Through a happy accident, DanW played Shadowrun:Dragonfall and shared his first impressions over on the Shadowrun.com forums. Spoiler-free, of course!
Take a look and see what he thought and then head over to the thread if you have any questions for him.
Road Movie To Berlin
(One Fan’s Semi-Official Preview Of Dragonfall)
“Drek, what was his name…Candy…gum…spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen. Wintergreen!” Kilim entered ‘Green Winters’ into the hotel data system’s keypad and sighed in relief when it kicked out ‘Room 405’ and a few notes. “Got you now, chummer. Time to roll!”
Don’t Let’s Start
A few weeks back, I logged into Steam to play a little Shadowrun Returns (I just noticed I’m at 544 hours played on Steam, not to mention the time spent with the DRM-free version and the editor!). As I was signed up for the public beta, I wasn’t too surprised when it began downloading a new version. Thinking it would give me a chance to see how the new save system worked in Deadman’s Switch, I opened the game and found Dragonfall!
Of course, I started a campaign with my trusty decker/assault rifle archetype. Immediately, I noticed that the mage had throwing knives, the weapons troll had a sniper rifle, and AoE effects showed the number of targets affected (no more fraggin’ my teammates!). This was all before the heavily-armored troll with a minigun appeared…
There were a lot of rough edges and bugs in the build, but the basic gameplay was definitely an upgrade from DMS. Instead of just one teammate with a story, there were now three (soon to be more). Instead of one (unnecessary) side run, there were multiple run choices with multiple objectives and multiple ways to accomplish them. I completed one run without any combat, and another with so much combat that my team suffered four deaths total (two of them my PC). Fortunately, the DocWagon-type item is now automatically used if it’s in a character’s inventory when they die. I was having a blast. I even posted a thread on the SRR forums about some bugs.
And then it went away. I guess someone noticed that a developer’s build had escaped and shut the metaphorical door. I shrugged my shoulders and figured that was the end of it. But then I received a message from developer Mitch Gitelman. “Thanks for the positive comments about the Dragonfall campaign! Please send me your email address, Dan. I’d like to chat with you in mail about something.”
“Eiger. Grenadier, 11 o’clock, 50 meters. Mage, 2 o’clock, 35 meters. Geek the mage first.” Three shots echoed through the courtyard. Even suppressed, the sniper’s Ruger 100-S had a distinctive sound. Even more distinctive was the Humanis mage’s head disappearing in a flash. The ork with the grenade launcher was luckier—or had better armor—but the two shots forced him to drop his weapon and grab his chest. His escape was short-lived, though, as Glory materialized next to him and slit his throat with her hand razors.”
A Harebrained Scheme
(That’s Eiger on the left and Glory on the right.)
And so this past Sunday when a developer’s preview build appeared in my Steam account, I was ready to go. I decided that it might be fun to play a new character I had been wanting to try, a build that would have been hard to implement in DMS. Meet Kilimanjaro West, infiltration specialist. Human decker, high charisma, skilled in unarmed combat. With minimal headware and a touch of bioware, my concept for him was someone who could slide past metal detectors and magesniffers to pass as a wage slave. Get in, get the goods, get out. Null sweat.
I fired up the game and lost myself in the story. If you enjoyed DMS at all, DF will be right up your alley. A lot of the pain points have been smoothed over. I’ve already mentioned the automatic resurrection that works if your character dies, the new save system works smoothly, and there is now auto-heal after combat where your healer will heal the most recent wound of each character. (I think you need a magical healer for this, but I didn’t test it out. Too busy playing.) Thrown weapons and unarmed combat are much more viable, and now shaman have a weapon spell just like those hermetic weenies. You have additional choices for your team, but I stuck with the crew I knew and the more I ran with them, the more I knew about them. It felt more like the tabletop game, which was my introduction years ago to the Shadowrun universe—and the reason I backed this Kickstarter.
“Keeping an eye on the security cam feed, Kilimanjaro West counted down the seconds. “15…10..5…Left, left, then right. Go!” As the security guard’s patrol turned the far corner, the team broke for the door. One more guard to bypass and the prototype would be in their hands…”
One of the best things about DF is that I felt that my decisions were having an effect on how the game unfolded. There was humor and sadness. There were NPCs who would threaten or cajole. Runs could be all guns blazing, or a quiet sneak past security. Playing on Hard, combat was challenging and often required a bit more strategy than DMS. Certain enemies had to be prioritized. Positioning (no, the cover mechanism hasn’t changed) could greatly influence the course of the encounter.
