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Games Entertainment

Shadowrun Finds a New Home 72

After the disastrous Xbox Shadowrun title and the closing of FASA Studios, it's not surprising to see Microsoft pushing the rights to videogames made in the Shadowrun IP off to greener pastures. Their new place of residence, though, is a bit of a pleasant shock: a new company founded by Jordan 'Zapper' Weisman. Gamasutra reports: "FASA, WizKids and 42 Entertainment founder Jordan Weisman has announced, via the website of his newest venture-backed startup Smith & Tinker, that he has licensed the 'electronic entertainment' rights to his MechWarrior, Shadowrun and Crimson Skies properties back from Microsoft ... It is unclear as of yet what form Weisman's plans for these franchises might take. But given the transmedia nature of his recent ventures, and job advertisements asking for experts with Web 2.0 and online game expertise, online world/MMO elements to the company's projects seem likely." Simon Carless has a few extra comments on the news over at GameSetWatch.
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Shadowrun Finds a New Home

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  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:06PM (#21617497) Homepage
    Not the same as "Smith and Tinker's", who make a really nice word-bubble art program. (This is a surprisingly hard job to get software to do well -- I like their program.)

    http://www.smithandtinkers.com/ [smithandtinkers.com]
    • I was going to ask if it runs on Linux, but you just HAD to link their site, didn't you? You're going to ruin the memescape around here with that kind of crap, buddy.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:13PM (#21617601) Homepage Journal
    Where do I sign up? Is there a fan boi bus yet? Can I drive?

    • by GroeFaZ ( 850443 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:30PM (#21617855)
      As much as I would love to agree, I think a MechWarrior MMO would suffer the same basic problem as any StarWars MMO with the Jedi trait: Nearly everyone would play the game to become a Mech jockey, and people would (perhaps rightfully) cry foul if they were to pay for a MechWarrior game and be unable (or only after epic grinding) to pilot a Mech. What else is there? Elementals on the Clan side maybe, but other than that...

      A Shadowrun MMO on the other hand would make perfect sense. The game offers classic magic as well as high-tech weapons, character customization out of the box (implants and magic buffs), a stronger focus on non-fighting professions than the BattleTech universe, different races, cyberspace and hacking, politics, etc. pp. ad infinitum. It's all there already, waiting to be implemented.
      • Depends on if they go a route similar to EA's Battletech 3025 game. Granted EA doesn't have the best rep, Cthulhu knows I hate them, but that little beta was awesome. A similar concept with larger forces might be worth it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiplayer_BattleTech_3025 [wikipedia.org] As for Shadowrun the MMO it'll depend on which edition they base it off of. Can't stand the newer stuff due to the plotlines and such.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cy Sperling ( 960158 )
        Why not build the entire game around being a Mech pilot? If the game and gameworld is primarily about mech combat, why even screw around with anything else? The best option to succeed in the crowded MMO world is to offer a game that doesn't adhere to the same old structure. Who says it even needs to be an MMO? What about a Battlefield type combat games w/ a COD4 style experience/upgrade/class system for Mech's and their loadouts?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DeadChobi ( 740395 )
          Because the whole point of Mechwarrior was that you didn't have to be a mech pilot. It was supposed to expand the scope of the game so that you're a person, not a pilot.
          • by FleaPlus ( 6935 )
            I never played pen-and-paper MechWarrior (just BattleTech), so I'm curious: What other classes/roles were there besides mech pilot, and say, aerospace pilot or some-such? Assuming there were roles for things like engineers and such, what did the players do when a battle was on-going?
            • Lets see, well, my friend who introduced me to Mechwarrior has a test which he runs called the "Used-Car Salesman test." Basically, he tests the versatility of the system by seeing how easy it is to make and stat out a used car salesman. It's pretty easy in Mechwarrior.

