There and… Well, Still There: A GenCon Tale by Harebrained Schemes

While Mitch and Jordan are still reveling in GenCon fervor, we thought we’d share a little bit of what’s going on over there for those unable to attend. We’ve been receiving a running influx of updates, from which we can infer the precise details of their morning.

As their day began, they had the pleasure of meeting up with Tom Dowd– one of the original creators of the Shadowrun RPG game. He was flair-clad.

After chatting with Tom (undoubtedly brewing up some secret plot ideas for Shadowrun Returns) Mitch and Jordan headed into the Q&A– but not before Jordan gave a little impromptu seminar in the hallway. We’re pretty sure he never stops working.

As far as the Q&A goes, Mitch and Jordan got to reveal some of our latest project updates. So far, we’ve just shown you a few pieces of high-level concept art for Shadowrun Returns that illustrated the tone of the world. Those were well received (big thanks!) but we know they didn’t reveal much about how the game itself would look in-action. So… here’s a first look at that!

While this is concept art – not a screenshot – it’s representative of the fidelity and art style we’re shooting for. For the uninitiated (or those seeking a quick refresher!) the concept above depicts the infamous Redmond Barrens* of the mid 2050s.

The game environment will be composed of painted 2D elements, so we should be able to deliver the level of detail, depth and expressiveness that you see here. Characters in Shadowrun Returns, on the other hand, are being constructed in 3D – which allows them the fluid movement and wide range of character design and equipment options you’d expect from an RPG. We’ve done a number of tests and the 2D/3D mix feels very natural.

We’re really excited about the direction we’re heading in and the progress we’ve made in the last 3 months. We look forward to showing you more soon!

And if you have any more questions, we’ve got all your answers right here.

*Once an upscale metropolis and techno-haven, the Redmond Barrens now stands as a refuge for the lawless– a safe-haven for those seeking to shed unwanted attention. After the Computer Crash of 2029 and the meltdown of its nuclear power plant, the Redmond Barrens suffered irreparable damage from which it never fully recovered. But despite being renowned for a hefty presence of radiation poisoning and scenic heaps of scrap metal, the Barrens continues to be a surprisingly bustling area—- seedy, but bustling. Essentially, if you’re a wealthy gentleman out for a stroll in the Barrens, assume someone has picked you as a mark within minutes. But if you’re looking for a place to revel in anarchy, and maybe swing by some of Seattle’s most popular nightclubs in the Touristville District, the Redmond Barrens is the place to be. Just don’t drink the tap water.

162 Responses to “There and… Well, Still There: A GenCon Tale by Harebrained Schemes”

  1. Paul B
    August 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Looks Rockin

  2. dennis
    August 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    hmm.. third person over view.. seems a bit 90’s.. over the shoulder view is good.. first person is good too.. not too sure about that view
    nice environment with decient details.

    • Andrew
      August 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      90s is, to an extent, what they’re going for. You’ll get used to it.

    • wes
      August 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      first person? over the shoulder? not for this game buddy boy!!!!!!!
      looks wicked.

    • Paul B
      August 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      Dude it’s a game with turn-based combat. Tactical strategy.
      First person view or over the shoulder is rubbish for that.

    • Wizfall
      August 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      The view is perfect, especially for a TB party based cRPG.

    • DarkLloyd
      August 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      What are you crazy? 3rd person overview or GTFO.

      • Tawakemono
        August 18, 2012 at 4:25 am #

        And here we see the great predator Homo Sapiens Trollus in it’s natural habitat with it’s fondest prey, Homo Sapiens Regeous.

        Watch as it gracefully baits it’s prey and breathes in the sweet tasting anger, savouring the flavour of it’s favorite meal.

        And watch as others of this great predator come to feed on this easy prey and, once the fires of anger have been truly set, sit back and luxuriate in the chaos they have created.


        • Cyron
          August 19, 2012 at 4:57 am #

          That would be Homo sapiens ingentis :)

  3. Andrew
    August 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    When I saw this I said “This looks sexy as hell!” out loud, and grinned like an idiot for about thirty seconds.

    • Andy
      August 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

      I said literally the same sentence, also out loud, upon seeing the image.

      Really love the direction.

    • Dennis
      August 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

      Make that 3 of us! And all I could think of was how much I’m looking forward to jumping into and running around that world!

  4. jim
    August 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    dennis im not sure why you expected different. Seems like it was pretty clear the would be a old school rpg.

  5. Anna
    August 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    “The game environment will be composed of painted 2D elements”


    “Characters in Shadowrun Returns, on the other hand, are being constructed in 3D – which allows them the fluid movement and wide range of character design and equipment options you’d expect from an RPG”

    I thought Moai couldn’t do 3D? Or is it more that you’re doing modelling and animation in 3D, capturing that as 2D stills and importing into the game?

    Looking shiny!

    • Malygon
      August 24, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      I would imagine that the characters are modelled in 3D and then exported to 2D sprites like Indie Stone is doing in Project Zomboid. This makes it easier with equipment and animations. You will have a lot of animations. Imagine deciding that the player can shoot from a prone, crouched and standing position. Then you’d need images for all of those poses in idle animation and with their own shooting animation. That would be 6 animations sets just for that. Then of course we have movements and more… Now lets say everyone of those animations is made off 10 pictures… And that for 4 directions or 8 if you do diagonals. Then you decide you want to add a cowboy hat. You’d need 240 or 480 pictures just for the hat to be shown correctly while perfoming those actions… Later you decide you want your character to be able to vault over certain objects… then you’d need 40 more pictures for every item you have… you can see how that can amount to an extreme number of pictures. Creating your models in 3D and converting that to 2D sprites is just way easier.

  6. johan dipthal
    August 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    @dennis, 3rd person is exactly what I want out of this game. I want fallout 1/2, in shadowrun universe.

  7. Kazakos
    August 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    One word,…Classic! This is exactly what I was hoping for. Great concept, and I can not wait to see the in game shots.

  8. Genome
    August 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    *sigh* It would seem we’re stuck with that character art, so disappointed. Blah.

    Regardless, thank you for sharing guys and girls.

    • SD
      August 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      But the background itself is spot-on, yes? Surely the character art can be tightened up a bit toward “realism”, and away from cartoons which seem not to preserve the grim nature of Shadowrun. Aside from that, the buildings, shanties, rubbish, crumbling buildings, are brilliant!!

      • Genome
        August 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

        Yeah, that stuff is good. I’m afraid that character art is probably here to stay. I don’t like it at all and just brings down everything else for me :/ It’s just hard to be positive about the aspects done right when that character design offends my senses. I’m just one person, if the majority likes it, then it is my problem and not that of HBS and those who appreciate what they’ve been shown and I’m fine with that.

        A lot of people will disagree I’m sure.

        As for me, my excitement has bottomed out for the game :( Thank you for the reply and take care SD…

        • anix
          August 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

          No, I agree. “offends my senses” is a good way to put it. It looks like it was inspired by Team Fortress or something, or if Pixar did Blade Runner. I really don’t want the end result to look like that.

          That said, the environment is perfect in terms of style and content and it in no way makes me less excited for the game.

        • SD
          August 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

          “I’m just one person”

          Dude, read the rest of this thread… nearly all the comments are positive, but a full third agree that the cartoon character look is the only downside. If we raise this issue in the forums discussion, I’m sure RC and Sangius will pass this on. We *know* the team reads the forums, they’re like freakin’ ghosts in the machine. Heck, Jordan even answered one of my questions in the video Q&A. Others agree. We can make it heard.

          They want us to love this game. We just need to keep the message focused as positive feedback!

        • Lewis
          August 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

          Yeah, I tend to agree with you on the character design. It has a kind of Disney look, with Disney proportions, which seems reminiscent of the portfolio of one of Harebrained’s artists I took a look at several months ago. Nothing wrong with the style, per se; it just doesn’t seem like a good fit for Shadowrun. Everything else looks great though. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the game regardless, but I hope these designs are still in the draft/placeholder stage.

        • Wizfall
          August 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

          Very good !
          Well except for the character art.
          It’s not even the cartoony style that bother me.
          The Dwarf need to look more muscular/badass (wharhammer style) IMHO.
          Same thing with the trolls/orks.

        • COFzDeep
          August 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

          I also really LOVE the background art design, this looks just amazing and *exactly* how Shadowrun in my mind always looked like. And yes, I am also not really satisfied with the character-design. Too cartoonish, too clumsy…
          But seeing this absolutely stunning Redmond Barrens, I know that Harebrained Schemes can do other characters, and I really hope they will do so :) don’t loose your faith, Genome, I bet we will get to see some character art soon enough…

        • SD
          September 2, 2012 at 12:36 am #

          New concept art… I feel like they fixed it (in terms of my concerns)! Check out the concept art in the Kotaku article:


    • Fearless Son
      August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

      With respect, it is not simply a matter of aesthetics but of function. Think about the point of view, and about the screen sizes that the game would be running on. It is a concession to the gameplay that characters need to be visible against the background, and their profiles and current actions need to be easy to distinguish from one another at that distance. This requires a certain amount of caricature in, profile, coloration, and animation.

      When you have to get to that point, making it look more “real” will, ironically, make it look worse. Try doing a caricature with something that otherwise looks realistic, and you get a bad Uncanny Valley effect. However, if you do it with something more stylized, it integrates the necessary exaggeration more naturally as part of the style.

      More realistic characters might look good, but the game would have to have a much closer-in perspective for that to work well from a gameplay perspective. On the bright side, that does not mean that more realistic art will not be present. Think about how many tactical RPGs have simplistic character sprites in the level, but more detailed character portraits for dialogue. Such an approach combines the best of both worlds, giving a more detailed appearance that the player’s imagination can then easily project onto the simplified sprites.

      We might expect to see the same thing here.

  9. Orakio "O Gagá" Rob
    August 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Holy s…!

    Maaaaaan, this is absolutely gorgeous! Excellent work, guys!

  10. Jesper
    August 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    That screenshot looks totally amazing and just the kind of atmosphere that I’m looking for as a Shadowrun fan.

  11. Anthony
    August 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Looks amazing!

    @dennis Not sure what you were expecting, but this is exactly what I expected. As a matter of fact, it’s better than I expected. :)

  12. The Old Farmer
    August 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    I like the background and the atmosphere for the Redmond Barrens, but the characters might take a bit of getting used to. They kind of remind me of the rub on decals we used to get in cereal boxes many years ago.

    • smileinbob
      August 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      haha now that you mention it it does kinda have the look of those old rub ons to make your own scene…

  13. Naery
    August 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Alright. I’m about to rip you guys a new one. I know I signed up for an awesome game, and I know you guys like to deliver, but the level of epic is just too damn high. Where will game-dom go from here? You guys are setting a new level of OMG I JUST SOILED MYSELF WITH EXCITEMENT!!! EXCUSE ME!!!

