Feature

Shadowrun

The Once And Future Future

The creator of Shadowrun’s dark near-future world looks to reboot the past.

By Drew Toal • January 23, 2013

“When a story or game or movie goes out into the world and it becomes owned by its audience emotionally, it doesn’t give the creator free license to go and fuck with our memories, right?” We were talking about Star Wars, but Shadowrun creator Jordan Weisman sees George Lucas’s blasphemous adaptation of his own work as a cautionary tale for his own current reboot project, Shadowrun Returns.

Shadowrun is a pen-and-paper role-playing game developed in 1989 by Weisman’s studio, FASA. Conceived in the spiritual cyberpunk vein of William Gibson’s seminal science-fiction novel Neuromancer and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the game was originally set in the near future (circa 2050), a future where giant corporations run the show (I know, pretty far-fetched), and cybernetic implants are the norm. The big catch is, owing to Mayan prophecy, magic has reentered the world, and many humans—by birth or mutation—change into trolls, elves, dwarves, and other familiar species from the Tolkien petting zoo. Shadowrunners are untrackable specialists who use their augmented skills to wage covert espionage between the larger corporate and governmental entities.

Shadowrun

After 15 years away from his nth-degree fantasy capitalist dystopia, Weisman decided to return. In 2012, his new studio, Harebrained Schemes, launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund a new Shadowrun game for tablets and PCs. The original goal was set at $400,000, but by the time it was complete, Weisman et al. had raised $1,836,447, from 36,276 different backers. As the coffers filled, so did the project’s ambitions: “The audience funded the project at five times what our original ask was, but our original vision was much smaller. The audience response really allowed us to open up the floodgates a lot larger,” Weisman said.

But why reboot Shadowrun now? And why use Kickstarter instead of a more traditional route? Well, for one, corporate shenanigans don’t just occur in noir-ish mega-cities. The Shadowrun license was purchased by Microsoft in 1999, resulting in not much more than an intriguing but disappointing 2007 multiplayer shooter for the Xbox 360. While the game’s premise does lend itself to a bullets-and-magic kill-for-all, the 2007 iteration lacked a single-player mode or any semblance of a story—the lifeblood of any world originally conceived as a role-playing game.

To find a true Shadowrun experience, you have to go back to 1993 and the relatively unknown gem of a Super Nintendo title. “It’s something we’ve been trying to get off the ground for a long time,” Weisman said. “The property kind of got left in the vault at Microsoft, and so a number of years ago, I was able to work out a license with them to allow me to do projects and work in these worlds again. I took Shadowrun out to publishers and explained the kind of game vision we wanted to do, but we just didn’t find a receptive audience. Today’s publisher world is very focused on huge titles that are 20 or 30 million dollars or more. No one really wanted to invest in that property, which they couldn’t own because Microsoft owned it.”

The Super Nintendo title is a kind of spiritual antecedent for Weisman’s vision. In that game, you play an amnesiac data courier named Jake Armitage who must discover secrets of his identity and past, all while avoiding the trained assassins on his tail. (You can’t really like his chances, as the game starts with him on a gurney in a morgue.) There isn’t a ton of wiggle room in how you could approach the game—Armitage was your only playable option—and it perhaps wasn’t as dark as the traditional setting suggests it should be. But on the whole, it was faithful to the spirit of the original title, and it was even mentioned in a 2002 GameSpot list of notable games that should be remade. While Weisman isn’t remaking that particular title, Shadowrun Returns will contain the genetic material—and possibly some of the characters—of its predecessors on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

Shadowrun

One of the big hurdles to rebooting a game like this is the fact that the near future looks a lot different now than it did in 1989 or 1993. “Any time you’re playing the futurist, you know you’re ultimately bound to screw up,” Weisman admits. “2050 seemed farther away in the ’80s than it does now.” The original Shadowrun was developed during the dawn of the internet, and the game’s version of the World Wide Web is known as the “Matrix.” Hackers (known in the game as “deckers”) use cyberdecks and cybernetic datajack implants to access the world’s data streams, gleaning intel and causing all sorts of mischief. Much of it seems quaint now, and the Shadowrun canon has evolved to account for real-world technological advances.

