep declined to comment on the matter, but confirmed that the studio still holds the publishing rights to the Mechwarrior franchise, which it acquired in full last year following its split from former Mechwarrior Online partner Infinite Game Publishing last year.
It might not mean anything—but then again, it might. We've reached out to Harebrained Schemes for comment, and will update if and when we receive a reply.
Update: Unsurprisingly, Harebrained has also declined to comment. "We aren't prepared to talk about anything right now," a rep said, "but we are excited about the future and the chance to bring another one of Jordan's classic IPs into Harebrained Schemes where we can give it the love and care we've given to Shadowrun."
Last week I ran the first half of an interview with three-time Kickstarter winners Harebrained Schemes, in which they fielded my own questions about their upcoming cyberpunk-with-magic RPG sequel Shadowrun: Hong Kong. This time, they’re fielding your questions – including what they’ve got planned for the future of the series, cyberpunk’s Asian influences, how the stories are becoming increasingly less linear, avoiding Eastern stereotypes with the new setting, and improving the game’s pace.
Oh, and at the time writing the Shadowrun Hong Kong Kickstarter has now brought in $750,000. They’d asked for $100,000. They’ve now unlocked 12 stretch goals, and promise an additional mini-campaign if they hit $1 million. There are still 19 days to go. *blinks*. … [visit site to read more]
Having people constantly throwing money at you must be awful. It's never happened to me, thank GOD, but if it did I imagine I'd be spending my time slumped on my couch—one outstretched arm shading my forehead from the weight of all that cash.
Some people are forced to live this terrible life. For instance, Harebrained Schemes, who went to Kickstarter to ask for $100,000 with which to create a new Shadowrun game. Called Shadowrun: Hong Kong, the game raised its total within two hours. Now they're up to $690,000 and people keep giving them money. Nightmare.
Fortunately, there were stretch goals in play, adding new characters, new sidequests and expanded systems. Those stretch goals stop at $700,000—a total that will almost certainly be met before the campaign's 22 remaining days are up.
What happens after that? What happens at $1 million? In a new update, the team explains exactly what.
The answer, simply, is that the game will get a secondary Shadows of Hong Kong Mini-Campaign set after the events of the main game. This extra will provide around four to five hours of additional story, and will let players import their Shadowrun: Hong Kong character.
"The Shadows of Hong Kong Mini-Campaign will come out sometime before the end of 2015," explains Harebrained, "and will be free to Backers at the $15 pledge level and up."
Shadowrun: Hong Kong itself is due out mid-2015.
Shadowrun just keeps on returning. The cyberpunk RPG has has various game adaptations over the last few decades, but it was the Kickstarted Shadowrun Returns which most nailed the concept. Narrative and choice expanded in excellent follow-up campaign Dragonfall, which then saw a further improved Director’s Cut, and after all that devs Harebrained Schemes had a loyal enough fanbase to pull off their third successful Kickstarter, even in an age where there’s a lot of worried muttering about the future of crowd-funding for games. No such worries for Harebrained co-founders Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman, whose upcoming Shadowrun: Hong Kong was funded in less than two hours and now has over $600k pledged – six times> what they’d asked for. Blimey.
Earlier this week, I talked to the pair about why they went back to the Kickstarter well, what they’re doing differently this time, how they’ve been able to make story an increased focus, what the community’s up to with the Shadowrun editor and being sent free pizza. … [visit site to read more]
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. But they weren’t talking about one studio being able to pull off multiple successful Kickstarters when they said that, so it’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that Harebrained Schemes join the likes of Double Fine and inXile in getting a second [edit – third, in fact: they also had Golem Arcana, which I think makes them the crowdfunding leader?] game crowd-funded into existence. There’s lots of anxiety flying around about the Kickstarter era of videogame development winding down, but Shadowrun: Hong Kong flew in the face of doomsaying by getting itself funded within hours of the campaign launching. … [visit site to read more]
Shadowrun is returning. Again! I’ve already covered the basics of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Harebrained Schemes’ next step into the world of fantastical cyberpunk, but the Kickstarter has just gone live so there are plenty of details to wrap that bundle of wires you call a brain around. The video below contains the first glimpse of the game’s isometric interpretation of the setting, unless you count the concept art above, in which case it’s your second> glimpse. After the great success of Dragonfall, I’m eager to take another trip into this particular vision of our electronic future.