For anyone that doesn’t know Harebrained Schemes Kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun: Hong Kong is now live. This will be the third Shadowrun game from the indie developer following Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut, for my thoughts on the last Shadowrun game then go here (TLDR it’s excellent).
Whilst the first two games were born of a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign which raised over $1.8 million, utterly smashing their target of $400,000 into pieces, this campaign is a little different.
This time around Jordan Weisman and the crew at Harebrained Schemes had Shadowrun: Hong Kong all planned out and ready to be delivered but like any indie outfit they have more ideas than budget and that’s where Kickstarter comes in.
As well as a new setting of Hong Kong 2056 which features a culture that is steeped in “guanxi” – a network of influence and relationships based upon a combination of social status, and prestige – this new game features an all new gang of Runners to join you on runs through the shadows: Gobbet a street shaman, Duncan a security specialist and Is0bel a Dwarf decker. Other additional characters were set to be added to the roster if the funds were raised including Rachter, a Russian rigger with a custom drone and Gaichu. Gaichu seems like the most immediately interesting of the crew, a former member of the Renraku Corporation’s elite Red Samurai security force. He was infected with the Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus (HMHVV) on a mission gone wrong, forced to abandon his pure-human unit as the virus slowly twisted him into a ghoul he is now a shadowrunner.
The law of diminishing returns dictates that people will be less interested in this campaign, the target for Shadowrun: Hong Kong was $100,000 and that was smashed in two hours. The current total sits at over $455,000 and that’s with 32 days to go.
Harebrained Schemes have a solid setting for their game, a world of Cyberpunk meets fantasy Shadowrun recently celebrated its 25th anniversay, more than that though they have the man that created it heading up the team. Along with the setting they have a solid game engine to build from and demonstrated a talent for engrossing writing and characterisation with Dragonfall.
The Shadowrun games have been a brilliant example of how games don’t have to be visually flashy to be engrossing, often it’s the opposite. Harebrained Schemes have carved out a niche here for games that feel like you’re playing an interactive novel of sorts in the best way. There’s a lot to be said for letting players imagine what characters sound like for example, which ties into the pen and paper aspect of the source material.
You can get a copy of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, soundtracks to all three games featuring the excellent music of composer Jon Everist and wallpapers for $15, which works out just under £10, if that isn’t value for money then I don’t know what it is. Value for money underscores the whole crowdfunding process, if rewards don’t seem worth the amount required then people won’t back your project simply put.
Check out the video below and visit Shadowrun:Hong Kong for more info