Shadowrun: Hong Kong hits Kickstarter to fundraise for a bigger cyberpunk dystopia

An artist's painting of a rainy, neon-lit night in a cyberpunk Hong Kong.

As was foretold to our ancestors, Shadowrun Returns has itself returned to Kickstarter to get funding for a new, standalone instalment — Shadowrun: Hong Kong. It sounds like a cyberpunk dream set in a techno-anarchic megalopolis overrun with criminal gangs and magic.

Shadowrun Returns seems to have been one of those games that gets a slightly cool initial reception, but which gains in stature as patches and expansions smooth away the rough edges and give fans more of what they wanted in the first place. The overall progression reminds me a bit of Fallout: New Vegas, though time will tell whether Shadowrun Returns ever has a hope of achieving that kind of legendary status. But Fraser was quite impressed with the Dragonfall expansion and the improved Dragonfall: Director’s Cut standalone.

Now, Harebrained Schemes are back on Kickstarter looking to take the Shadowrun saga to Hong Kong, and promising another rich standalone offering. It all sounds very Neuromancer-meets-Blade Runner. From the Kickstarter:

“The Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone is a land of contradictions – it is one of the most successful centers of business in the Sixth World, and home to one of the world’s most dangerous sprawl sites. A land of bright lights, gleaming towers, and restless spirits where life is cheap and everything is for sale.”

No wonder that the job listing for this game asked that applicants have seen Blade Runner.

In addition to the new setting, the new expansion includes new characters and with new Growth Tracks for customization and special powers. But what’s interesting is that Harebrained also say that they’re doing Hong Kong in part because it was the most requested setting from fans. They’re already well into development and have gone to Kickstarter to basically fund more features for the game. Seems like a pretty good way of making sure your backers will be happy, and that you’ll actually be able to deliver on most of what you promised.

Although I do kind of wonder if “enhanced player controls” are really something fans should be kicking-in for: “These include the ability to decide which team member picks up an item in free-move mode, item swapping between party members, a player-initiated turn-mode toggle so you can position your team before you enter combat, and a spread-range indicator for shotguns and sweeping melee attacks.”


Anyway, fans seems pretty receptive to the idea: in the time it took me to write this post, the Kickstarter hit its $100,000 initial goal. So enjoy that item swapping, everybody!