              There really aren't any "classes" in Mechwarrior. You can seriously stat out a shopkeeper or a CEO with no weapons skills whatsoever. Or you can stat an engineer and intrigue in a corporation, or any other person that would exist in 3050. The
          • by AuMatar ( 183847 )
            Maybe for you. For everyone I know, the point was to pilot a freaking mech. I wouldn't want to do anything else in a mechwarrior game.
      • Be able to pilot... all of the above.

        Elemental suits / IS Armor if you want. Tanks and Hovers and the rest, if you want. Participate in mixed-army fighting.

        Mechs, if you want. Build your way up in the fights on Solaris...

        Aerotech - in both the atmosphere, and in space battles where 'Mechs are mostly sitting ducks.

        Or take over being a gunner in one of the naval-class Dropships or JumpShips...

        Properly designed, this has so much amazing potential! Think about it - people are still playing Mechwarrior 2 and Mec
        • by j0nb0y ( 107699 )
          I don't think MS pulled the license from it...

          EA had just gotten a new CEO, who had no experience in the video game industry. The first thing she did was shut down every project that wasn't a triple A title. This of course included Multiplayer Battletech 3025. The game was in open beta and it was substantially complete. The only thing that had to be done was flip the retail switch and start collecting subscription fees.
      • IIRC, the Mechwarrior RPG addressed the problem of everybody wanting to be a mechwarrior by having players roll multiple characters. So you'd roll mechwarrior, a diplomat, and a crew chief; and let the other players have extra characters to fill other roles as needed. I think you could adapt that to an MMO so that as you gained rank (levels), it would give you choices as to what kind of alt characters you gain. Those alternate character/roles could gain over time as well. So when you're a lance commande
      • The problem with a Shadowrun MMO would probably be the same problem I had with the PnP version of the game. The darn hacking/decking part took WAY too long to do when it was incorporated into a mission.

        A typical PnP campaign would have combat team in place, and then all the players would sit around and twiddle their thumbs while the guy with the cyberdeck would try to evade and defeat all IC. Unless the GM was kind, those rolls started to take their toll, and a half hour or more could go by before the dec
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dave562 ( 969951 )
          About a year ago there was a forum setup by a company that tried to pitch the idea of a Shadowrun MMO to Microsoft. They eventually got shot down but it generated a lot of good discussion about the subject. The best idea that I heard for dealing with decking involved having systems open the matrix. Deckers would talk to their decker related NPCs and those NPCs would make them aware of systems. They could then leisurely hack them in their own time. Then when that same NPC had a run that involved the cor
        • by Chyeld ( 713439 )
          Having never "seen" a Shadowrun style hacking, I don't know if this is similar or not. But if you've ever played the Dystopia [dystopia-game.com] mod for the Source games, that has one of the best "hacking" setups I've run into.

          Shadowrun/Mechwarior/Crimson Sky games all sound as if they would be better as massivily multiplayer FPS's as opposed to the current MMO crop that is primarly RPG with mock FPS stylings added on top.
      • The aerospace fighters were always very intriguing to me in the Batteltech universe... I mean Mechs and tanks are slow moving easy targets when you're in a supersonic jet :)

        I also feel that, if done right, even infantry fights could be interesting, but only if you can reasonably with a good amount of skill take out a mech with the proper teamwork.
      • Well, yeah. In a MechWarrior MMO, every character should be, well, a MechWarrior, just like every character in City of Heroes is a superhero. That seems kinda obvious to me...

        Chris Mattern
      • As much as I would love to agree, I think a MechWarrior MMO would suffer the same basic problem as any StarWars MMO with the Jedi trait: Nearly everyone would play the game to become a Mech jockey, and people would (perhaps rightfully) cry foul if they were to pay for a MechWarrior game and be unable (or only after epic grinding) to pilot a Mech.

        What? Are you the type of person wants that plays Jimmy Olsen in a superhero game or Mrs. Moneypenny in a spy game? You don't make a superhero RPG that starts you
        • But how are we going to make the 1-2 percent of the elite "uber-gamers" feel special if we don't make 98% of our paying customers suffer? ;)

          But, seriously, that was the thing that hooked me on City of Heroes. In less than an hour, I could jump from roof-top to roof-top and beat up 2-3 armed thugs at once. And I never had to kill a single damn rat!

