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Robert Lashley: Shadowrun: Hong Kong Defies KickStarter Fatigue

By Robert Lashley on January 15, 2015 | Columns | Comments

Shadowrun: Hong Kong Defies KickStarter Fatigue

Like many of you I’m suffering from Kickstarter fatigue. I’m even starting to grow weary of writing about it. Even new IPs from well renowned developers fail to raise my pulse if they are seeking money from players first and plan on delivering a product second. Crowdfunding is definitely a viable financing option for developers, however, and a highly successful developer has gone back to the Kickstarter well. Harebrained Schemes is looking to their fans to help expand upon their planned third Shadowrun game Hong Kong.

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Before the turn of the new year Harebrained Schemes teased they had something to announce in early January. Turns out that was the new Kickstarter campaign they have launched in support of Shadowrun Hong Kong. This Kickstarter campaign is a little different from their previous one. The game’s development is not entirely dependent on the Kickstarter being successful. This time Harebrained is seeking more money to enhance the game, not make it. “We’ve already begun development of the Hong Kong game,” said Mitch Gitelman, co-founder of Harebrained Schemes and Executive  Producer of Shadowrun. “We’re self-funding the first 12 hours of gameplay at the quality level of Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director’s Cut. But we have plenty of ideas for features and runs that didn’t fit into our budget. We love Kickstarter and we think there’s no better co-funding partner than our fans to help us take our game to the next level.” The game is already in development with a planned release in mid 2015. Within two hours the campaign reached its first funding goal and before the end of the day it had reached its third stretch goal.

Shadowrun Returns took place in Seattle and Dragonfall was set in Berlin. This new entry will take place, as the name implies, in the Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone. While Seattle had some obvious Japanese influences on its culture, Hong Kong will have even deeper Asian influences and more cutting edge technology. This entry will have over 200 weapons and spells for players. Triads, tongs, and gangs will all stand in your way. Unique to this campaign is guanxi, a network of influence and relationships based upon your social status, and prestige. Better start brushing up on your runner etiquette before the drek hits the fan chummer.

Hong Kong will also focus more on your crew and less on your main character much like Dragonfall. While you will be able to design your player character from scratch you will get to choose special abilities for your team members on their Growth Tracks. This allows you to make a well-rounded team with complementary abilities to your own.

If you are wondering what the additional bonuses Mitch was talking about adding with Kickstarter money here is a brief rundown on them:

Enhanced Player Controls: Item swapping between party members. A spread range indicator for shotguns and sweeping melee attacks. A toggle that allows you to position your team before they enter combat. To be honest I’m less than impressed by these.

Animatic Scene Transitions: Short animated slide shows with voice narration that play at key points in the story. I’m more excited about these than the enhanced player controls.

Racter joins your team of runners: This is a rigger character that can join the party. Has been funded. Hopefully we will get more.

More Animatic endings:  Multiple animatic endings for the game. This goal has also been reached.

Gobbet’s personal side mission: If Harebrained can come up with an additional 50k in the next 30 days (and I have a feeling they will) this stretch goal will actually provide players with some additional content. Gobbet is your Rat Shaman team member and this will be her back story mission so you can get to know her a bit better.

After $300,000 we are only left with question marks. Since the first Shadowrun campaign was such a success, and the game definitely delivered on its promises, I have a suspicion the team over at Harebrained better get working on updates to their stretch goals. I can see this one reaching $500,000 easy.


More Articles on Shadowrun:

Shadowrun Dragonfall: Director’s Cut review

Pathfinder Online: Early Access First Look

Robert Lashley / Rob is a Staff Writer and jack of all trades for MMORPG.com. When he isn’t blinding people with the glare from his head in front of a camera you can chase him down on Twitter, PSN, XBL, and Nintendo @rant_on_rob.