There was some internal debate at Harebrained Schemes as to how much Shadowrun Returns should stay true to the past history of the future. Ultimately, Weisman and his team opted for faithfulness, rather than projecting again from here into an updated fictional future. Weisman said that the fans “really want that kind of original vision, and that original kind of futurist view from that perspective. The only thing I’ve done is in some places where stuff is too jarring, we kind of sawed off a little of the edges there, to make sure that its accessible to an audience that didn’t have that history of the old property. But for the most part we’ve kept it pretty true to what that future vision was 24 years ago.”

There’s no real telling how this devotion to an antiquated future will play with the portion of the targeted audience that has no prior exposure to the game. For younger players, references to a “Matrix” might jog memories of a classic movie enjoyed by their parents, but the idea of a pre-internet internet might make their Gangnam-saturated brains explode. Then again, the urban samurai-for-hire is as timeless a theme as you could want, and the game—in theory, anyway—aims to be more than just an opportunity for longtime fans to relive their past gaming lives.

Shadowrun Returns promises to be a turn-based, character-driven affair. Unlike the Super Nintendo title, players will be able to generate their own characters from a variety of classic Shadowrun archetypes, each of which will interact with the world in a different way. A mage, for instance, will see ephemeral auras around people, while the street samurai will glean real-time, actionable information—who is packing an Ares Predator under her jacket, locations of immediate environmental threats. The decker will see things through the digital lens of the Matrix. As Weisman puts it, “This is a very kind of tactical game, where you’re spending action points, really working the combat out and finding out how to take out that troll with the right combination of a fireball and a hand grenade and a burst from an Uzi.” But unlike the half-aborted failure of the 2007 game, Shadowrun Returns will rely less on shooting and more on story.

Shadowrun

And it’s not just the developer’s take on that tale. Weisman intends to include tools for players to create their own adventures, supporting characters, dialogue—all hallmarks of pre-internet role-playing games. It’s this element of invention from scratch that has been largely missing in the ongoing translation of pen-and-paper to video game role-playing—the agency to develop original, playable threads in the story. Weisman said that Shadowrun Returns will allow players the same design capabilities that are available to the developers (much like Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet does), which sounds pretty ambitious for a project funded entirely from small donations. But if it works, it could set an important precedent for future small-scale RPGs.

With more games being created outside the gated corporate development community, players are raising the question of how beholden Kickstarter-funded developers should be to their direct investors. “They know this property, they have their own vision of it from their years of reading the books and playing the games, and I can taste a little of the fear that Peter Jackson must have had during the Lord Of The Rings movies,” Weisman said with a nervous laugh. “Obviously, it’s a much smaller-scale property, but it’s the same challenge—trying to bring to life something that’s been in people’s heads—and you just know you can’t get it right for everybody.”

It’s helpful to think of Shadowrun Returns, and other small games like it, in the game’s own terms. The Shadowrunners—in this case, the indie developers and gamers uninterested in formulaic, financially-driven titles—now operate outside of that monolithic corporate sphere, using an evolving array of technology and magic. (Is there any other way to explain nearly $2 million in small donations for a non-existent game?) Working together, these parties should be able to survive, and even thrive, in the dark corners, far beneath the notice of the faceless behemoths waging vicious, mutually destructive economic warfare against one another. Welcome to the future’s past future.

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  • Aurora Boreanaz

    Shadowrun was my second favorite pen and paper RPG, second only to WEG Star Wars, but sadly my gaming group never really had a GM who could do it justice.  That half-assed Microsoft multiplayer shooter was a huge disappointment when it was announced.  (I say again to game studios and Hollywood – If you’re not going to even try to do a licensed property justice with your game or movie, MAKE YOUR OWN IP!)

    I got around to playing the SNES and Genesis games at various times, and both were fantastic in their own ways.

    I donated to this Kickstarter and am super-excited to see the eventual result.  I won’t hold my breath for the “tools to make your own adventures” until I see a system that doesn’t require programming experience, but hopefully at least the campaigns will do the setting justice.

    • Hoosiers_Wai1ress

      The most recent Game Informer had a short article on SRR, with a screenshot or two of the mission editor.  It looked very user-friendly–lots of drop-down menus, full graphical interface, no programming required, I believe.  It looked pretty handy.  I’m too lazy to use it, mind you, but it’s nice that it’s there.

    • wordsampersand

      The WEG Star Wars and Shadowrun (2nd, specifically) were my favorites too, though my preference was flipped from yours. I didn’t really have any pals to game with in high school, though, so I usually only played at conventions. As a result, I really got immersed in the Shadowrun setting — I have a giant box of SR novels from the ’90s that I might try to wade through again at some point this year.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

       Thanks for a really enjoyable feature.  It’s kind of coincidental, because the first I heard of this game was just this previous weekend at a party where a fellow and I were discussing the seemingly renewed vigor in tablet gaming and he cited this very game as an example.  He plays pen and paper Shadowrun with a few of the same people I play Pathfinder with and is excited to see this made.  He mentioned many of the same things discussed here -how Kickstarter can circumvent and defy the exact kind of nonsense that resulted in that malformed and baffling 2007 iteration.
       I’ve never played pen and paper Shadowrun, but played the Super Nes version a-plenty.  It was really unique for the system and did admirably in condensing the various classes into multiple abilities granted to the main character.
       I remember the fantastic score the most, and was pleased to hear that Marshall Parker, the original composer, is apparently going to be doing the music for this.
       So, right on.  Handshakes all around.

    • Hoosiers_Wai1ress

      It’s worth tracking down an emulated version of the Genesis title, too–the Genesis game isn’t mentioned as often as the SNES one but IMO it was closer in tone, look, and mechanics to “real” Shadowrun.  Shadowrun Genesis’ composer is also working on music for SRR… I really enjoy that Harebrained has created these links to the previous games.

      • David White

        Yeah, I never played the pen and paper version, or the Super NES one, but I played the Genesis version constantly. It was easily my favorite Sega Genesis game.

      • Chuk

         Yes, the Genesis one was *way* more fun and more Shadowrunny than the SNES one. Graphics weren’t as fancy though.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/mattman-begins,89632 Mattman Begins

    I always thought the Shadowrun universe was ripe for a Bethesda-does-Fallout style makeover that made the setting come to life and made the corners intriguing to new gamers.  Much like Fallout, there’s the fun sci-fi element of, “this is an alternate future that’s not possible now, but it was once” that’s somewhat rare in gaming.  And can you imagine picking up contracts, sneaking through ultra-high security skyscrapers, even flipping into the astral plane with such a game engine?  Ah, the mind tingles.

    Even $2 million is way short of making that dream possible, though.  But I ain’t complaining.  Hey, I’ll settle for a good story with some variable elements in an interesting location instead.  Weisman’s got a few of those items already in the can just by promising a faithful adaptation. 

    Although I won’t disparage him if he uses some of those Kickstarter funds to replace that agonizing injury system from the pen-and-paper version.  Yes, filling out those little boxes on the character sheet and taking all those penalties was probably more “real-life” than having a pool of hit points where your character is as functional with one H.P. left as he or she is with ninety.  But, heavens to Betsy, that doesn’t mean it’s as enjoyable.  (“Okay, to avoid certain death here, roll fifty-eight six-sided dice.  And you’re looking for five or better onnnnn…fifty-seven of them.”)

    • http://twitter.com/wayfinderer Wayfinder

      The old 1st/2nd (and to a lesser degree 3rd) edition systems were unbelievably painful to play and to run, weren’t they?

      The complete mechanical overhaul in the latest edition took all of that away without sacrificing the flexibility it gave. I really hope that Harebrained Schemes takes their cues from the new design rather than the old; baroque systems can be charming but ultimately are more about the designers and less about the players.

      • wordsampersand

        I don’t disagree with you, Wayfinder, but I just can’t get into 4th edition’s rule set at all. It felt like it did sacrificed a lot of the flavor from the previous three versions. Maybe I didn’t give it a fair shake. 

        Catalyst announced a 5th edition of the game in December, though, so I’m should probably give that a fair shake. 

      • dreadguacamole

          Huh, I’ll need to check out the new version. I adored Shadowrun’s setting and tone, but the rules not only were a bit crap, their sections in the books were some of the most excruciatingly dull bits of reading I did. And this was the opinion of geeky, fourteen-year-old-me; I normally loved that sort of shit.

        • http://twitter.com/wayfinderer Wayfinder

          Agreed; the earlier SR editions’ ruleset had a wonderful central idea but very quickly became infatuated with itself. 

          Also – if you’re into that sort of thing – you’ll be especially delighted when you notice how the writers have subtly linked changes in the ruleset and mechanics to social and technological changes in the game’s setting as future history advances. The game now plays very differently because the world itself now operates differently thanks to advances in technology, thaumertology and social patterns. Kind of like the real world, really.

  • http://twitter.com/wayfinderer Wayfinder

    I found it interesting that Weisman decided to go back to the aesthetics and setting of Shadowrun 1st and 2nd editions (TWO MOHAWKS AND A CYBERDEEEEECK ON THE MATRIX); the 4th edition of the setting (which the article uses art from, strangely) radically advanced things to a much, much more plausible and cool future and lost the cheap 80s veneer without sacrificing the core feeling of the setting. It’s still terrifying and awesome, but very plausibly, thoroughly and even-handedly so. 
    For example, while the “old” vision of the future (2050s) was very much Gibson’s cables-and-chrome the 4th edition included things like ubiqitous augmented reality alongside the full-immersion VR. Recent advances in low-level mesh networking and augmented reality alongside the miniaturisation of computing devices mean we’re likely headed for Shadowrun 4′s world more than a concrete-and-chrome CYBAHHHHPUNK reality. The current setting has really matured well (it’s up to 2073 now), so I suppose Weisman’s decision is more “go with what you know”, since he worked on 1st and 2nd ed.

    • Hoosiers_Wai1ress

      All true.  In addition to those points, the 2070s will be covered by the coming Shadowrun Online browser MMO.

    • http://twitter.com/MikoSquiz Miko the Squiz

      I’d go that way, too. A plausible future is nowhere near as interesting to me as one whose turning we’ve missed in the real world.

    • The_Misanthrope

       Yeah, I do feel like sticking with the retro-futurism is a missed opportunity.  The essence of cyberpunk/post-cyberpunk is the of culture shock–technology advancing faster than society can cope with it–and how we react to it.  It’s not just the aesthetic sense that has become outmoded (mirrorshades are more likely to be seen on an Ed Hardy Tee-wearing douche these days), but it’s also the way we view computers and the internet has radically changed.  These areas are no longer the exclusive stomping ground of the tech subcultures.  The internet (or the Matrix) is no longer a patchwork of fringe elements; Instead, it functions more like a virtual Times Square, an ad-choked hub of activity.

      Still, it looks like a solid game, so I’ll probably pick it up.

      • http://twitter.com/wayfinderer Wayfinder

        It’s funny, actually; one of the darkly salient features of the ubiquitous augmented reality in SR4 is that the average person has absolutely no control over their own “filter bubbles” or saturated advertising they receive, which naturally is exactly as the extraterritorial megacorps want. It’s considered a severe faux pas in the setting to go anywhere with your commlink (think smartphone) set to “hidden”, to the point where you are considered a suspicious person for opting out and may be escorted out of a premises for doing so.

        Basically, living outside the persistent tracking and unbelievably pernicious control that the corporations extended over the ordinary person is enough to deny anyone access to basic civilisation. Sound plausible yet?

    • Bad Horse

      I picked up 4th edition in 2006 and the notion of a “commlink”, a personal information device that did basically everything, seemed pretty farfetched and future-y at the time. Then iphones came.

      We are Google Goggles away from the AR focus of SR4 seeming pretty outdated.

  • Sleverin

    This and Wasteland 2 are games to really look forward to from Kickstarter.  I can’t wait for Wasteland 2, it sounds like it’s going to be great and this game as well sounds interesting.  I love cyberpunk but it’s rarely utilized, or so it seems to me personally.  Between this and stuff like Wasteland/Fallout , with alternate futures, they both have become favorite genres.  I would love more games like these, or tv shows, or something.  I’ve got Snow Crash, Ghost in the Shell for cyberpunk and Fallout for post-apocolyptia, don’t really know much else.

    • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

      I can’t wait for Wasteland 2 as well, I’ve never played the original, but it just sounds cool

      I mean I love Fallout 3 and New Vegas, but I’m also down for another post apocalyptic RPG in the style of the first two Fallouts (which I have played)

  • dreadguacamole

     Out of the pictures included in the article, one of the girls is an orc-lady, and the other seems to have realistic proportions and not a single inch of skin on display.
     Is this what PnP RPG artwork has degenerated into?

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      In MY day, the women all wore bikinis, even in “full” armor, and nobody was ever smaller than a D-cup!  That was the way it was, and we LIKED it!  Now get off my sleep-pod doorstep!

      • HobbesMkii

        I’m letting my digipet cyberpoo on your virtua-grass!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      At this point pen and paper rpg’s are practically geriatric in their sensibilities.
         Thank goodness we have almost every piece of video game concept art ever to carry on the mantle of laughably under-dressed female warriors.
         Well, more of a half-mantle.  A mantle with a heart-shaped cutout over the cleavage. 

    • HobbesMkii

      That’s not true. The indeterminate fanged/elf-eared woman fighting the Cerberus has some cleavage and I can see quite a bit of the elf-lady with the shotgun and flak jacket’s shoulder. Sooo much sexy shoulder.

      • Effigy_Power

        Add an ankle to that and we basically have porn.
        By 1850′s standards.

        • HobbesMkii

          The trouble with 1850s porn is you have to go to a Museum of Fine Art to fap to it.

        • Effigy_Power

          Which they frown upon, let me tell you.

    • Drew Toal

      This seems like the right time for a counterpoint to John Teti’s bikini-killed feuilleton.

      • HobbesMkii

        I’ll help you think up some titles:

        “Ta-da! It’s a pair of Ta-tas (and nothing else)!”
        “Why (It’s Great) Videogames are Crazy for Cleavage”
        “Boobs: We gotta have ‘em”

  • Thisisjosh

    I’m interested in this, but I’m mostly excited for the potential this represents for other table top games, if it succeeds.  I’d like this strategy applied to other properties- D and D, maybe a superhero game? Mutants and masterminds? Dare I hope for someone to try and untangle the horrific knot that is Rifts rules?  admittedly, every sci fi videogame ever is a rifts game in some ways, since rifts never met an influence it didn’t like, but still! still!

    • dreadguacamole

       An Ars Magica was kickstarted a few months back, and failed pretty miserably.
       A huge shame, especially since it was to be done by the studio that made Academagia. I would have loved to see what they did with a more story-driven game.

      • Thisisjosh

         That is disappointing.  I’ve never played Ars Magica but some of the ideas behind it have infiltrated other games I’ve played, So I would be mighty interested in that. In particular, the rotating cast- I’ve always wanted to try something similar applied to other, similar games.

        Perhaps the Big Name is important here?  a property that has infiltrated pop culture in a fairly thorough manner? For as much as it’s a clumsy system, Shadowrun has breached pop culture more thoroughly than a lot of non D&D properties, so I could see the name helping them get over the funding hump?

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      There are two D&D-based MMOs in development that I’m looking forward to:  Neverwinter and Pathfinder, the latter being another successful Kickstarter campaign.

      • Thisisjosh

        The pathfinder one interests me more, I kind of figure the more low fi they are, the closer to the original game they are. though maybe the neverwinter one will be a straight adaption, who knows?

      • wordsampersand

        A Forgotten Realms MMO? I’m in. I played the Eberron-set one for a bit before losing interest. Do you know what ruleset they’re using? 

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Ugh, yeah…D&D Online got boring really fast.  It was cool that it used the rules accurately, but just about everything else about it….zzzzzz.

          I’m not sure what ruleset Neverwinter will use, since 4th Edition has been so divisive.  (In checking, I just found out that D&D Online also has Forgotten Realms based content now?  Bah, game engine still sucks.)

        • Thisisjosh

           @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus , I’m all in favor of 4E’s use, personally, because It seems like it’d work better in a game, really.

        • wordsampersand

          @Thisisjosh:disqus Yeah, agreed. I hated on 4E for a few years without actually playing it. Then I played it. I don’t love it, but it is a lot of fun…and seems tailor-made for video game adaptation.

    • wordsampersand

      In the early 2000s, I vaguely remember a sudden push to do adaptations of non-D&D tabletop games. 

  • GaryX

    UNRELATED: Did you guys see they’re remaking Wind Waker? Fuck me now I have to buy a Wii U!

    • stuartsaysstop

      I had a whole comment partially typed out about how a Wind Waker remake is pointless, considering the graphics still hold up quite well, but then google told me it’s merely an HD “remake”, which of course I completely support, but certainly not enough to even consider purchasing a Wii U (holding out for PS4 of course).

      • GaryX

        Yeah, I won’t actually buy a Wii U for it, and after seeing it in more detail I’m actually kind of disappointed by the visuals?

        But in good news, Ni No Kuni is goddamn gorgeous.

        • stuartsaysstop

          Don’t remind about Ni No Kuni! After being busy with the holidays I still haven’t finished Sleeping Dogs, a partially finished Persona 3 still lurks in the background, and for some reason I decided to start playing Chrono Trigger last weekend. And THEN there’s the whole applying to grad school thing. Long story short, I’m having trouble convincing myself that it’s feasible to add another lengthy game to the mix, no matter how long I’ve been anticipating it. 

          So if everyone could stop with the glowing reviews for a couple weeks it would be much appreciated.

          xoxo

      • GaryX

        Bummer! Here just listen to this and pretend it’s not THE BEST: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISbVq8Z9dQM

        So says Mr. Stuart.

        • stuartsaysstop

          SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

  • Effigy_Power

    Turning board and Pen and Paper games into digital versions makes so much sense. I really don’t know why this isn’t a much more prevalent feature.
    Sure, the purists will always demand to play these games on the kitchen table surrounded by friends, and there’s no replacing that, but once you’re out of college, that is going to be hard to achieve.
    For the numerous occasions that I simply don’t have the time to set up an entire evening of playing one of these I would love to have a quick and dirty online version, close to the original, infused with a bit of action and simple to set up.
    The first “Vampire: The Masquerade” had an RPG-mode where a game-master could spawn creatures, write dialogue on the fly and change mission settings. It’s the only game I can remember to include this.

    Oh, and while we’re at it. I am looking at you, you Games-Workshop-riff-raff. Why is there no round-based adaptation of your table-top game? You can’t honestly think that it would carve into your sales, because that would be a dumb thing to think. Digitally painting a small army of Beastmen on the screen would get me excited about replicating that again in real life. I’d have the ability to set up a game against someone from Brazil or Austria, rather than dealing with the local pool of nerdy 17 year olds (it’s bad here).
    Instead of adding more and more RTS and shooters and whatnot, adapt your game system 1:1 for the PC. It’d be so easy. A few maps, minimal animations for the troops, a little combat loop for when they meet, falling over and dying when rolled to do so… the overhead for this game, since every possible rule is already written and every concept design done, would be miniscule, so I can only imagine that you don’t want to.
    You’ve changed, Games Workshop. You used to be fun.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7434UGH3EEMU2AUKTGMU3NLDZA JoshJ

       I can’t even do PnP anymore. The time. The slowness. The calculations. I’m an accountant now. It’s too much like what I get paid to do: reference four sources for a calculation of your taxable interest defense! Digital gaming fo EVA!

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        One of the reasons I stuck with World of Warcraft for so long was the social aspect of a pen-and-paper RPG, but with all the pesky rules handled by the PC.  When Fourth Edition (er, Cataclysm) came out though, a lot of us got bored with it and left.

        I keep trying to capture that social aspect with other MMOs but so far have consistently failed.

        • wordsampersand

          Have you tried Lord of the Rings online? I’ve been pleased with how social folks are there, and how (generally) nice and mature most of the players are.

    • dreadguacamole

      I could never get into it, but neverwinter nights one and two had the very thing you’re talking about. Last I heard of it, they still had a pretty healthy following.
       The main problem I saw with it was that everything became very modular, and required a ton of preparation if you wanted it to not feel cookie-cutter.
       Sleep is Death kinda offers the same thing, but in a much more interesting way and offering a lot more freedom. I could see something like it working with newer, more storytelling-focused RPGs.

       Personally, I’d rather use Skype and webcams (we’ll roll our own dice, thank you very much!). There are a few pieces of software out there that share character sheets, information, and automate some rules, too.

    • HobbesMkii

      Someone’s gone and developed an application for running online PnP games for like…a lot of PnP games. I’m not sure how easy it is to use, but it looks vaguely interesting:

      http://www.fantasygrounds.com/

      • evanwaters

         When D&D 4th Edition came out there was a big push to have a fully supported Virtual Tabletop, but the project never came together. They may try again for the new edition, but WotC and the internet often are at odds. (Try navigating their web page sometime.)

      • Effigy_Power

        I tried that and it sadly stinks. I actually tried a lot of Virtual Table programs and they all stink one way or another.

    • Chuk

       The Neverwinter Nights games had tons of module creation capability and huge communities behind them — you would never be able to finish playing all the user-released modules, even if you stuck to the highly rated ones.  (And the first one was out before V:tM, I think.)

      • Effigy_Power

        You’re right, I forgot about that.

    • The_Juggernaut_Bitch

      There is no PC version of Warhammer or Warhammer 40K because, in their own words, Games Workshop is, primarily, a models-and-miniatures company, and all of their plans are driven to increase sales of models and books needed to play games with those models.  They actually do not produce *any* of the Warhammer titles currently on the market, they simply license their IP out to another company to design a game with.  This way, GW gets money up-front, and if the game does well, a cut of the net, but if the game fails, GW does not lose anything.

      Putting the convoluted rules of their flagship product and all of the table-top options into what is basically a single game, perhaps with options for premium DLC for new armies/exclusive units, does not jive with the GW business plan… which is to sell ever-increasingly-expensive toy soldiers.

      • Effigy_Power

        It’s a kind of monetary-driven cowardice that’s one of the worst enemies of creative inventiveness.
        The game would certainly create more sales for GW, just like every version of the MtG game makes me buy a deck and play against some people until I am sick of it again.
        GW is a champion at nothing but running down their own system… too bad few of the other systems can compete with the Apple of miniatures. Confrontation by Rackham looked like a good contender for a while, but that went nowhere…
        Yet another hobby I have that essentially tries to screw me… what is wrong with me?

        • The_Juggernaut_Bitch

           There’s a lot of things GW could do differently that might drive sales, but their current model of business has, somehow, convinced them that it’s the best model.  Strangely, they moved from metal to plastic miniatures, as plastic was supposedly easier to work with and cheaper than metal, thereby “improving production speed and keeping costs low”, yet these savings are not passed on to the customer.  With their yearly price-hikes, coupled with the expected inflation of prices due to standard economic forces, they’ve not only managed to price several people I know out of the hobby entirely, but have also failed to release updated models for several armies (again, the Sisterhood is probably the army most affected by this), and are Out of Production on most (if not all) models for that army… forcing people to either pay collector’s prices on Ebay and Amazon, or get *real* lucky on swap sites and garage sales.

          What with the average Codex now going for $30 to $50, and a very basic army (no tanks or vehicles, Monstrous Creatures or the flashy Special Characters from the Forge World line) running $2-300 and the core book being nearly, what, $100? I’d rather buy the RPG books and video games, in the end making the same investment, money-wise, but having far more flexibility in what I do with the products than having an army of toy soldiers that might suffer serious nerfing in some future update, or be the red-headed stepchild of the current edition that I just happen to like fielding.

  • TheNate

    Neat potential, but Shadowrun always seemed to be unbalanced towards the samurai and the rest of the team had nothing to do while deckers did their stuff.

    That, and the worst RPG experience of my life was with Shadowrun and a very stupid GM who played favorites.

  • cookingwithcranston

    I suspect SRR, much like Psychonauts will be a good game that will go largely unnoticed.

  • uselessyss

    For younger players, references to a “Matrix” might jog memories of a classic movie enjoyed by their parents
    That can’t be right.

    • Bad Horse

      I was GMing Shadowrun 2nd edition when the first trailers for the first Matrix came out and I wondered if they might be adapting the game.

      Holy shit. That was a long time ago, wasn’t it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/JamesMauriceAlexander James Alexander

      It is right. The Matrix is 14 years old now. That means kids born the year it came out are now in high school. 

  • Baramos x

    Loved the SNES game. Never could figure out the Genesis one.