  14. Stiffkittin
    August 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Beautiful screen concept. Translates the painterly look of the Reraku skyline picture into more defined shapes and lines very well. Really hoping you’re able to get some of the weather and environmental effects this image suggests into the game.

    Personally loving how colorful the palette has been so far. Even while maintaining an unmistakably urban theme.

  15. Chuck Kallenbach
    August 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Hi, Tom! Nice to see you’re on this project! Art looks great, guys!

  16. Beckett
    August 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    I saw the art and was like OMG! Then I saw that it wasn’t a screenshot and was like “Awwww.” Still, if it ends up looking anything like that I will be very happy.

  17. Speakingbeast
    August 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    I love it – looks awesome!

  18. Yurt
    August 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Lovely piece of concept art, I hope the final in-game environments can match that.

    The characters however are horrible :(

  19. Blackdove
    August 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Like it a lot. Fits my desired vision. 90s RPG even better!

  20. Orakio "O Gagá" Rob
    August 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    I’ve donated quite a nice amount on kickstarter (60 bucks), but seeing this image I SO wish I had donated US$ 125… man, now I really want that Deluxe edition! Please, re-open Paypal donations so we can donate even more money!!! ^_^

  21. Ben Floyd
    August 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    This is awesome. The atmosphere just screams “Shadowrun!” I can’t wait, you guys! Keep the excitement going!

  22. SD
    August 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Loving the gritty feeling, greyish, downtrodden, and yet still gobsmackingly gorgeous… but I agree that the character art is on the cartoon-side for my tastes.

    Please do adjust that look a tad toward realism, as seen in the Renraku Skyline concept (which BTW is my current wallpaper!)

  23. brobi wan
    August 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Man, this is EXACTLY what I want. I need a good ol’ school pc rpg again. I hope they expand upon that pastel artwork for the backgrouds; you can get excellent and beautiful 2D assets nowadays (a la Magicka, Bastion), that can be easy to make expansions for. 3D character models sound perfect. Waiting for the day I can play it!

  24. Jonathan
    August 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Holy mother of god! If you really can make the game look like this, it will be completely awesome.

    Is there even a remote possibility for this game come to Ouya too?

  25. Sleet
    August 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Awesome work If the game is like this then perfecto.
    This totally reminds me of BladeRunner – except with dwarves, and magic and umm.. anyway. Smashing!

    Loving the art style and more.

    HUGE thumbs-up.

  26. Korron
    August 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Painted 2d environments? F*ck yeah!

  27. MrEntity
    August 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    The cityscape is great, but the characters look totally out of place. Please, please reduce the level of cartoonyness. They are overly bright, and just kind of unreal. Also, aren’t orcs not supposed to be green in Shadowrun?

  28. MrEntity
    August 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    It’s like you’re sticking bad flash animated characters onto a realistic background. Shadowrun is supposed to be dark and gritty.

  29. Ian Welsh
    August 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    For the love of God, please change the character art. Cartoon characters destroy the immersion.

  30. Janra
    August 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Love the bit of art. While I’m sure the camera will be tightened down more for the mobile devices, I’d love to see the game allow for that super zoomed out shot while running full screen on a PC. Being able to take in all that art at once makes my eyes wet with anticipation.

  31. SimianPirate
    August 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    That’s a nice looking piece of environment art! I like the art direction on the characters, too. It really makes them pop out from the environment.

  32. Daze
    August 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I love the painted environment and overall I think it looks awesome. The characters seem slightly out of place but could be due to the lighting in the scene and yellow glow around them. The video seemed really neat and the dwarf model looked more natural in the video. Also, I think I’ve lived in WA in the Seattle area my entire life and I think I’ve seen more umbrellas in this screenshot than I’ve seen in real life lol. P.S. When can I pre-order?

  33. Lance
    August 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    I’m not usually one to comment on updates but I wanted to say your environments excceed my expectations amazing! But the characters are wrong. Very wrong. Not to be harsh about it but you guys are carrying the beacon light for cyberpunk RPGs at the moment and I support you all the way! But the characters have missed the mark, I don’t want to feel like I’m playing bastion or some other bright cartoony game I want to be dark gritty and lurking in an alley waiting for my target, like I said your environment is spot on! This is where gaming should be and I recognize this is only concept art but please change the characters!
    Keep up the great work.

  34. N.R.
    August 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Gotta say I agree re: the character art discussion. The ‘cartoony’ style detracts from the gritty feel I was really hoping for in this game. The background looks lovely, but I would strongly urge the developers to consider making the characters a little darker, grittier, and more realistic. This is, after all, a game targeted largely at mature gamers.

  35. Interloper
    August 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    This is absolutely beautiful, I think the stylized characters work great for such a zoomed out POV and the rim lighting keeps them standing out and noticeable regardless of what they’re wearing.

  36. Roh
    August 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    I envy that dwarf’s dancing skills!

  37. Emeraude
    August 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    As previously said: personally miss the grit and overall darker color scheme, but that’s a personal preference, and I totally enjoy what I’m seeing.

    I’ll stand by the comment I made when concept art was first released though: the scenery pieces and character pieces are both very good individually, but I find they don’t mesh that well together.

    Not that I’ll complain if the end product looks just like that. This is gorgeous stuff.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this, and keep up the good work.

