Post-PAX Post: Our First In-Game Assets Revealed!

Hey everyone!

We’ve been heads-down on Shadowrun Returns for three-ish months now and it’s time to share some images that show you what we’re shooting for from a visual point-of-view. If you’ve seen the recent Kotaku article, you’ve gotten a taste of what we’ve been doing lately, but we thought we’d flesh it out a bit for you.

Just to remind everyone what we’re up to, Shadowrun Returns is a story-based tactical role-playing game for desktop computers and tablets that was excessively (and wonderfully) funded by fans on Kickstarter.

Our goal is to create a game that reflects the original tabletop RPG’s narrative and tactical detail, and acts as the spiritual successor to the groundbreaking Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Shadowrun games from way back in the 90’s.

When we started our Kickstarter campaign, we had a much more modest game in mind. But as the funding grew by a factor of five, our aspirations (and our Backers’ expectations) grew by an even larger multiple. We’re working very hard to meet (and maybe even exceed) those higher expectations.

One of the game’s largest growth factors was the change from a top-down to an isometric point of view, which is much more dynamic but also much more expensive to create. We explored several different methods to bring the rich details of the Shadowrun world to life in an isometric POV and settled on a hybrid approach that merges 2D environments and 3D characters.

The 2D background allows us to deliver a level of detail, depth, and expressiveness that we think will capture the tone we’re working toward, while the characters’ 3D structure allows for fluid movement, and a wide range of character design and equipment options. Based on the number of tests we’ve done, we think the 2D/3D mix is really working well.

Shadowrun is all about the characters, so let’s talk about them first.

Shadowrun Returns features turn-based tactical action. During action sequences like data heists or infiltration missions, you control a team of shadowrunners, pitting them against antagonists ranging from powerful individuals to a small army.

Therefore, your point-of-view needs to be far enough to give you a commanding view of the “battlefield”. If you’re able to see that many characters at once, our models need to be low-poly enough to render lots at the same time while also rendering a rich environment on a variety of devices. These choices resulted in character models of roughly 2,000 polys each.

We’ve already released some character design concept art but this is the first time we’re showing real-live-game-res models of player characters available in the game.

This “glory shot” image uses our in-game models, but we’ve added in some effects (lighting, a little painting in the background, etc.) to sex it up a bit. The gear and the outfits they’re wearing are among the many options we plan to have available for your player characters in the game.

In Shadowrun Returns, you’ll be able to create characters of both sexes for any of the meta-human races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Ork, and Troll) in a variety of skin colors. From the core of these 10 models, you can select gear appropriate for your character’s skill concentration (Street Samurai, Decker, Mage, Shaman, Rigger, or Physical Adapt). You’ll also be able to choose apparel that’s appropriate for the location of your mission (or just to look cool).

The result is an enormous variety of character customization combinations which will keep growing even after the game launches.

Today we’re showing just a couple of these character combinations via individual character sheets which display (from left to right) the concept art for the character, the in-game model without enhancement, and a glory shot of the in-game model with a little sexing up. Over the next several of months we’ll release more of these character sheets as the models are finished.

So where do these characters live, work, and die? Glad you asked. The next couple of images represent our visual target for the exterior environments in Shadowrun Returns.

All these scenes where built with actual game assets, but they were assembled in Photoshop rather than the game engine (which is still in development). The art team added a couple of bells and whistles which we hope make it into the game (like the localized lighting effects) but overall this is the look that we are shooting for on desktop computers and tablets.

The Stuffer Shack scene is composed with the actual in-game character models so you can get a sense of how the 2D environments and 3D characters merge. The art team took a little liberty with the posing of the characters (which might not be quite as dynamic given that it’s a turn based game) but we think it’s within the realm of their creative license. The scene roughly depicts our camera zoom level on tablet. When playing on a desktop machine, you’ll be able to set your window to show a larger scene. (Time to invoke a classic game development caveat: this zoom level, like most elements of our design, is subject to change.)

The Redmond Barrens scene illustrates a simulated nighttime environment. The game won’t feature a dynamic day and night cycle but we plan to depict areas in daytime and nighttime as appropriate for the story and missions—giving you the opportunity to lurk in the shadows and to brazenly walk about, as you see fit.

The final environment image shows a partial “exploded” view of the Redmond Barrens scene to illustrate how it was assembled via our tiles. Remember, we’re releasing the level editor for Shadowrun Returns so you can create your own interior and exterior environments and your own missions/stories to share with your friends or the entire Shadowrun Returns community.

We want to give you the tools to be a Shadowrun Game Master and to create the cool environments, the sophisticated NPC logic, and the engaging dialog interactions you need to bring your stories to life (without having to write code or learn a scripting language). It’s something we love about tabletop gaming and something we’re dedicated to delivering.

Thanks for tuning in and checking on our progress. We’re having a blast working our asses off on the game and thank you all sincerely for the opportunity.

163 Responses to “Post-PAX Post: Our First In-Game Assets Revealed!”

  1. Eliza
    September 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    In the game model of the female mage archetype I notice a vague rendering of camel toe. No, dudes. No to the camel toe.

    • Aegis
      September 3, 2012 at 10:18 pm #


    • Roh
      September 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

      Gotta say I’m not really seeing it. That that is just a light fold in what is what is supposed to be loose cloth. Then again I could be wrong and it could totally be just as you say. Either way setting seriousness aside…


      Cant believe you actually typed that!

    • Keyrock
      September 4, 2012 at 4:43 am #

      Hey, if you’re female and you’re going to wear skin tight pants then camel toe is gonna happen, that’s just a fact of life.

      • Einstein9073
        September 4, 2012 at 10:58 am #

        They actually make a clothing item for people concerned about the dreaded toe. Google “camel toe protector” – there’s a dozen.

    • FlashbackJon
      September 4, 2012 at 8:54 am #

      That’s actually just the center edge of the model. Due to the way models are built (around a center line of symmetry) and the way shadows are rendered (into concave spaces), you will almost always see that, *especially* in low-poly work. It’s literally inescapable unless you grossly distort the model in a way that will only draw MORE attention to it.

      Noticing it is understandable, though.

    • Mac
      September 4, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      Either way I sonst See an Problem 😉

    • BluM
      September 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      Why do people these days even bother to comment on these things. Damn kids *shakes fist*. You shouldn’t have been looking there in the first place. Not cool.

    • Zamion
      September 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Your anti-camel toe propaganda should not be spread around these parts! besides its realistic as it gets that a girl wearing tight pants might have something show through hahahaha

      Looks good and I cant wait , I just hope char creation allows for huge diversity and all npc mages and such dont all look the same. Keep up the good work and if you want please make them a bit less cartoony more classic fasa style art less DBZ, its a dark dystopian world where the guy wearing the 3 peice suit is probaly responsible for the deaths of more people than gang in the barrens,
      Ive seen other commenters wanting the game to get and “M” rating and I can only second that , I want to be selling drugs getting joy girls to pay up for their pimps and have the option to shoot an NPC in the face graphicly if i dont mind the heat for doing so. Lets make this a mature harsh world …..please……and more cammel Toe!

    • Claw
      September 9, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      Way to pay very close attention to detail.

  2. Fearless Son
    September 3, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    Awesome! All I have to say is this:

  3. Nim
    September 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    The posing COULD be that dynamic, though; however the character was posed when they ran out of points is how they look until their turn comes up again, with no changes made until then, so a character mid-run stays mid-run, and if they’re shot/interrupted their animation reflects it when their turn comes up again, even if they’re dead. It would make for a neat, hitherto untried compromise between real-time and turn-based. Or not. Art looks awesome, guys.

  4. Woodler
    September 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Looks gorgeous. Keep it up.

  5. AK
    September 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    I must say I am disappointed by the choice to give characters cartoonishly short legs. This is a serious game and deserves some serious art. The troll for example: the concept art is awesome yet the model looks like his legs would break under his own weight.

    I strongly encourage you to consider your mature audience and make the game look real and gritty. This is not a Pixar film. This is not a children’s game.

    I expect an “M” rating and some harsh reality. I already gave you my money.

    • Chuck
      September 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      AK, I’ve always pictured Shadowrun cartoony. Mostly because the world is completely absurd. It’s hugely enjoyable but also pretty ridiculous stuff, magic, goblinizing, native Americans using magic, etc.

      • David
        September 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

        I kindly disagree. Like AK, I would much prefer a less cartoony style. I remember playing Shadowrun for SNES as a kid and really immersing myself in a world that felt realistic and grim, yet out of this world. The was humor, but the characters didn’t disobey the laws of physics (other than being huge, sometimes). I simply can’t take a story very seriously if the characters look like cartoon characters. It’s mostly the small legs of the orc and troll, though. I have nothing against the colorfulness of the game, and the environments look fantastic.

      • Freesight
        September 4, 2012 at 5:42 am #

        Standing with AK and David on this one, there’s humor in Shadowrun, but it is a chaotic and sad world in truth. Not as grim as Cyberpunk you will tell me, but it’s so violent a world that DocWagon have their hands full at all time.

        One of the major flaw (among many others) on the Xbox Shadowrun shooter, was their character models having cartoonish traits. An orc or a Troll is massive… think of Michael Clarke Duncan if you want to see Troll-like massive person and he didn’t have wimpish legs.

    • Nim
      September 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      I’m sure someone else would appreciate your gifts and copy of the game if you don’t like it. Remember, you didn’t buy a game, you gave a company money so they could make a game for everyone else to play. All the company did was promise you gifts in return.

      • Badmojo
        September 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

        I am also with the complaint department on the cartoony direction. I think the problem is that they flat out said the game was going to be mature, however it is hard to take that seriously with the cartoon look. Now, they MIGHT be able to pull it off, but doubtful. Also, do the characters even bleed? That will help factor in if its actually a mature game or not. This honestly does look like something that would be made for kids and not adults.

        • Ryonin
          September 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

          OMG I no rite? Cartuns R 4 kidz. Watz wit all da fantasy shiz? I dint pey 4 fantessi crap.

          Honestly, folks, stylization does not a children’s game make. This is not call of duty tactics all in tones of gray and brown. They made some stylistic choices that are completely appropriate, and give the game a lot of character that the gritty “realistic” games simply do not have.

          All we had to do was look at the company’s other work to see what kind of stylistic choices they would make.

          • David
            September 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

            I don’t think anyone complained about the colors. It’s the disproportionate characters that make it “cartoony”.


            That’s my only complaint. Otherwise I love the visuals.

          • Freesight
            September 4, 2012 at 5:44 am #

            Again with David, just the disproportions that bugs me, the rest is great… except for the Camel Toe maybe 😀

          • Rafael Mendonça
            September 4, 2012 at 9:33 am #

            Looks like Shadowrun style and design will be based on Rapper’s Anatomy:
            sad LOL

    • Enlil
      September 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

      I also would have not funded a cartoon game and was hoping for a dark and serious game.

      • Maz
        September 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

        +1 from me. I also don’t want it to be too cartoonish.

    • JIB
      September 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

      I think the problem isn’t that they look like cartoon, its just how goofy. A lot of the art in the Shadowrun books is cartoony but it typically wasn’t goofy.

    • EML
      September 4, 2012 at 1:24 am #

      Couldn’t have put it better myself, AK: I’m looking for the “M” feel. This is far, far too cartoon-y for my taste. Let me remind the developers: did Shadowrun for SNES or Genesis have this feel? Or was it as dark and gritty as video games could be, at the time?

      Do not make a children’s game with the Shadowrun brand.

    • CertusRaven
      September 4, 2012 at 6:47 am #

      Indeed. That’s not even funny, they’re just looking like thair legs stopped growing in the age of 12 (except that orcs grow mature faster). At least make it a exceptionand let the majority not look like poor, crippled disney-marvel mashups.
      Harsh words, but I want them be heard. Fluffy “all-nice,-but” doesn’t work here.

    • Sorwen
      September 4, 2012 at 8:21 am #

      I have to agree with the fact the concept art looks better than the models. The disproportional bodies look out of place. I’m the most disappointed between the Female Mage concept vs character. That concept character looks great, but the model really looks disproportionate and clunky. It isn’t horrible and looks technically well done so it seems it could have been done closer to the concept.

    • Rafael Mendonça
      September 4, 2012 at 8:30 am #

      Standing with AK, David and Freesight. It’s sad that the staff can’t (or don’t know how) to design and draw beyond cartoonishly model. This game shouldn’t be designed like Strikefleet Omega (that is a good game, by the way). I really hope they take our opinions in consideration. :/

    • Sorwen
      September 4, 2012 at 8:46 am #

      Also don’t forget to say this stuff on the forums as well.

    • Picador
      September 4, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      I follow on AK, David and Freesight,
      SNES and Genesis music compositor were added as milestone because those games are seen as what a Shadowrun game should be. What was advertised and made it possible to go over 1.8 million was that vision. I sincerely hope the direction will be corrected to something more in line with what is expected. The background and feel look great though. But the legs…

    • Brannoc
      September 4, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      I have to agree as well. If you look at the concept art the legs are fine but when you look at the 3d model the legs look ridiculous. I will say that it bothers me less on the tiny isometric view but still the Trolls Bicep should not be twice the diameter of his calf.

  6. Greg
    September 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    You really have to be looking for it, and the darker shade could just as easily be shadows from the folds in her pants. Seems like you are reaching a bit.

  7. Amoro
    September 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Looking great guys! I can’t wait for this game to be released. I’ve been dying for a tactical turn-based RPG. Fallout and Silent Storm were the last ones I can remember. I’m not sure this is possible but it would be nice to have small physics effects like Silent storm like breaking doors/windows, and blowing up furniture.

  8. David
    September 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Looks great! It’s almost like looking at a modern version of the SNES Shadowrun! The orc looks much better with the pinkish skin, and the more serious face. My only complaint would be the characters still are quite cartoony, or caricature:ish if you will. With the disproportionate legs and such. I’d rather see something more serious. The rest, though, I love. Keep it up!

  9. Zolt
    September 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    @Eliza : You’re imagining things…

    @HBS: Awesome! – I’m now even more excited if that was possible.

    How about face / hair customization for characters, will there be at least a few models to choose from?

  10. JIB
    September 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    The game models look a lot better than the original concept art but why does the ork and troll look like they have a mouth full of glass?

  11. Graham
    September 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I’d like to cancel out AK’s point by voting for the opposite. I like the current style and think the approach is pretty cool. Please continue… I already gave you my money 😉

  12. Vinrod
    September 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    For some reason it reminds me somewhat of Torchlight. :-\ That would be disappointing.

  13. Adam
    September 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Here’s a strange question: I hate games that pander to the audience, like latex-clad female assassins and booty-shot camera angles. However, I’m also an adult who doesn’t like when people break the verisimilitude of a world when it comes to sexuality (I’m still mad at Skyrim for being a rated-M emersion game where you can decapitate enemies and see mutilated bodies, but can’t actually sleep with you wife.)

    Using that as context, my question is this: What will be the place of sexuality in the game? You’ve got a picture up there of a Redmond Barrens with girl-shaped neon advertisements, but what does that actually mean as far as the play experience goes?

    • Badmojo
      September 3, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

      That is one of the things that I am skeptical about. A lot of people use mature as PR spin, but in the end it just means PG 13 stuff. Skyrim is a good example, I did not see anything that justified it receiving a mature label. There was a few token almost mature bit that you had to read between the lines to get it, like a book written in victorian times.

      • Chris
        September 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

        Go play Witcher or Witcher2 then… There you can sleep with EVERYONES wife 😉 Considering that I’m European… The American version has been censored -of course-Anyways, as far as the novels suggest, sexuality is present in the world of Shadowrun and yep, to some extend I’d think it would contribute to a more wholesome game-world if it would take a role in the game aswell. Maybe optional 😉 But people seem to be flipping for a non visional camel-toe already. To finally bring up as many people against me as possible: I approve the style of the characters and do think that they are still neutral enough to come up with a dark and gloomy game -story-wise-. Keep up the good work, I’m still happy with helping to fund the project!

  14. Badmojo
    September 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    It looks good, the NPC’s look MUCH better than the earlier work. However, with that said, I am also with crowd who are complaining that it is too cartoony and not gritty/realistic enough. It’s hard to take seriously that this is supposed to be a mature game when it will look like this. This is something I would honestly expect from disney and not shadowrun. Don’t get me wrong, it IS nice, but not what I was hopping for. I blame WOW for everybodys love for cartoon games. Next old school mature kickstarter game that comes up, I am going to ask if they are going cartoony with the art direction, using this and wasteland as examples of what I am NOT hoping it will look like. If so then I will probably not donate.

    Sorry, this, plus wasteland ALSO going cartoony, PLUS no matrix/cyberspace in shadowrun (oh, we can have augmented reality overlay of the real world…gee that totally makes up for it..yippee /sarcasm) makes me a little disgruntled. