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Mitch Gitelman talks Shadowrun and BattleTech at Gamereactor

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Mitch Gitelman talks Shadowrun and BattleTech at Gamereactor

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 11 January 2016, 17:10:23

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes; Mitch Gitelman; Necropolis; Shadowrun: Hong Kong; Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Shadows of Hong Kong

The year 2016 has begun in earnest, which means we should be getting news about the sequel mini-campaign for Harebrained Schemes' Shadowrun: Hong Kong any day now. Earlier this month, Harebrained's Mitch Gitelman was interviewed by the folks at Gamereactor, where he spoke about the mini-campaign, and also about Necropolis, BattleTech, the rigors of Kickstarter development, and most interestingly, the long-term future of Shadowrun. Here's an excerpt:

You've got so many different things going on so we thought we'd catch up and get an update on what's happening. Can you give us a brief overview of what's going on at the studio at the moment?

Mitch Gitelman: Oh my. Well let's see, we are hard at work on pre-production on Battletech after closing our kickstarter in October. So we got a pre-production team rolling there, a lot of good things are happening between now and the end of the year. A lot of documentation during prototyping, that kind of thing, and the BattleTech team is very excited.

We also have the Shadowrun team, who are doing Shadowrun: Hong Kong, they're also fulfilling a Kickstarter reward right now creating a mini-campaign that happens right after the events of Shadowrun: Hong Kong. So you can take your high level character from the end of Shadowrun: Hong Kong and import it into this new mini-campaign. I think it's going to be about a five hour campaign or so. Depending on the level of detail you play at it could be about seven hours. So that's coming out early next year. Also for Shadowrun: Hong Kong we just recorded an audio commentary to give to backers, so you'll be able to play through the game and as you enter different scenes you'll see a little icon. When you click it you'll hear the development teams' voices describe the making of that particular level, that kind of thing.

That's BattleTech and that's Shadowrun and the other big news from the studio is our big new title Necropolis is coming out early next year. Necropolis is a 3D dungeon dive, an action game, a timing based game, kind of in the Dark Souls model. We married that with procedurally generated roguelike games. In this one the idea is you go as far as you can, die, start over again. Get as far as you can, get a little further, die and along the way pick up all sorts of magic items and weapons and stuff like that to level up yourself. There's some crafting involved. The marriage of a 3D action game and a roguelike, we feel it's going to be a big addictive draw for people. That's a completely new and original title as well, that's not one of our old licenses that we brought back, so we're really excited about Necropolis too and that's coming to Steam early next year.

That's comforting. We've touched on BattleTech and Necropolis a lot, but I guess Shadowrun remains a very important part of what you do and you are honouring that final Kickstarter, Hong Kong. Do you see Shadowrun expanding beyond Hong Kong or are you taking a break from that with BattleTech?

Yeah we're definitely taking a break for BattleTech, because the Shadowrun team is going to move over and working on it as well. We're going to step back from Shadowrun for a while, let people rest. We put out three games in three years. A couple of things about Shadowrun. First of all we love Shadowrun. Shadowrun is now part of the DNA of our studio now and so for example, on the anniversary of the Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter, we celebrate. We get a cake.

Shadowrun was the time when we developed our reputation, it's where we developed our relationship with our audience. When we did the Kickstarter for Shadowrun Returns there were eight of us in a storage closet. No joke, we were renting storage space from another game developer and making games in the storage space.

It really is the little cauldron that we sort of bubbled out of. We take it very seriously and we love it. We would love to go back to it. I think one of the greatest things about Shadowrun, it's a great science fiction setting, not just a fantasy setting. Speculate, when you travel around the world the way we're doing from Seattle to Berlin to Hong Kong. When we return to Shadowrun we intend to return to a different place in the world, to see how you know, 50 years and the return of magic affects different cultures around the world. We think that's fun. Shadowrun: Hong Kong, the story couldn't have happened anywhere else other than Hong Kong, just like Berlin in Dragonfall. It couldn't have happened anywhere else other than the city of Berlin. So that's what we are attempting to do as we go all around the world but, I think the game will need to take a different form in the future. Probably fully 3D. We'll see what happens. We have to keep up with the times.

Don't say that, that might be the opposite of what the fans want.

Well it depends on what you mean. We created a very old school game engine. Our stories were very modern stories. I'm really proud of our story telling and how it improved over time. But the production values and things like that, limit it in the market. We'll see what happens when we come back to it. Maybe something closer to Xcom. In terms of production values, like being able to rotate the map and things like that, being able to go upstairs.

But of course not moving it to a different perspective something crazy like that, that's been attempted in the past.

Oh no, we're not going to make a first-person shooter or something like that.
Not very surprising, even just considering that they'll want to reuse their BattleTech engine.

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