  38. Kinnison
    August 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Concept art for backgrounds: excellent. Hoping we’ll be able to zoom in and out from this, particularly in, and not be set at one area-view-size (as, say, the original X-Com was)

    Character movement: Fluid, dynamic, excellent to date.

    Character modeling: Before I nix the concept on this totally, can we get a figure, even standing still, rotating shot, with some chrome, a weapon of some sort, in DIM lighting? I mean, show us what someone might look like on a run, not dancing under streetlight dressed for a night on the town. Based on what we’ve seen so far, this is less than ideal, but i don’t find it as bad as some of the other commenters… depending on just how much we can customize the look, this could be workable.

  39. Josh
    August 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    That lighting and level of detail are perfect. I can see everything, it all pops, yet it’s obviously night, and feels like a dive. All spot on.

  40. Tecumseh
    August 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Darker! Grittier! Less cartoony! I want 2050s Shadowrun, not 2000 Disney. Why are there white doves? They’d be shot for food. There’s nothing innocent in the Barrens.

  41. blinko
    August 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Phat ‘toons, guys, but it would just thrill my chops to see the grit and atmosphere created by industrial decay reflected in the palette, perhaps by having shadows or darkness wherein those that operate in the underbelly of society might run.

    I’d hate for the most nuanced and subtle elements of this work to be written off because the world too closely resembled a peppy techno-fantasy spin-off of D3 or WoW. I very much look forward to seeing the revision.

  42. JeremyR
    August 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    It’s kind of a tough call, since Shadowrun featured both very realistic artwork (by Tim Bradstreet and to a degree, Rick Harris) and extremely cartoony (Jeff Laubenstein). But I always liked the realistic stuff better myself so I’m not liking the cartoonish characters.

    It looks more like Cool World than Shadowrun to me.

  43. Laurent
    August 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    The backround/city art is spot on =). The characters looks a bit cartoonish and/or arent dark/gritty enough as many people pointed on. But it’s not that big of a deal really. To me in the end it’s all going to be about how the gameplay, the plot and the storyline is going to be.

  44. ryan
    August 17, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    I would love for it to be in 3d instead but maybe later down the road they can do it. This looks good but my biggest worry on the game is how the turn base is going to work. Is part of this going to be a free roam game much like the older ones or is it all turn base?

  45. OldManMerton
    August 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    As iconic as Shadowrun is for cyberpunk lovers…and cyberpunk has *become* pretty synonymous with “dark”, “gritty” etc, I never really saw SR characters as particularly realistic looking 90% of the time.

    I’m not saying some improvement can’t be made, but from a devil’s advocate point of view, I’m curious how many people played the SR:TCG. I absolutely adore the character design on those cards and it has a nice blend of cartoony and hardcore looking characters.

    If this can capture that kind of atmosphere, I’m a-ok with it.

  46. Nate
    August 18, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    I just showed this to a friend and she said “is that the engineer from TF2?” The background is great, but I’d really really prefer more realistic character models.

  47. Risingsun
    August 18, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    That concept art looks absolutely amazing. I have to admit that I had some doubts about what the game would look like, but if you guys reach anywhere near that I am blown away. It looks fantastic and I cant wait to see more.

    Oh, and I love the character models, dont change a thing.

    I like that shot so much that I’m using it as my desktop wallpaper.

  48. nox
    August 18, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    Excellent. This is very much what I was hoping for! Beautiful and atmospheric. You guys rock.

  49. suppafoxe
    August 18, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    this new image is awesome!
    Love it

  50. evsknight
    August 18, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    I first thought it WAS a screenshot – impressive stuff!

  51. anandus
    August 18, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    I LOVE the background, really nice, but the characters are very cartooney. I hope they get more gritty and a bit ‘real’, it seems too much like Shadowrun – Disney Edition. Although the NPC’s (hiding under umbrella’s and newspapers) do look the part.

    But who knows what will happen, it’s still concept art.

    And again: LOVE the background.

  52. Slarkki
    August 18, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    I generally speaking dislike cartoonish elements in graphics (did enjoy Borderlands though despite the grapths) but this looks really good. Even though I am a backer I am not that familiar with Shadowrun so hard to say what this sort of softer touch does for the game. But perhaps not every game needs to be ‘film noir’.

  53. Chay D. Hart
    August 18, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    I actually like this alot. Characters stand out and are /flavorable/ (A must, style is the essence rather than forgettable) absolutely adore the background. The 3d dwarf cracks me up also!

  54. Graeme
    August 18, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    I have to say the scenery looks amazing but the characters look terrible. I loved the original Shadowrun for its edgy dystopian characters and nitty-gritty feel, these models look like they’re from a shiny happy kids game and don’t really fit against the backdrop :(

  55. Tbirch42
    August 18, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    Looks exactly what I signed up and paid for ! Looking forward to it. :)

  56. Tomas
    August 18, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    I love it! I’m really happy to see this direction

  57. McDougle
    August 18, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Exactly what I want! 😀

  58. McDougle
    August 18, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    *except 3d… Id need to see what it looks like ingame*

  59. Jack
    August 18, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    Looks awesome, just the way I like it.

  60. ps
    August 18, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    This looks fucking fantastic.

    So happy you went for 2D hand-painted environments, it really does help set the mood. This level of detail is something you don’t see a lot these days, sadly, with most PC games being half arsed console ports. The character art is fine as well, a bit hard to make out at this resolution. The environments hardly aim for a “realistic” look — whatever that means in this context — so having bloody FMV characters would just look out of place — and as for looking painted-on, well, whaddya expect, they ARE painted on!