        • And you don't make a freaking mecha game where you play the mechanic!...Maybe the problem with Star Wars was not that everyone wanted to play a Jedi but that the designers of the game didn't let them have their wish. I mean, honestly, who signs up for a Star Wars game and thinks, "Oh gosh! You can play a dancer? Ooh, ooh! I was so signing up to haul freight around the Star Wars universe, but dancing in a cantina is soooo much more compelling!"

          You do realize there are many people who play RPGs to, you know,

      • There are condsiderably more Mech pilots in the MW universe than there were Jedi during the timeline of SWG. (I've only played MW2 and 4, never messed with the tabletop game, so maybe something is different there-is a 'jockey' a special type of pilot?).

        I really don't see the problem by making everyone a Mech pilot...let NPCs be the tank and helicopter cannon fodder. I honestly think it would translate well into a MMO. Lots of parts and upgrades to buy and get as drops, large number of worlds, tons of sto
        • There's no difference, mech-jockey is just slang for a mech pilot.

          The way I see it, yes, most people would want to run mechs. It's Battletech and mechs are the big draw. I don't see a problem with making it a class choice situation, same as aerospace pilot, armoured infantry, tanker, etc. Each of those professions require years of training to become truly good at (and the point of MMO's for the most part is to play the heroes, not the regular cannon fodder) so it is reasonable to me to just pick what
    • by Xybre ( 527810 )
      Dear gods! I had all but given up.

      Er, yes. Achem.

      If I say please?
  • Thank God (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:14PM (#21617615) Homepage
    I am glad Shadowrun is back in the hands of a competent company. I really hope he makes an updated Shadowrun game that was similar to the original. Hands down my favorite game for the Sega Genesis. Great blend of RPG, action, and cyberpunk storylines.
    • First the title is in the hands of a "new" company, but competent remains yet to be seen.

      Second, in order to clarify your use of the word "original" game. . the first "game" was the pen & paper game. the first "original" videogame was the SNES version. The genesis version is a second videogame unrelated to the SNES version.

      And I liked the SNES version quite a bit. Haven't played the Genesis version.
      • While the SNES game may have been the first (I don't know, I didn't check), the game mechanics were unrelated to Shadowrun P&P at all. The Genesis game is *much* closer to what the P&P game is.

        Also: Weisman was the one who invented Shadowrun. I have no fear that he will treat the game right. Weisman hasn't been involved with a bad product yet, to my knowledge (I Love Bees, Shadowrun, Crimson Skies, Mechwarrior, etc.).
      • "First the title is in the hands of a "new" company, but competent remains yet to be seen."
        Well, seeing as he is the creator of Shadowrun, and made the earlier version of the video game, I think I can call him "competent".

        "The genesis version is a second videogame unrelated to the SNES version."
        But way more related to the P&P version, which IMHO is better. Also, I never stated that the "original" video game was the Genesis version, I stated that the Genesis version was my favorite game for the Gen
  • One simple request (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Huntr ( 951770 )
    Can someone please stop screwing around and make a Shadowrun RPG?
    • by Setral ( 1027762 )
      There already is one.... oh you mean VideoGame/ConsoleGame RPG... my bad
      • Rulesets are not RPGs. They are rules to play a game, but they are not themselves an RPG, unless they come pre-packaged with a story (the one crucial element of RPGs).
        • Shadowrun came more or less pre-packaged with a setting. Or at least, the rules were used with only one setting - the Shadowrun/Earthdawn world - as opposed to Dungeons & Dragons which was a set of rules that could be and was used across multiple (though similar) settings such as Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms, and Dragonlance.

          Although as a pen-and-paper gamer, I must disagree that an RPG needs to come pre-packaged with a story. For pen-and-paper gamers, part of the enjoyment is coming up with the

          • Yet it always seems to begin in a tavern.
          • So I would say that a ruleset does indeed constitute a full RPG.
            But it can't. The one thing, the only thing, that everyone agrees upon about an RPG's characteristics is that it's driven by story. How on earth can you call a set of rules with no story an RPG, then? You can't have something driven by story if there is literally no story there.
            • No, an RPG is driven by role-playing. You can get a group of people role-playing characters, set them in a room together, and with no story at all you can have an amazing RPG session. It's hard to do, but it's possible. To reiterate: It's players engaged in role-playing which are crucial to an RPG. A story can help players to role-play, but on its own is worthless. A story in an RPG without role-playing is simply a book. Once more: An RPG is driven by its characters. Their individual aspirations (as role-
            • Crazy talk. (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Valdrax ( 32670 )
              Crazy talk. A competent GM and players make their own story. All a game needs to do is present the opportunity for adventure and a good kicker for where to go. Shadowrun presents plenty of opportunity in the form of corporate espionage, bodyguarding, investigation, and good old bug (shaman) hunts. The election of the dragon Dunkelzahn as president, his assassination, and his will are great adventure hooks.

              Not everyone needs a module to script out and hold the hands of a play group to enjoy a game. In f
      • by Huntr ( 951770 )
        Yes, Professor, for the PC. I assume Shadowrun fans are aware of the PnP Shadowrun universe...
  • Shadowrun WoW (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @06:00PM (#21618299) Journal
    Shadowrun could own WoW if they come up with a decent game engine that can handle ranged combat. It has all of the elements that would attract huge portions of the gaming world. It has the fantasy of elves and trolls and dragons and vampirse and all of that. It has the high tech angle with the cyberware and bioware and matrix. It has guns and magic. It also has a diverse enough setting to cater to casual and hard core players. It has the kind of enviroment where people can play as fixers or Johnsons or weaponsmiths or whatever.

    The big problem that I see is generating a credible world. WoW works because it is a fantasy world and so they can have these huge open spaces and towns that are comprised of a couple of buildings. Shadowrun on the other hand is all about the urban sprawl and dense urban environments. I could be wrong but I don't think that there is game engine out there that can handle all of the NPCs, plus a bunch of players, plus all of the various vehicles operating both on the street and in the air. The WoW model when you are dead and running back to your corpse could be expanded upon to create the seperation between the astral space and the physical world.

    What do you guys think? Can a model be created using the current hardware that could accurate recreate an urban game world that would be required for Shadowrun?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Shadowrun could own WoW if they come up with a decent game engine that can handle ranged combat.

      Whatever system they come up with would have to take cover, etc into account. As much as I hate to say it, it would necessarily have to have elements of a FPS.

      The big problem that I see is generating a credible world. WoW works because it is a fantasy world and so they can have these huge open spaces and towns that are comprised of a couple of buildings. Shadowrun on the other hand is all about the urban spr

      • by dave562 ( 969951 )
        The way I envisioned it working would be a Syndicate style 3/4 view with the ability to zoom in until you are right above your toon but not necessarily looking through his eyes like you can in WoW. I think that adding an FPS element to it, a la Planetside would make it too complex. I figure you would have to have some sort of system like they use in WoW, probably to hit. It would have to take terrain into account a lot more than the WoW engine does.

        I've never played City of Heroes so I can't really comme

        • The way I envisioned it working would be a Syndicate style 3/4 view with the ability to zoom in until you are right above your toon but not necessarily looking through his eyes like you can in WoW. I think that adding an FPS element to it, a la Planetside would make it too complex. I figure you would have to have some sort of system like they use in WoW, probably to hit. It would have to take terrain into account a lot more than the WoW engine does.

          That doesn't sound too bad. Like you said the terrain w

    • by petrus4 ( 213815 )
      Shadowrun wasn't purely about urban environments. You had Tir Tairngire, Ireland, Australia, and so on. Mt Rainier in America was also used as the setting for one of the novels I read.

