In April 2012, an indie game company called Harebrained Schemes launched a Kickstarter for a video game called Shadowrun Returns. The project promised to bring back the Shadowrun franchise to gaming, complete with an old-school isometric view and tactical, turn-based combat. The campaign quickly blew past its $400,000 goal, and ended up raising over $1.8 million.
The Kickstarter is one of several over the past year to raise millions for a niche video game. It is now one of the first of those Kickstarted games to be released.
Shadowrun Returns is available today on PC via Steam, and has received generally good reviews. The game’s launch trailer gives a good overview of both its dystopian setting and its gameplay:
More than just a reboot of a classic cyberpunk RPG, the game is a proof-of-concept for the Kickstarter funding model. In a blog post this week, Shadowrun designer Jordan Weisman and Harebrained Schemes this week thanked all of their Kickstarter supporters, as well as those who closely followed the development of Shadowrun Returns. From Weisman’s blog post:
I want to take a moment to personally thank you again for all your support over the last year or so. It’s been so great hearing from you on the forums, meeting you in person at cons, and eating the bagels and pizza you sent us. It’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget!
In addition to the excitement over the game launch, Harebrained also used the blog post to tease a new Kickstarter project. The new project is for a game titled Golem Arcana, and will begin sometime in August. While the core Shadowrun Returns developers will continue to work on that game, a segment of Harebrained will be splitting off to work on Golem Arcana, which Weisman envisions as a half-tablet, half-tabletop game complete with miniatures and a special stylus.