Share this project


Share this project

Shadowrun Returns brings back one of our most original & cherished game settings as a 2D turn-based RPG for tablets & PC.
Shadowrun Returns brings back one of our most original & cherished game settings as a 2D turn-based RPG for tablets & PC.
Shadowrun Returns brings back one of our most original & cherished game settings as a 2D turn-based RPG for tablets & PC.
36,276 backers pledged $1,836,447 to help bring this project to life.

We're Thankful for YOU.

Mitch here. Hi!

It’s Thanksgiving time at Harebrained Schemes, and guess what we’re thankful for? 

1) First and foremost, we’re thankful for our Backers who believed in the project when it was just an idea. You truly rule. 

2) We’re thankful for and the platform that allowed our little indie studio to find an awesome audience. It was the ticket for one helluva ride. 

3) And, of course, we’re thankful for the chance to bring Shadowrun back. It’s a world that deserves to be inhabited and we’re excited to be working on it! 

As you probably know, we released a bunch of images and information around PAX in early September and we’ve made a few Q&A videos to answer your most pressing gameplay questions since then. But mostly, we’ve been heads down making the game and haven’t really come up for air to check in with you and let you know what’s going on with the project itself. 

So, as another way of thanksgiving, today we’re going to start sharing some deeper “developer diary” kind of information so everyone can hear how the project’s going, where we are in the process, what’s making us tear our hair out/whoop with joy. . . that sort of thing. 

Here's Sally and me whooping with joy/ being general attention-seekers.

Because I’m overseeing production and have my fingers in just about everything, we thought I should go first. 

This first one will be a little long, since it’s an overview of the whole deal. In the future, team members from different disciplines will jump in and talk about what they do so you can get to know them, too. (After all, there’s only so much Jordan and Mitch one can take.) 

Okay, so where do we start? Since I’m a producer, probably schedule. 

As we announced a few months ago, we’ve backed off our original delivery date of January 2013. It might’ve worked for the scope of the game we originally envisioned but as our ambitions (read that “features list”) grew, so did the time we needed to deliver! Plus, we made a big move from our original top down camera to an isometric point of view and that took serious R&D time. Right now, according to our estimates, we’re looking at May or June. 

We’ve spent the majority of our time getting our game engine, art pipeline and base gameplay up and running and we’ve covered a lot of ground to get a lot of systems in place. Our engineering team has been crunching off and on for months to maximize the amount of time our designers will have to create our story. 

Here's one of our designers now! Mike Mulvihill, designing away. 

After many late nights for many weeks, we adjusted our start times to 8am so that people gain more focused time before lunch and more time with their families at night. The results are very promising (although coffee consumption has gone up). Our first big milestone was our gameplay prototype. It was called “Run ‘n’ Gun,” and the goal was to test our development tools and create a firm foundation to build the rest of our gameplay upon. 

We built a secret lab environment, populated it with Lone Star guards and played a team of shadowrunners trying to steal some tissue samples. Run ‘n’ Gun exercised our combat interface, artificial intelligence, animation system, and editor. Everyone contributed. Since then it’s been iteration, iteration, iteration with everyone playing the game first thing in the morning and noting the things that needed to change. 

Based on the team’s feedback, we redesigned our first-draft combat interface, and the second-draft works much smoother. We’re going to play with it for a few weeks and keep a running list of the team’s feedback before making further revisions. We’ve also revised and debugged our base combat AI so they choose the right weapons (watch out for the grenades), use cover appropriately, reload, use medkits, attack aggressively or become cowardly, and respond to gunshots or calls for help. It’s taken awhile but they’re fun to fight with just guns, fists, and swords. Once NPCs start using tech and magic, things are going to really get crazy. 

After many weeks of hardcore debugging, iterating, and reworking, we’re happy to say that we’ve “found the fun”. We’re happy with Run ‘n’ Gun and feel confident that we’re building the rest of the game on a solid foundation. Beyond all the design meetings and system writeups, our designers have created more than a dozen additional scenarios that exercise the editor, the AI, the interface, the combat systems, and our skill as players. And they did it without the use of our extensive trigger system which is just now being implemented. It’s sort of a spiritual successor to the trigger system we used on Crimson: Steam Pirates and a very powerful, flexible tool for our designers (and with some time and patience, you too). 

Here's Jordan, testing your patience.

BTW, while all of this was going on, we hired a small team of character artists, several engineers, a designer, some awesome interns, and moved into a bigger space with running water! Finding the right people to add to the team took a lot of work but we’re happy to say it still feels harebrained around here. 

Okay, that puts us about halfway through development. Next up, we’re going to town on all of the magic and tech-based abilities that make Shadowrun, Shadowrun. We’ll also work on our conversation system and start putting story into the game. Oh, and on the story front, we’ve come a long way but there’s plenty more to do. The story is very Shadowrun (and very Weisman) and thus quite complex. The team is really happy with it, which is awesome. Who wants to work on a story game when you don’t like the story? 