      Yes, I hope someone does something intelligent with the property, in terms of games. If that meant an MMORPG, I'd play it, if they had the same people working on it that they had doing the fiction/artwork for the rulebooks and they got the vibe right.

      Personally, I'd want an SR2 setting...I used to have that rulebook, and I
      • To be fair, I don't think theres a lot Gibson likes in the cyberpunk area of fiction. To totally butcher Clark. He used to say something like... Whatever you write, is normally what you enjoyed as a child/teenager, its your well of ideas, the thing that captivated your interest. But, once you start to write professionally, you move on, you stop reading things in those areas, and go to other areas. Once your job becomes creating a certain type of world. You no longer want to spend your free time living
    • The key to making Shadowrun (or any other game set in a densely populated urban environment) is to use instanced dungeons / quests / missions. You want to have only a handful of Shadowrunner teams in the same mission. Most missions should be with a solo team or with a few teams in competition. Groups running around randomly without causing trouble for each other is really not fitting with the setting.

      Another huge challenge for a Shadowrun MMO would be finding useful roles that Deckers and Riggers can pla
      • by dave562 ( 969951 )
        I doubt that much could be done for Fixers without doing so

        For fixers/Johnsons to work there would have to be a somewhat complex NPC system that worked on reputation and some other factors. The best model is Grand Theft Auto. In GTA you spend the entire game jumping from person to person, following a story line as contacts introduce you to their contacts. Shadowrun has the benefit of having two distinct world, the corporate world with the corporations and the criminal world with the mafia/yakuza and gan

    • by Cirga ( 1200625 )
      Definately possible. The game Matrix Online was a massive urban sprawl and it worked just fine on computer hardware that is now (2 years old). I really am hoping that an MMO based on the Shadowrun world is created. If they do it right.. and base it on twitch combat (similar to Tabula Rasa).. it could be a huge seller. Just has to offer something original.. and that would be the game history and stories. I remember playing the PNP of Shadowrun long ago, and it was always a blast. So much versatilit
  • Easy Money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SlashdotOgre ( 739181 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @06:13PM (#21618493) Journal
    Shadowrun is a perfect franchise for making a modern sandbox RPG. Heck, I'd be thrilled if someone just remakes a 3D version of the fantastic Genesis Shadowrun title. The whole time I've been playing Mass Effect, I keep thinking how easy it would be for someone to use that engine for Shadowrun (in fact, a lot of ME's elements are similar to Shadowrun on the Genesis, it's mainly just a different setting and calling magic "technology"). A good Shadowrun game would be enough motivation for me to buy a console for it if it were exclusive.
  • It's a Video Game? (Score:2, Informative)

    by wilder_card ( 774631 )
    Hey, I remember when Shadowrun came out -- as a role-playing game (i.e. books, pencils, paper and dice). Great concept. Somehow I missed the transition to electronics completely. I'm not getting old, am I?
    • The only thing you're really missing is the Genesis game. I'm trying (extremely hard) to forget that the SNES or 360 versions ever existed. The Genesis game came the closest to capturing the pencil-n-paper feel of the original game, and I'm really hoping that whoever starts developing the MMO (at this point I'm almost positive they will now) does the game justice.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... it was a bad game, or more because MS coerced these guys into releasing a Vista only game in May or so, if I recall, Valve's gamer survey only had Vista installs at 4.3% at the time. Yes I know there was a hack, and I know most gamers won't go to that trouble. Honestly the game was released during a vacuum, I didn't play it, I don't know that there was anything there worth spending 50 bucks on, but I honestly believe it might have been a successful title had it not been for the willful "Vistassasinati
    • by gknoy ( 899301 )
      The XBox shadowrun game failed to appeal to many Shadowrun fans, because it was not Shadowrun (as we know it). It was a glorified CounterStrike, with some special powers. I realize I am NOT doing it justice, but it would be similar to if they released a game called "Star Wars", but where all you could do was play Sabacc, or play in the Mos Eisley Cantina Band.