It just felt like Shadowrun should. You can read board chatter that sometimes refers to your own exploits, adding to the SR feel. The highest praise that I can offer is that the plot actually caused Kilim, in character, to change his modus operandi. At the point in the game roughly equivalent to the cemetery scene in DMS events made things very personal. After having passed up the lure of cyberarms numerous times, he sought out the street doc to get them so that he could more effectively achieve his revenge. (As an aside, my SR characters have a history of things like this. Ask the other players who were there about the incident involving a river, captive alligators, and the gator shaman who couldn’t swim. Did you know that Alligator mississippiensis can be used as a flotation device?) And during the marathon endgame equivalent to the Bug Hunt in DMS he was glad he had done so.
And that point in the plot? As I texted my friend, “Drek just got real.” It was surprisingly nail-biting for a turn-based game and I found myself deeply engaged. If it weren’t for work and a missing thyroid, I would have played continuously.
Now I’ll admit that Dragonfall is not perfect. Some things remain as annoying as they were in DMS: the limited inventory slots with the random (?) display order, the ridiculous (to me) stat-boosting outfits, and the inability to tailor your teams’ inventory beyond a few consumables, to mention a few. Also, some bugs remain (only one I ran across required a reload) but if this were all I got from the Kickstarter campaign I would still be one very satisfied chummer.
TL;DR: So if you have the means, I highly recommend picking it up. And if you already are getting it through the Kickstarter, you won’t be disappointed.
Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them, though I won’t have access to the game until after work tonight (6 PM EST). There are bonus points available for good questions/observations. Double bonus points if you knew right away where the thread title and first header came from. And, triple bonus points if you knew where my character name came from.
Bonus points redeemable for DanW’s goodwill, subject to applicable state laws.
We’ve got some exciting news! As you know, Harebrained Schemes created the Shadowrun Editor so you can tell YOUR stories in the world of Shadowrun. It’s been exciting to see how GMs have used the editor in ways we never even thought about! To celebrate all the hard work of the GMs out there, we’ve partnered with our friends at Intel to create the Shadowrun Editor Community Contest.
Using the Shadowrun Editor, GMs can create and submit content in four categories: Maps, Props, Short Story and Long Story. The Shadowrun Community will vote for their favorites and the winners will be chosen by the Harebrained Schemes team. Finalists will receive a Design Consultation to improve their content along with a Shadowlab or Let’s Play video of their story featuring Jordan Weisman, the creator of Shadowrun. Submit your entries by March 13. Vote for your favorites until March 27 – you can vote daily! Winners will be announced on April 3.
Additionally, ANYONE can enter a special Sweepstakes to win an Intel Ultrabook 2-in-1 Convertible, Shadowrun swag, or copies of Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Full information is available at http://harebrained-schemes.com/shadowrun/intel/
Head on over and check it out!
We are excited to announce that the first Shadowrun Returns expansion, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, will be released on February 27, 2014 at 10am PST. Here’s the official trailer and screenshots! (Be sure to fullscreen it in HD for the full effect!)
For many more screenshots and more product information, visit the official Shadowrun: Dragonfall page: http://harebrained-schemes.com/shadowrun/dragonfall/
The Dragonfall development team pushed incredibly hard to hit our original January release window and our playtests have been a lot of fun! However, a few rough edges still remain, and we’ve decided to extend our polish and bugfixing time to ensure that we deliver a great Shadowrun experience. We know you’re excited to play the game and we’re confident this will allow us to ship the best campaign we can!
Shadowrun: Dragonfall will be FREE to Backers and they will receive the same number of keys they received for Shadowrun Returns. For everyone else, Dragonfallwill launch at $14.99 – in fact, it’s now available for pre-order on Steam at http://store.steampowered.com/app/272030. Please help us spread the word!
In other Shadowrun Returns news…
Shadowrun Returns Beta Version 1.2 is LIVE
We want to make sure you all know that the Beta for Version 1.2 of Shadowrun Returns is now LIVE on Steam. This version includes the new and improved Save Game functionality, including the ability to save in the middle of scenes, and a variety of fixes and improvements to the core game. If you’re interested in looking under the hood at those changes, be sure to read the Release Notes located on the Shadowrun Returns forum here: http://bit.ly/1jYXfrE. And feel free to jump into the Beta to help us test it! Here’s the best place to report any bugs you find. http://bit.ly/LZqteB
The update will be released to the public alongside the Dragonfall expansion, but v1.2 does not require the purchase of Dragonfall to use.