We’ve got plenty of challenges to overcome between now and release (like figuring out how long it takes to make a fun mission for a party with a wide range of combat, decking, rigging, and spellcasting abilities) so it’s going to be (more) nose to the grindstone! Along with all the progress and fun, there’s the harsh reality of production. I wish I wasn’t the “scope cop” but that’s the job. We need to continuously revise our scope and feature list to stay within our budget, focusing on the things that are core the Shadowrun game we want to make and that you supported. 

Unfortunately, one of the features we talked about on Kickstarter and at PAX didn’t make the cut: the ability to recruit your friends’ characters into your game. It’s a good social feature and it pains us to cut it, but it isn’t core to the fun of creating your own character and having a great Shadowrun experience. These are some of the roughest parts of game development, when time and budget demand tough choices and features you love don’t make it in. And we know from experience that we need to keep our knives sharp and and ready to trim when necessary to focus on quality over quantity and ensure that Shadowrun is as good as we can possibly make it in the time we have. 

Nevertheless, the team is pumped and focused and pushing hard on the next phase. It’s going to be really exciting to see shamans summoning spirits, deckers hacking into security systems, and all the rest of the great features we have planned. Plus, we know that the best part of the project is still ahead for us--when we’re experiencing the story and polishing the game to really make it shine. And we can’t wait to see the stories and shadowruns you create with the Shadowrun editor! I have the feeling you’re going to blow us away. 

Okay, that’s it for this grizzled producer. 

Have a happy and safe holiday and we’ll work on a nice fireside chat video with Jordan to end the year.

And seriously, thank you. We think of you all the time and appreciate knowing you’re out there supporting our work. 

It means a lot. 



Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Peter Jacob on

      What @Antti said. That cyber turkey needs to be in the game somewhere, even if only something humble like a mock movie poster in the background. Could be like "Gobbling Justice: This Thanksgiving, he's coming back for an extra helping of revenge! Be thankful for the time you have left! -(release date) "

    2. Victor on

      Always glad to hear you guys :)

    3. Antti Vainionpää on

      I hope that awesome turkey will be in the game!

    4. Darklord on

      Nice one, sounds like it's all going well, can't wait! :-D

    5. Orakio Rob on

      Excellent update, and excellent news. It really seems like you guys are in the right mood, and I bet this game will kick ass!

    6. Patricia on

      Love the update & thank you again so very much for all the hard work you're throwing into this!!!
      I'm glad to see you've extended that delivery date - it was utterly impossible to keep that deadline when so much was added to the original idea for the game. Looking forward to the next update :)

    7. Otto T M Tormented Ninja of the O-Order on

      This was a really great update, lots of information and insight. I hope that you are able to keep doing these updates without it interfering with the game development. I heard about Shadowrun many years ago from a good friend but have never been able to play Shaodwrun PnP style so I am really looking forward to the game and hope that you are able to make the best game you can!

      Best regards from Sweden.

    8. Charles Wright on

      I'm not going to lie, the adult in me understand why you couldn't add the recruitment feature of the game, but the Chummer in me is still quite upset! I think that was the main feature I was looking forward to the most and something you don't see in a lot of games! Ah well...still looking forward to seeing what this games bring. At least there is still the editor that you can share with the community...

    9. Thomas B Armstrong on

      HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone!!!! hope you all have a wonderful Tday tomorrow!!! oh and thanks for the update. can hardly wait!!!!!!!!!!

    10. Wayne F Newton on

      Cheers for the comments and have a great thanksgiving from Tyne-Sprawl

    11. Nicholas Sylvain on

      Thanks for the update! Looking forward to more of this :)

    12. Missing avatar

      Erick on

      Thank YOU, Mitch. Glad to see a new update!

    13. Torment- The Enduring Exile on

      You guys pushed the released date 5-6 months away. Essentially you've doubled dev time.

      I'm OK with that, despite feeling like I backed something that was supposed to be released in January.

      Have you considered a beta a few months before for backers? Lots of other projects did this via Steam.

    14. Missing avatar

      Roderick Mitchell on

      I'm sad that a feature I was really looking forward to didn't make the final cut, but I can appreciate the fact that you're trying to deliver on a core experience that you promised. Recruiting friends was very nifty, but not central to the game you are trying to make.

      Thank you everyone at Harebrained for working on this game and I hope you have some wonderful holidays!

    15. Rylock on

      41 backed projects and you guys have the best updates. You people are awesome.

    16. Ber on

      Awesome update, thanks. Take all the time you need developing it (and have money available to fund I guess!).

      Shame about losing the ability to import friends characters, but I'm not fussed. Maybe it can be added later? (or not!). I'm interested though - was it cut simply because it would take some work and was not core to the game, or because there was some significant complexity to it that presented a technical roadblock?

    17. Christian Blackburn on

      Great update! Cannot wait to get into the Shadowrun many crazy scenarios to replicate!