Harebrained Schemes sent out a launch trailer for their tactical RPG Shadowrun Returns this morning. The game will debut on PC and Mac through Steam in exactly one week.
Shadowrun Returns takes place in the year 2054. In this vision of the future, magic has returned to the world. Creatures of fantasy like dragons, trolls and orks now walk the Earth. Mages and shaman can wield powerful spells.
Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds as well. People across the world can directly connect their mind to a new computer network called the Matrix. They can also upgrade their bodies with mechanical augmentations called cyberware.
This future is also marked by the rise of megacorporations. These companies are as powerful as nations and command their own private armies. Players take on the role of shadowrunners, mercenaries who perform the dirty work for these corporations as well as governments, crime organizations and anyone else who can pay their salaries.
I've always considered Shadowrun one of the most interesting pen-and-paper RPG settings in existence. The mixture of fantasy and cyberpunk, coupled with the extensive back-story developed over decades, provides almost unlimited story potential. We haven't seen a proper video game adaptation since the days of SNES and Genesis so I'm excited about Returns.
Shadowrun Returns features turn-based combat like XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Players will control a small team of Shadowrunners and guide them through missions. These characters play many of the iconic roles from the pen-and-paper game. They can sling fireballs as a combat mage, enter the Matrix as a decker, wield a small arsenal as a street samurai, and more. As the player finishes missions, they'll be able to upgrade their main character with new skills, implants and more.
The game will also be shipping with a mission editor so that players can craft their own stories. The entire campaign of the game will be viewable in the editor so that you can see how Harebrained Schemes built every aspect. You can share your missions and download others' creations through the Steam Workshop.
Harebrained Schemes funded Shadowrun Returns through a Kickstarter campaign last spring. They sought $400,000 from backers and ended up earning close to $2 million. These extra funds allowed them to add Berlin to the game in addition to the central setting of Seattle. Linux and mobile ports were also greenlit as a result.
The flipside to a successful Kickstarter campaign is heightened expectations. Gamers forked over a lot of money to make this game happen. Hopefully Returns will be worthy of that investment.
Returns will launch on PC and Mac on July 25th. It's available in a $20 standard edition or a $35 deluxe edition, the latter of which offers a short story anthology and soundtrack. If you pre-purchase either edition, you'll be able to shave 10% off the full price.