The German translation of Shadowrun Returns is still in process but has been delayed due to some production hiccups. We are working with our localization partner to ensure a high quality translation, and look forward to releasing it in an update that will coincide with the release of Dragonfall. As an added bonus, we are happy to announce we will also release a Russian and Chinese translation at the same time, February 27th, 2014!
As always, thanks for the opportunity to make this happen. We’re excited to get all of our hard work on Dragonfall into your hands next month!
As we head toward the release of Shadowrun: Dragonfall at the end of January, we also continue to improve on, add features to, and fix bugs in Shadowrun Returns and the SR Editor.
Since our last update we’ve fixed lots of bugs but the most notable addition in Version 1.1.1 is that French, Italian and Spanish language options are now available. We are (anxiously) awaiting the German and Russian files back from the company doing those translations for us so that we can finish our localization work and make it available to German and Russian speakers.
Version 1.1.1 also contains more of the new Editor features we’ve been using to createShadowrun: Dragonfall so you can use them too. These include a revamped Thermometer to display more detailed scene performance metrics, a Get Count of Alive Actors data function trigger and a new Display Popup with image and caption. There are quite a few more as well.
You can check out a list of the bug fixes, features and additions on the New Releases page of the Shadowrun Returns wiki.
The end of the year always brings out “Best of” lists and we’re really thrilled to find ourselves on a few of those lists including:
- Game Debate: Global Game Award as Best RPG of 2013
- The AV Club: The AV Club’s Favorite Games
- Gamasutra’s Best of 2013: Alex Wawro’s Top 5 Video Games
- PocketTactics: RPG of the Year Runner-Up
You can still vote for Shadowrun Returns at two different websites. IncGamers.com has nominated us as Best Crowdfunded Game of 2013 and IGN.com has us up for a BLACK BETA SELECT AWARD as 2013 Best Indie. Voting is ongoing so you can still head over to both those sites to vote. (You’ll be eligible for a $2000 gift card over at theIGN.com site, too. You’ll need to add 0111 to your phone number if you’re in the US.)
We want to give a heads up to all the SNES Shadowrun fans out there! JR Riedel and his team are creating a reboot of the SNES Shadowrun game using the Shadowrun Returns Editor. A Joystiq article about this effort just came out today and we can’t wait to play it ourselves!
It’s been a hell of a year here and none of it would be possible without the continued support of our amazing Kickstarter Backers. THE YEAR OF SHADOWRUN has been fun and exciting and heartwarming and very, very challenging and we deeply appreciative of the opportunity to make Shadowrun Returns for you.
From Jordan, Mitch, and everyone at Harebrained Schemes, we wish you a very happy holiday season!
See you in 2014!
And remember - “Never trust a dead man.”
HBS is happy to announce that as of today, Shadowrun Returns is now available for Windows and Mac on GOG.com!
And please let all your friends know they can purchase the game at the special release price of $11.99 through tomorrow, 12/11/2013. Here’s the link: http://www.gog.com/game/shadowrun_returns
The DRM-free version of the game will continue to be fully supported and you’ll be able to download all game patches, use the Shadowrun Returns editor and experience user-generated content downloaded from third-party sites such as Nexus. If you are a Kickstarter Backer or pre-ordered the game, we are happy to send you a GOG key if you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also pleased to let our Linux-loving fans know that they’ll soon be able to access the game through the Humble Store. We’ll let you know about it as soon as possible.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall, the expansion for Shadowrun Returns, will also be available on GOG and the Humble Store when it’s released in January.
We’re excited to be so close to releasing the final localized versions of Shadowrun Returns in Spanish, French and Italian but we need your help!
If you speak any of those languages, we’d love it if you’d help us Beta test the translations. This link will take you to directions on how to download the Beta version of the game and share your suggestions for better translations with us. http://ow.ly/rqiZA
We want to turn this around quickly so we need your feedback by Sunday, December 8.
Thanks for your help!
We’re excited to announce the title of the new Berlin expansion, Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Check out all the details as well as the game’s logo and a cool new illustration to go with it below!
BERLIN. The Flux-State: a stable anarchy enforced by an ever-shifting coalition of megacorps, political factions, and savvy power players. A place where almost anything goes and the right connections can be the difference between success and starvation. Dangerous jobs abound and there’s no better place to earn a quick payday – provided you live long enough to spend it. For you and your team of battle-scarred runners, it’s just another day in the Free City of Berlin.
But a new threat is rising, one that could mean untold chaos and devastation. The only clue: whispers of the DRAGONFALL, a long-forgotten event from the earliest days of the Awakened world. As you find yourself drawn into a maze of veiled dangers and strange machinations, you will come face-to-face with a grim spectre of the past… and alter the course of Berlin’s future.
