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Shadowrun Returns Interview at VG24/7

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Shadowrun Returns Interview at VG24/7

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Mon 13 May 2013, 21:51:33

Tags: Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman; Shadowrun Returns

VG24/7 offers a short "narrative interview" with Jordan Weisman about Shadowrun Returns, discussing the "tabletop vibe" of the game, as well as the editor, lack of hand-holding, and open-ended gameplay. Have a snippet:

“Call it respect for the audience or call it old-school gamer mentality but we’re honestly not hand-holding people through a bunch of training on the mechanics,” he said. “Once upon a time, there was fun in exploring and experimenting. We hope to give players enough info to get them rolling and understanding the basics.”

Watching the team’s alpha gameplay demo made it clear that combat will take an open-ended approach. There is great scope to adapt to threats the way you feel is best. Do you take a frontal assault approach and stick your team to cover, or do you try hacking and using alternate routes to gain the upper hand?

The possibilities are vast, and Weisman explained that by combining skills and character types you can really hit your enemies hard, “Our mindset is that you don’t need to balance your team’s skills but there are certainly benefits in doing so. For example, a Street Samurai might have a decent chance of hitting an enemy but if the enemy were slowed by a spell, he would be at a greater advantage.

“Then a Decker might be able to hack the building’s defences and take control of their weapon turrets allowing a Rigger to manoeuvre his drone into an alcove to retrieve a lab specimen while taking minimal damage.”

While the gameplay mechanics are complex, Weisman’s team wanted to ensure there was a strong ‘around the table’ vibe flowing throughout Shadowrun Returns, as a way of capturing the pen and paper vibe of tabletop role-playing. I asked him if it was a tricky aesthetic to capture in a game setting.

“As for the ‘around the table vibe’ that we’ve talked about – that’s something we’ve played with and yes, it’s tricky,” he confirmed. “For awhile, we toyed with the voice of the Game Master talking directly to you and telling you to do a skill check. We also thought about showing dice rolls.

“Ultimately, we decided that it would be interesting but not necessarily compelling or immersive. However, when we release our editor, player-GMs can try this type of experiment out for themselves. Who knows, they may hit on the right way to do it.”

[...] “We approached the design of the story and individual runs the way we used to approach our tabletop gaming sessions by asking, What is the player trying to do here? How will players learn the info they need to learn? What obstacles/resistance/puzzles would be fun here?

“Yes, it’s tricky and it’s challenging, and it’s different from how a lot of computer role-playing games approach development. But from the beginning, we weren’t trying to create a standard CRPG with the look and feel of Shadowrun. We were trying to make a tactical-RPG that felt like the Shadowrun tabletop game, influenced by the SNES and SEGA games”.​

Full article here.

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