Our Tuesday Kickstarter update generated many questions, particularly concerning the Steam vs. DRM-Free versions of the game. As we said, we wanted to wait until today to allow time for everyone’s questions and feedback to bubble up so we could write another update to address as many as we can, in one place.
You funded this project because you saw something in our Kickstarter that resonated with you personally and made you want to be a part of it. Backers pledged more than financial support - you invested your belief in our ideas and gave us your trust that we would do what we said we would. We take that trust very seriously and are doing our best to be worthy of it.
With your support, we will always do our best to fix problems or concerns that arise, with the understanding that some of the issues we must deal with may not always appear obvious to the community. We will endeavor to communicate such things more clearly and promptly to you, our Backers, whenever it is possible for us to do so.
So let’s start here: We clearly left some critical information too vague, which resulted in some bad feelings and speculation. We are sorry about that and we’re going to fix that poor communication right now.
- To reiterate, our Backers don’t have to choose a DRM-free version of the game or a Steam version of the game. You get both.
- Backers who want a DRM-free experience with Shadowrun Returns (on Windows, OSX, and Linux) are getting the game, editor and all, and will be able to transfer community-created story files and update executables manually. (It works just like a non-Steam version of Skyrim: you can install mods manually or via a 3rd-party tool such as Nexus.) The DRM-free version will not require any internet connection or any form of online authorization to play. In addition, Backers who like the convenience and reliability of Steam and who want automatic updates, easy-to-browse content, and a DLC store are getting them.
- We said that post-Berlin Campaign DLC would only be available on Steam but we never said why. We regret the omission. The reason is that our license to develop Shadowrun Returns actually requires that the game and its DLC be distributed under DRM. This didn’t come up earlier because the situation was complicated by the number of parties involved in the license and because the process was “ongoing”. Ultimately, we were able to successfully negotiate an exception with Microsoft for us to provide our Backers with a DRM-free version of the Kickstarter rewards (specifically the game and the Berlin Campaign) but that exception does not extend to non-reward DLC. So unfortunately, we cannot sell or give away DRM-free versions of the game or DLC on stores like GoG, and that’s why any future Shadowrun Returns DLC will only be available for purchase on Steam.
- We will be updating/bugfixing the DRM-free versions (Windows, OSX, and Linux) of Shadowrun Returns, maintaining them along with the Steam versions. These updates will require Backers to re-download the game from the Harebrained Account Website, since it will not include auto-patching functionality.
To sum it all up. . .
We hope you’ll see that we’re doing our best to listen to and address the issues you’ve raised. However, if after reading this update, you are still unhappy, we’d like to talk to you about it to see if we can address your concerns. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Again, it is a privilege to have the opportunity make Shadowrun Returns and we appreciate all the support you’ve given us.
Important Note about the Harebrained Account Website Mails
For Backers waiting for emails containing a link and password to the Harebrained Account Website-- the emails are still being sent in batches in no particular order, so please be patient. We’ll drop another quick update when they’re done. Also, if you know that the Kickstarter or PayPal emails you used to Back us are no longer active or have changed somehow, please write to email@example.com immediately using the proper email address.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:
I’m a $125 Backer (or above) and was promised a DRM-free download of the game, a copy on disc (in the boxed edition) and a copy on the USB dog tags. With this change, how many copies will I get?
You’ll get a DRM-free download, a DRM-free copy on disc, three Steam keys for the game and three Steam keys for Berlin.
Will the DRM-free version always be available to Backers through the website?
Always is a mighty long time but yes, that’s our intention.
Once it is available, will the DRM-free version of the Berlin Campaign always be available to Backers through the website?
Will the DRM-free version & Berlin Campaign be a downloadable executable that does not require internet to install?
What version of the game will come in the Backer’s boxed version?
The disc in the Kickstarter Deluxe Box Edition will contain the DRM-free version of Shadowrun Returns.
What version of the game will Pre-order people get?
All pre-order versions get a Steam key.
How will pre-order people get the digital version of the Shadowrun Returns Anthology and Soundtrack?
Pre-order folk will get a mail from us giving them a link and password to the Harebrained Account Website, so they can download their goodies.
Can we manually share community-created content from the DRM-free version to the Steam version and vice-versa?
We haven’t finished Steam integration yet, but that is our goal. However, in the future, if a GM decides to use a Steam-only DLC in his or her story, that story would then only be usable in the Steam version because of this dependency.
Will the Steam version be playable offline?
Short answer: yes (though it still requires having Steam running on your computer). Here’s a link that explains how offline mode works with Steam: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=3160-agcb-2555
Will the Steam version be playable offline after uninstalling Steam? Can the game be moved/copied to another PC without Steam?
No, it will require Steam to run.
Will the desktop version of the game (and future DLC) ever be available through other distribution channels than Steam?
The desktop version will only be available for purchase on Steam at launch. It’s possible, depending on how they handle DLC and community-created content, to find alternate channels after launch. Again, they must support some form of digital rights management, according to our license.
Will people who buy DLC through Steam be able to add it to the DRM-free version?
This appears unlikely, given our DRM restrictions.
Will the Editor be its own separate program?
Yes, but it uses the game to facilitate testing of levels during development, so you'll want to keep them together.
Can we manually share save data between different computers?
Can we manually share save data between different versions of the game?
Mostly. We’ll obviously make every effort to ensure save data for our own stories remains compatible as bug fixes are released, but unfortunately we have a pretty tricky situation with regard to community-created content. Because we’re putting the Editor directly in your hands, we can’t guarantee that player-GMs will create content in a way that preserves and works with existing save data robustly and remains compatible.
Also, we do intend to allow save games from the PC version to be playable on the Mac or Linux versions (or vice versa). For instance, play on your PC at work (not that we’d condone that of course!) and then continue playing on your Mac at home. We do not, however, plan on officially supporting save game data across desktop and tablet versions of the game.
Why are you doing DLC on launch?
We’re not. All DLC will be released after launch.
Why not manufacture the dog tags now and load them with the game when its done?
To be clear, our manufacturer isn’t waiting until the game is done. Manufacturing began some time ago. But they need to ship the finished dog tags back to the U.S. before the game is done and they will arrive just in time to be shipped out with all the other rewards.
So will there be anything on the dog tags or will they be blank?
Unfortunately, due to the timing issues and the cost, they’ll be blank and ready for 8GB of whatever you’d like to put there.
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We hope we’ve answered your most pressing questions and that we haven’t missed anything major. We’ll put together an extensive FAQ about the game and put it on our website ASAP.