SHADOWRUN: DRAGONFALL FEATURES
- Experience a New Full-Length Campaign: Return to the “Tech meets Magic” future of Shadowrun as you and your team of runners get drawn into a treacherous conspiracy. Operating out of an offbeat central hub neighborhood, you’ll choose which missions to accept and how you’ll approach them while navigating the dark underbelly of “the Flux”.
- An Exciting New Locale: Shadowrun: Dragonfall transports runners to the Free City of Berlin, a thrilling Shadowrun setting full of gorgeous new hi-res environments, a diverse new cast of characters, and a new soundtrack by the composer of the original Sega Genesis Shadowrun game, Sam Powell.
- Command Your Team: Lead a small team of shadowrunners, each with their own outlook and backstory. Each member of your team is designed to play an interesting role during missions and has a unique set of skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
- New Weapons, Cyberware, Enemies & More: Try your hand at the long-range sniper rifle, devastating grenade launcher, or stun-inducing taser. Chrome yourself out in the latest cyberware and take on deadly new enemies – including new magical creatures like gargoyles and fire drakes. Dragonfall brings a host of new items, characters, portraits, and improvements to the Shadowrun Returns experience.
- Save Anywhere: You can save your progress at any time during the game. This functionality will also be added to the original Shadowrun Returns “Dead Man’s Switch” campaign.
- New Game Editor Features: A wide range of enhancements to the game editor for community content creators – including a scripting system to better control lighting, tracking mission objectives in the main game UI, placing exploding barrels, and allowing players to input keypad passwords and custom text strings in conversations. In addition, content creators will be able to use all of the new Berlin environment art, items and characters in their own stories along with assets from the original Shadowrun Returns campaign.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall will be released January 2014 for Windows, OSX, and Linux and will be free to Backers who will get the same number of Steam keys received for the original game via our Backer website. (Details about getting the DRM-free version will come in a future update.)
Dragonfall will launch at $14.99 and we’ll also release the Shadowrun Campaign Pack on the same day. The campaign pack contains the original game and the Dragonfall expansion in one package for only $24.99. We think it’s a great way to get new players into Shadowrun.
And finally, here’s a new wallpaper for y’all. We can’t wait to show you more Dragonfallover the next two months!
Talk to you soon,
Just a quick note to announce that patch 1.0.9 for iOS is live! This patch contains memory and load time improvements for issues connected to iOS 7 and should greatly reduce mid-scenes crashes as well as crashes in general.
We just want to send out a quick update to share some good news. Thanks to a new agreement we were able to negotiate with our partners at Microsoft, Harebrained Schemes is pleased to announce that we are now able to release fully DRM-free versions of Shadowrun Returns and future expansions such as Berlin.
The DRM-free versions of SRR and Berlin will continue to be fully supported. You’ll be able to download all game patches, use the Shadowrun Returns editor and experience user-generated content downloaded from third-party sites such as Nexus.
We’re starting work to get Shadowrun Returns available on GOG.com right now – not sure how long that will take but we’ll let you know as soon as we have an answer.
We’re very excited we’re finally able to offer Shadowrun DRM-free to everyone and look forward to making it available!
Take care, HBS
We’re pleased to announced that the Linux version of Shadowrun Returns is now available on Steam and in the Download section of your HBS account (which you’ll find here). From this point on, Linux will receive updates at the same time as the Windows and OSX versions of the game. Thanks to all the Linux Beta Testers for their feedback. Much appreciated!
In addition to Linux support, version 1.1 of Shadowrun Returns has moved from Beta to release and the game will automatically update the next time you launch it on Steam. As mentioned in our last update, we also added quite a few new editor features in this release in anticipation of the Berlin campaign. You can find the entire change log here. Our next big code update will feature expanded save game functionality.
In other news, we are doing the final passes on the French, Italian and Spanish versions of the game which will be ready for release in the next few weeks. We anticipate the German and Russian translations to be delivered from our translators in November, and after we do a little in-house testing we will release those as well.
For GMs using the editor to create their own Shadowruns, we’re working on some new tutorial videos for you. We’ll put them up on our YouTube channel in the next couple of weeks.
And while we’re talking about the editor, Jordan and Mitch’s Let’s Play #3: Razor’s Edge by Obsidian_Razor is up on our YouTube channel now. You can grab some popcorn to watch the full version or take a look at the Highlights Reel. We’re very excited about the cool content you’re creating and the boys look forward to playing more of it! And remember, if you subscribe to the channel, you’ll automatically get mail to let you know when a new Let’s Play or tutorial is released.
Onward to Berlin!