This week we have another level concept for you. It is the “other end of the scale” so to speak. From the orderly, controlled and life-affirming atmosphere of the Aztec Lab we are diving right into a busy market street. Well actually it is a deserted market street, but you get the idea. Making a place busy is actually quite the headache if you don’t have a hundred characters running around (which would kill performance quickly and be very irritating in turn-based mode). This is why we experimented a lot with “noise” – things that make the scene look lively, but don’t interfere with the action. There’s the monorail line, which will have an actual monorail pass by at certain intervals as well as a lot of neon signs, which will be flashing and blinking in the best epilepsy-inducing frequencies we can find. The walled off area to the right which has market stalls and winding passageways also makes the scene feel a lot more active and lived-in, not to mention that this is where they sell the best ratburger in town!
At the same time we need to keep the actual movement and combat area clearer and cleaner with regards to cover, so your tactical choices are more apparent. The main challenge was the “eternal twilight/night” setting, so closely connected to the famous references we all envision when we talk about cyberpunk. The main challenge here was to make it feel like a night in the seedy underbelly of town, while keeping the contrast levels high enough so that your characters still stand out – in our city the neon sun must shine on all creations! I for one think it came out great and can’t wait to have my characters face off against some vicious gangers in there!
Speaking of vicious gangers – the first missions that you will be able to play will feature not one but two of Shadowrun’s favorite bad guys: The Ancients and Aztechnology. This is not because we do our enemies alphabetically, by the way.
We did some research on the Azzies, thinking they would be the best defined of corps when it comes to baddies, but it turned out there isn’t that much visual material around. So we took a step back and tried to create a complete concept for their entire corporate force - from the security guy in lobby of the office building to elite troops such as the famous warrior orders. We enlisted some help from famous Shadowrun artist AAS to keep us on the correct path. He has been incredibly supportive of the project since the beginning and after a few modifications gave us a thumbs up for the Azzie forces! We ran them by our friends at Catalyst as well and it is pretty exciting to see how our vision of things influences the Shadowrun Universe! It is great to see we can give something back to the 6th world after all the great stories, gameplay ideas and settings it has given us.
These are internal concepts for our 3D artists to work from, but it shows you a bit about the range of enemies you will encounter. Let us know what you think!
Hope you like what you saw and we will see you in the Shadows real soon.