      "Jizz-Wailer Hero" or "Sabacc", while they might be very good games, would completely fail to come close to doing justice to the full spectrum (or e
      • As the parent said, the game had issues because it didn't seem to hit any of the groups of people who tend to buy things. It alienated fans of the original concept of Shadowrun by not being Shadowrun. It alienated fans of multiplayer FPS's by not including same system multiplayer. It alienated fans of single player FPS's by not including a story mode. But if you can get past all of those (admittedly massive) flaws, the basic gameplay was surprisingly fun. I personally prefer the online multiplayer of i
    • by MeanMF ( 631837 )
      The Vista version was pretty useless, but it sucked on the Xbox 360 too so it was no great loss.
  • Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NightRain ( 144349 ) <ray@cyron.[ ]au ['id.' in gap]> on Friday December 07, 2007 @07:38PM (#21619375)
    Wow, I thought that damned Xbox game was going to sink any hope of seeing a decent Shadowrun computer game at any point in the future. Who'd have thought the thing sucking so much would turn out to be the thing that now gives me hope of a decent game being made :)
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:00PM (#21620471)
    To all the confused Shadowrunners out there: They don't actually mean Shadowrun [wikipedia.org], but some sad and sorry (repreated?) attempt to make a computer game of it.

    I still got Shadowrun btw. (2nd Edition I think). Gosh, were those rules crappy and incoherent. And gosh did we have fun with that RPG. ... I'm actually gonna go over to my RPG folder now and flipp through some old characters ... Ahhh, the memories :-) .

    To all you out there who've never played an RPG (I mean the real ones, Pen & Paper): If you come across Shadowrun in an RPG store or somewhere else: Buy it. The rules are mostly totally braindead, but the entire setting, it's lighthearted, frictionless approach to RPGing and the RPG sessions it leads to are pure fun. And a RPG newbie can pick them up in ten minutes. Roleplaying is an ideal way to have fun with your friends and get away from the screen once in a while. And Shadowrun's a far better alternative than D&D imho.
    • I've been selling off my RPG collection, but I've still got some first ed, and most of the second ed, and some of the first few 2.5 ed, sourcebooks available, if anybody's interested.

    • I still got Shadowrun btw. (2nd Edition I think).

      You should try to find a copy of 3rd edition.

      It's largely a clarification and expansion of the 2nd edition rules, which were very good. I still have several books for both editions. Where 2nd edition rules are vague or incoherent, 3rd is pretty polished. It follows the history of the 2nd edition rules, and takes some of the content of various sourcebooks, with some brand new stuff and adds it all to the core book.

      It's also compatible with 2nd edition material, which is awesome, but the comparable thir

  • I'm all ready for another go at Mechwarrior. I'd love to see MechCommander 3 as well. Not too sure about a Mech MMO though. Finally, a ray of hope after M$ crushed 'Mech fans hearts a few years ago.
  • If they make the MMORPG using the spirit of the RPG that FASA made back in the 90's, it would reach so many genres it would almost be a sure hit with most gamers.

    A quality game engine, incorporating all of the popular concepts of the game - magic, cybernetics, vehicle combat, and cyberspace.

    But I fear the task would be too big and risks too high for most game companies to even consider, it'll be a dream of many who have played the RPG version of Shadowrun.
  • If you have played this game you will know it's a really good game which is lacking a campaign. If it had a campaign everyone would think Halo 3 was a pretty poor game. -John
  • You know what the last good Shadowrun game was? Shadowrun for the Sega Genesis.

    You know why that was the last good Shadowrun game? They used the already existing pen & paper system and incorporated it within a new story. It was a top down RPG featuring all the different areas of Seattle: Redmond Barrens, Renraku Arcology, Downtown Seattle, even the Native American reservations, as well as the familiar locations: Lone Star Police Department, Hollywood Correctional Facility.

    It had dozens of weapons

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?