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Shadowrun Returns Launches Today

"Watch your back, shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon."
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

Elves. Cyberware. Magic. Hacking. Huge guns, street samurai, and dragons. Shadowrun is the ultimate crossover of fantasy and science fiction, set in the far flung future in a world that underwent an apocalyptic transformation. When magic came surging back into the world, it transformed the earth, awoke ancient creatures, and mutated some of the population into “metahumans” resembling the dwarves, elves, orcs and trolls of lore. Today, Shadowrun Returns brings one of the best settings anywhere back to gaming for the first time since the lackluster multiplayer shooter of 2007.

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The project is really a love letter to the SNES and Genesis Shadwowrun games, which unlike the more recent shooter were fully-featured RPGs that drew inspiration heavily from the pen and paper game. Shadowrun Returns is the product of a successful Kickstarter and has been in development at Harebrained Schemes Studios since March of last year, under the stewardship of studio leads Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman.

Weisman is the founder of FASA, the publisher that developed the pen and paper Shadowrun RPG, as well as FASA’s video game arm FASA Interactive. In his long tenure in gaming he’s had a hand in the creation of everything from the venerable Mechwarrior tabletop games and their best selling video game counterparts to the I Love Bees ARG developed to promote Halo 2.

Shadowrun Returns is set in the year 2054 in Seattle, and is a tactical turned-based strategy RPG similar to Firaxis’ recent take on XCom. Players control a customizable protagonist and take on quests (runs) from Seattle’s needy, greedy, or corporate elite, often with the aid of other mercenary shadowrunners (who can be hired before each mission).

One of the main features the development team has been promoting is the inclusion with the game of editing tools that players will be able to use to craft their own missions, campaigns, and settings. User-created content promises to massively expand on the core game; there are already examples on YouTube of users granted early access to the editing suite creating interesting new content (one user, for instance, is recreating the campaign from the SNES game in the modern editing tools).

The game launches at 10 AM PDT and will be available on Steam. Both a standard and deluxe edition (that comes bundled with a soundtrack and anthology of Shadowrun fiction) are available. More information is available on Harebrained’s website.

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Alan Bradley
Getting played by video games since the '80s. Host of the Pictures Changing Podcast ( and notorious raconteur.