You could say that 36,000 backers and the Shadowrun license allowed Harebrained Schemes the chance to build some creative muscle, before moving on to more ambitious things - namely the angular action-roguelike, Necropolis.
But that narrative belies the fact that the new Shadowrun games were doing wonderful stuff in their own right for the prosey RPG form, and were only getting better over time. So it’s a relief to know that there’s a future for the series beyond the standalone Shadowrun: Dragonfall released on Steam in September.
The official word from Harebrained is that they’d like to do another Shadowrun campaign, but don’t have any current plans.
Yet the developers posted an ad for a new lead artist in early October - weeks after Dragonfall’s director’s cut appeared on Steam.
That swift pace of development, along with Harebrained's request that the new artist be au fait with isometric games, suggests the new campaign will be built atop the same toolset Harebrained put together for Shadowrun Returns.
Expect a “riveting new story in the Shadowrun Universe”, and an art style consistent with the precedent set by the Dead Man’s Switch campaign.
Harebrained’s art director, Mike McCain, dove straight into Necropolis development after Dragonfall - which would explain the need for a new hire on a concurrent Shadowrun project.
The studio ask that their new employee has “seen Blade Runner”. “Because, come on.”
Shadowrun Returns had a habit of splitting its story and stabbing sections into binary segments - but the sheer strength of its writing saw it become a really excellent example of the recent RPG renaissance. Did you ever get around to playing it?