    Brilliant work!

    Q: Will the final game run at 1920×1200 natively then?

  61. Johannes
    August 18, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    I love it.

  62. Madcat
    August 18, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    Yet another voice here, echoing the same thoughts as many others.

    Not a fan of the characters, at all. Far too cartoonish. Feels really “wrong” against this magnificent backdrop. Characters need to be darker, more “realistic”. They do not have to turn “film noir” as someone earlier mentioned, but colour and diversity can still be achieved. Who hasn’t daydreamed of Shadowrun where day-glow mohawks and writihing tatoos are commonplace.

    If this is a scene through the Redmond Barrens then why do I get the impression some kids are about to wander in to play with some fluffy kittens (pun intended)? This is supposed to be a really sketchy area…and we have some kind of Disney/Manga lovechild characters adorning it. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I wonder if, perhaps these character models were designed at the same time as the original character sketches that were released. They certainly feel very similar and, if I’m not mistaken, there was quite a uproar then too. Are you guys listening? I hope so.

    That said, the backgrounds are, indeed, exquisite….

    Please! PLEASE!!!! Do something about these characters. Scrap them. They are horrible and childish and I’d be inclined to say that the majority of backers are mature players.

    Sorry for the rant.

  63. McDougle
    August 18, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    Well… I looked at the pics at my pc… and I have to go along with the masses:

    The characters look modern(I like that), but way too cartoonish. I hope they blend in better at the end.

  64. Chris
    August 18, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    Awesome guys! Great concept art! Love the chars, i find they are fitting perfectly into the environment!

  65. Jonathan
    August 18, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    Amazing! Love the art style. It’s refreshing.

    It’s nice to take a break from all the 3D games I have been playing. Can’t wait to play the actual game. :)

  66. evilcandybag
    August 18, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    While I agree that a cartoonish character design might not be the optimal depiction of the SR look and feel, keep in mind that this game is designed to be playable for both tablets and PCs.
    Given the small screen size of your typical tablet (~10″), a realistic character design would have a hard time communicating the same expressiveness as a simpler, more ‘cartoonish’ design. I believe that with great animation and attention to detail, this design might really pull the SR feel through, while there’s a great risk that a realistic design would feel bland.

  67. Drew B
    August 18, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    I’m in the ‘More “dark and gritty”, less “cartoony”‘ camp. I realize this is simply concept art, but those character models have to go. I really hope the final product doesn’t contain this same “Disney on downers” feel. I’m sure the final result will remedy this, but what I’ve seen so far hasn’t conveyed (to me) the same mood present in the SNES game.

    I have faith that they’ll go with something a little more Fallout 1&2, and a lot less TLoZ: Wind Waker.

  68. Christoph Wagner
    August 18, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    One more voice for “Wow, the background and props look absolutely awesome!” and “You don’t plan on using those children cartoon characters you have there right now, right?”

  69. Beemer
    August 18, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    I like the art. The look/feel is spot on, though I hope ya’ll go with more ‘realistic’ character art. Lose the cartoon look, it just looks out of place on that backdrop! Aside from that, here’s my concern with the 2d Choice:

    Being a turn-based strategy type game, situational awareness is important, thus the need to be able to see the environment at all angles. 2d, as far as I’m aware, will not allow this. So we’re stuck with a FIXED camera from that angle, no rotating, and most likely no zoom/unzoom feature. That remained one of the flaws of the old 2d RPG series out there back in the day. Great games! Awesome Games! But there were times you couldn’t see ‘hidden’ elements worth anything because the monster (or npc) was hidden by a wall or something.

    So…I know ya’ll are still in concept stage….at least, I hope you are, so it’s not too late! Consider 3d so we can rotate our camera, zoom and unzoom, and basically see all we need to see in order to make better decisions for the next round of combat! A lot of the good remakes did this. Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, and the upcoming remake of XCom (which I am quite excited about). I really think it would do Shadowrun justice!

  70. Blackstaff
    August 18, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I find it awesome and perfect as it is :)

  71. Dj Beo
    August 18, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    i just wanna throw in my agreement with the many, that something needs to be done about characters.
    While i still am a WoW player, and it does not bother me there one bit, but i think that the more “hands-on” races like Orks, Trolls and dwarfs, really loose their feel, that they had when i played shadow run for the first time about 20 years ago.

    So please, consider to overhaul the character styles.

    Apart from that, i am still excited, and the general scenarios seem to be looking great.

  72. Thomas
    August 18, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    The backgrounds looks amazing. If the final game looks like that, it will be one of the most gorgeous games ever. Truly fantastic.

  73. ProCosom
    August 18, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Wow, amazing art! Just keep going guys, those 2 Shadowrun (Return & Online) shall be amazing!!! This is exactly the kind of art I was hoping for! Hope the world/levels/missions will not be too linear; so far, everything looks perfect to me!

    I love 2D/3D overview games; wayyyy too much 3D since few years. I’m still missing (and playing once in a while) Worms2, Close Combat 3, 4 & 5… from 1998!!! And my favorite game ever is clearly Civilization 4 (Shadowrun on the NES is in my Top 10!).

    Bravo et vous avez tout le support du Québec!!!

