Harebrained Schemes, the developer behind Kickstater success story Shadowrun Returns, is looking to expand upon the turn-based tactical RPG with a new campaign set in Berlin. The new story will see a new hero take to the european streets, and the world is promised to be much more open than the Seattle campaign of the core game.
Writing in a dev diary at Harebrained’s website, art director Micke McCain said: “The main campaign of the game will allow you to complete certain missions in the order you choose, and will present you with some different ways to tackle those missions as well as some optional side objectives. To be clear though, Berlin is not a sandbox environment or an open-world experience. What we are working to create is a more flexible story structure and an engaging “hub area” that will give the player some choices and a sense of place and purpose.”
McCain finds Berlin an exciting place not just because of its more open nature, but because of the opportunities the city’s fictional history provides. “ Berlin exists as a fully neo-anarchist state – it’s not a crazy, lawless frontier, but rather a grand experiment in self-governance and emergent social order. Neighborhoods in Berlin become their own entities, with small communities banding together and often operating completely independently of the rest of the city.”
This independent nature has led to a very individual art style that McCain has relished It’s fun to think about how a neighborhood would become self-sustaining – the residents of this place have to have their own shared arrangements for power, food, communications… this district is independent from the outside. This means, for example, rooftop gardens and a central growing area with hydroponics technology allowing a high yield of crops from a relatively small area; solar panels plastered across buildings; a cafe at the end of the block which has become the community’s informal gathering place; jury-rigged street lighting along the main strip of the area; and a ruined, fenced-off building which has since become an agreed-upon dump location for unwanted items.”
Of course the most important thing that Berlin will introduce is new ways to kill people in messier ways, so a grenade launcher, a sniper rifle, and a variety of throwable items are being introduced, alongside a taser for those who get all up on the moral high ground about murder. Also, since Shadowrun Returns prides itself on old-school, we’ll be seeing exploding barrels this time around.
The Berlin campaign has just moved out of pre-production and is now fully underway by a strengthened team. Keep an eye on Harebrained’s website for more updates on Shadowrun Return’s progress. Berlin was originally slated for release in October, but the decision to make the project a much larger effort means we won’t be seeing it until January.