    Mat from

  74. AC1DS74R
    August 18, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    “offends my senses” puts it lightly when describing a game that raised so much money in such a small period of time. I myself pledged a couple hundred dollars to see this happen, and to be honest, after seeing the charactor concept artwork, I feel robbed. I wish i could take it all back and would have dropped it on shadowrun online. to be honest, i feel that if this concept art came out first instead of the OTHER art you guys were showing on your kickstarter, you probably wouldn’t have raised half the cash you did.

    i’m left wondering who the HELL decided it was time for a change in the art? the environment looks amazing, perfect, spectacular. the charactor art has got to go. especially the orc and trolls, I thought this game was “for the fans”. the fans want shadow run. they don’t want want some attempt at “timeless artwork” that doesn’t outdate.

    yet, somehow, with the way the gaming industry is these days, I totally expected something like this. i should have acted on my wits and not on my hopes.

    “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be”

  75. Heavy
    August 18, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Characters still too cartooney. Fix it please.

  76. Janzir
    August 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Awesome Sauce!

  77. Ollie_B
    August 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Wow,…the environment…looks great!
    Characters…well…I think, I could get used to them…but I wouldn’t complain, if your artists would slightly overwork them 😉

    No, seriously…I like what I see!

  78. Ollie_B
    August 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    by the way…that dancing dwarf reminds me somehow on Tom Cruise in “Tropic Thunder” ;D

  79. Nate
    August 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    I agree with a lot of what people are saying and just wanted to add to the choir:

    The environment looks great and does a good job of evoking Shadowrun.

    The character design, however, does not. Make it more darker and foreboding, like the Genesis/SNES games, please!

    Less Disney, more Shadowrun!

  80. Reynard
    August 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    This piece of concept art is beautiful, vibrant, and full of life.

    Aside from the extremely large influence that Bladerunner had on the aesthetics of the genre, Cyberpunk was largely constrained to literature such as the seminal Nueromancer and pen and paper games such as Shadowrun; Which is to say our imaginations.

    What we have been presented here is a new direction for the neon drenched cityscapes of cyberpunk . I am so on board with the art direction of this game, and who better to present us with a new vision of the world than one of the original creators of Shadowrun themselves.

  81. Lee
    August 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    If the game mechanics make up for where the the character art fails I’ll be happy. PLEASE GIVE MUCH CHARACTER CUSTOMIZATION, PLEASE!

  82. Tommando
    August 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I like it a lot, including the character art.

  83. AJDelvay
    August 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Like many others have said, the background is suburb, but the characters are too cartoony and not how I picture the world of Shadowrun. It seems you’re already set on going this direction but I hope you consider at least dialing back the cartoonyness a little bit. I don’t expect you to shift into full on realism, but a compromise would be greatly appreciated.

  84. Lee
    August 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    The cartoon characters are out of place and they really take away from the atmosphere. I’m very depressed by the fact I’ve waited about 20 years for a good shadowrun video game just to get DISNEY’S SHADOWRUN (c)

  85. Lee
    August 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    So………………. is this going to be a musical?

  86. Lee
    August 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Ok, I’m sorry. I’m sure after some beer and a little counseling I could get used to it. The art aside I really hope that the game mechanics are top notch though I do realize you can only do so much with the engine you are using. Please don’t mess it up or I’m contracting a street samurai!! -goes back to playing Deus Ex

  87. Greadle
    August 19, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    I’m a big fan of the 2d background art. In many ways, the level of detail in 2d environments is still much higher than even in the most fancy 3d engines, so I definitely support that decision, even if it means there will be no camera zoom and rotation.

    Like so many others, though, the character art doesn’t convince me. Personally, I am a big fan of Shadowrun artists like Jim Nelson, Mark Zug, Paul Bonner or even John Zeleznik. While these artists in no way stand for a “realistic” approach to Shadowrun character design, they certainly were not cartoony either. So, by all means, make it colorful, ignore realism, but please rethink that too cartoony approach!

  88. cptn. hook
    August 19, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    Backround is perfect, but characters need to get rid of cartoonish look. Remember your art from kickstarter? Those characters would be in harmony with backround. After all it’s Shadowrun Returns, not Epic Mickey in Shadowrun.

  89. Milkman Leeroy
    August 19, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    This is my new desktop backround.

    I love love LOVE this design!! The characters look amazing too.

    For those who say it resembles disney art… no. Not even close.

    Don’t change a thing!!

  90. Spica
    August 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    So Shaman=Troll, Decker=Dwarf, Rigger=Ork, Street Sam=Human, Combat Mage=Female Elf?

    I’m also going to have to agree that the character designs need to be changed to look more Shadowrunny. They’re all to clean cut and brightly colored. The dwarf, rigger and street sam aren’t too bad (the sam looks a little too 2070 though). The two spellcasters need to be completely redesigned.

  91. Dr. Gonzo
    August 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Any concerns regarding visual style have been eradicated. This looks phenomenal.

  92. CreepyKin
    August 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    RE: “characters…. are being constructed in 3D.” I was hoping the dev team would take the route of absurdly detailed 2D sprites for the graphics. But I trust FASA… err, I mean, HBS to do right by Shadowrun.

  93. Blastedw0lf4
    August 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Amazing Concept….dystopian to the maxx….can’t wait to see the Matrix!

    keep up the good work!

    Dan from Jersey

  94. Plut
    August 20, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    Stunning. This looks better than I envisioned, better than expected, and exactly what I’d want to play.

    Thanks for the update (and new wallpaper)!

  95. Poops
    August 20, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    The background is stunning. Unfortunately, the character art sticks out like a sore thumb. That shaman in the middle of the pic looks like he just left the costume contest at Blizzcon.

  96. Waldy
    August 20, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    I absolutely LOVE the image. If the art style matches this, I’ll be very pleased. It’s just like the SNES version but polished and updated beautifully. I personally dig the character style as well. I don’t think the game requires realistic character styling or anything like that. It may be jarring to some people at first, but I imagine they’ll get used to it. Can’t wait for the release guys.

  97. Sorwen
    August 20, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Looks great and I can’t wait to see how the game actually turns out. You may have thought of this, but if possible it would be cool if some of the Neon signs “moved”. Where part of the neon sign turns off/on to make it seem like it is moving. For instance the lady could be “kicking” her other leg and the fish could be diving.

  98. Tyler Morrison
    August 20, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    The setting looks amazing and very Shadowrun. The characters look like something from pathfinder and while they have very good detail and I love the sorta outline they have the style does not really fit. More realism and dark gritty cyberpunk goodness for the characters!

    We want more this:

    Not this:

    Please hear the fans plea for character art!

    • Tyler Morrison
      August 20, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      I said Pathfinder in my post where I should have said Team Fortress 2, Pathfinder actually has more realistic looking characters than this.

    • Tyler Morrison
      August 20, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Give us the best of both worlds! Keep the armor colorful and detailed like pictured but shrink their body parts down to a normal size!!

      • CreepyKin
        August 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

        I’m sure they’ll find a happy median. It’s still just concept art, after all.

  99. Lee
    August 20, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Sorry guys, I’m with Morrison on this. at least tone it down some!

  100. Sitasan
    August 20, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Hi all,

    First: thx for the update, it is always welcome.

    Second: I definitly love the environment, it is awesome, like a cranial bombe in…blabla 😉

    Third: i’d prefer if the art designers change a bit the character, i mean it s a way too cartoonish.

    and like MUN (my upstairs neighborg)
    We want more this:

    Not this:

  101. Sitasan
    August 20, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    after counting the comments here is the results of :

    like the character VS dislike the character

    like = 32

    Dislike = 45

    i could made some mistake but i think im near the truth.

    So, because the one that complain come more fast to comment than the one that like, i think it s pretty near 50/50

    lol what they will choose? change the character art or not? im wondering 😉

  102. Lee
    August 20, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    If we are stuck with this then I’m sure someone will figure out a way to re-skin the characters. I just don’t want to be unsatisfied with something I’ve paid so much money (that I really didn’t have in the first place) on a game I’ve had such high hopes for. I’m sorry if I have a lack of faith in the character art, it looks good but I was just expecting something different I guess. I still hope you guys realize a lot of people are not going to like this. All of the above said, Thanks for making this game anyway.

  103. Lee
    August 20, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    I also want to know if you can mix classes and races, anyone with the answer can spam the poop out of me at

    • Sitasan
      August 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      must be taken into account:

      you have not paid for the game to be made ​​according to your every wish, but they make a shadowrun game on the nearest of to the initial universe, and, during development, eventually they will listen to our opinion in order to improve it.

      I think it’s important not to burn yourself and especially not to think of us as the pple that are the boss of hairbrained.

      im sur that Jordan and Mitch and CO will do the better work possible in this reality.

      it s not onyl for you, it s a humble general advice, for me as well

  104. Lee
    August 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    what do you mean burn myself? if you speak how you write, I bet people are even more confused in person. I’m just bummed out that the character art is nonsense. I’m sure the mechanics will be fine but a lot of people and myself are going to be staring at this for a vast amount of hours and I just wish it was a little easier on the eyes.

  105. Dr. Gonzo
    August 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Character models look good to me. I’m a little surprised I’m in the minority on this one.

  106. Jen Zee
    August 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    I, for one really enjoy the take on the characters! These are certainly more readable than anything “hyper-realistic” might be. Great job guys, looks fantastic and can’t wait to see everything in it’s full in-engine glory!

  107. Emeraude
    August 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    I’d like to think the problem is bit more complex than simply like/don’t like.

    There’s people like me (I’ve seen at least one present the exact same point on the Kickstarter page) who actually like both character and environment art, but find they don’t work that well when put *together*.

    I like blue cheese, I like Nutella, both are good if you’re into that kind of things, there’s no disputing that, but I wouldn’t put the two of them together in the same sandwich.

  108. JelloM
    August 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Great concept art! It looks great. Really love the characters and detailed environment. If the final game looks half this good then I can’t wait to get my hand on it.

    I for one love what you guys are doing, don’t change a thing!

  109. Lee
    August 21, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Other than the character art.

  110. Desmond
    August 21, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Well I like the character art but I don’t think it is good for this game setting, love the city art though! Lee you are kind of an ass but I agree.

  111. Lee
    August 21, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Right,pretty speech sir!

  112. TheBobs
    August 21, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Seriously, guys, what is UP with these character models? Why are they glowing?! Isn’t this SHADOWrun? The blokes running around with umbrellas would make for better ‘runners. At least they don’t have a spotlight following them around wherever they go like the Eye of God.

    The chap in the orange robe looks like the crone from Snow White. Is that one guy blue? And waving around an automatic rifle? Is Cap’n OrangePants going to lose some infiltration dice for his bad fashion decisions? Please, veer away from the comical and toward the dystopian future of 2050.

  113. Lee
    August 21, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    the characters are complete bollox but re-shaded they wouldn’t be as eye-pokingly horrific.

    • Sitasan
      August 21, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      sorry lee, im french born language, not english.

      and even with google, i have a poor english i know that, i only wanted to told you “relax yourself, and i apply the same to me.

      forget my comment it will be fine and sorry about this 😉

      • Lee
        August 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

        I didn’t mean to insult you and I feel bad now. Sorry dude!

  114. AXXO
    August 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Yeah, if the characters were at least reshaded I could live with that and lose the unsightly corona around the characters we are supposed to be lurking the shadows with!

  115. Lee
    August 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Wait, are you the (real) “AXXO”??

  116. Lee
    August 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    You are like batman of the internet.

  117. Desmond
    August 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    I meant no disrespect toward the art team nor do I think anyone els does I think you guys are doing an awsome job and I think the game will be good either way but I would make the charators a bit less bright thats all

  118. Lee
    August 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Sitasan, you have far more patience than I will ever have and I commend you.

    • sitasan
      August 25, 2012 at 3:43 am #

      Hey Lee,

      You are a nice person, there is no problem between us, after all, we are part of the best community in tha world. 😉

      Thx for the reply.


  119. Flip|Jay
    August 22, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    I fully expect the ‘we got all your answers right here’ link to be a picture of someone flipping up his middle finger. Anywayz – that non screenshot screenshot really draws you in. Very satisfying level of detail, quirked little characters. Luvvit.

  120. Jack
    August 22, 2012 at 6:16 am #

    Im repeating myself here… I love the background, but yeah, as some other people pointed out, the character-artwork here looks way too cartoony. I want gritty, half-realistic imagery here, not “wowish”-styled dudes who all look like they belong in a comicbook.

    • Flip|Jay
      August 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      I didn’t fullscreen the image before, but now that you say it – yeah, I do agree.

  121. praguepride
    August 22, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    I too would prefer “less-cartoony” or “less-wowy” character art. The background is spot on but the character’s in their bright colors and quirky proportions just don’t seem to fit.

    I think if they just darken the palette a bit it would look better. People don’t normally dress in bright gaudy clothes, especially in cyberpunk settings. More dark and leather yes yellow and cell-shaded.

  122. Zamion
    August 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I would like to add my voice toward the less cartoony style, I would perfer darker mor somber color schemes, more realistic styles and porportions, Id reather not all of the chars be these cartoony styles its just your making shadowrun not secret of mana, when i think shadowrun video games i think of the face of harlaquin staring at me , the broke down woman in her hotel room getting blasted by uzi weilding creeps and angery dwarf coffin hotel owners giving me the evil eye as i buy my dead brothers stuff. I think of vampires and cloked assassins corprate goods that look like roid raging cops that want me dead…..I dont think quirky bouncy movements or dancing people that arent jacked up on 2XS chips and drugs. please dont make it a cartoon art style its just not shadowrun in the slightest to me.

  123. Lee
    August 23, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I didn’t mean to insult the art team at all and I’m sorry for my harsh judgment on the character art, as Sitasan said I need to learn to be patience. I leave this to better people than I. Keep up the good work!

  124. Megaleif
    August 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Less cartoony, more source art-y! Get back to the 2050s drawing type.

  125. Megaleif
    August 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    The pics on the kickstarter site were old sourcebook art and such, and that was amazing. That¨s what we signed up for on character design! If it´s not possible to use it for 3d, at least do character portraits in that style that¨s used in the dialogue scenes or such.

  126. Baldurs
    August 24, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Don’t like the style of characters. WOW and Disney style and colors out. More seriously and darker!

  127. Jean
    August 26, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Looking good. Now just make it a fps with a shitty engine, then we got ourselves a game. trollolol

  128. Jay
    August 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Cityscape looks great. I too would like to reiterate the desire for less cartoony characters.

  129. Janzir
    August 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Backgrounds are amazing. However, the character art has got to go. This isn’t Saturday morning cartoon/manga vision. Nowhere in Shadowrun history has the character are been portrayed cartoonish. This really, really needs to be fixed.

    • Janzir
      August 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      *character art.

  130. Zolt
    August 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    I like the style of the Dwarf – as far as I can see he’s the only character which has an actual 3d model yet – the others look like hand drawn concept art to me. I expect most characters will look a lot less cartoonish when they make the leap to 3d. The bright colors are mostly just a result of cutting and pasting the characters into a 2d picture – making things looks a lot more seamless in the actual game engine shouldn’t be a problem in due time.

    Keep in mind that they have to keep the models reasonably low poly for this to run on all platforms so we just can’t expect ultra-realistic characters. It’s going to look a bit warcraft-y and blocky, but let’s just not overdo it.

    • Zamion
      August 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

      I think your right about not being to high graphic and pixel to work on all systems to be offered for but sega and snes were lower end than an Ipad 1 or most droid phones ever made. people like myself are just trying to get it across before things are finalized that we would perfer anouther style of art.
      At least thats what im saying.

  131. Sarang
    September 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Ummm the background I can kinda see but the major characters really look off in that world, especially if they’re the runners.
    I agree that the people with the umbrellas look right but why does everyone else look more like they were transplanted from a Saturday morning cartoon?

  132. Mbourgon
    September 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    A bit too cartoony, agreed. While it’s not R.Tal’s Cyberpunk, neither should it be quite so cartoony.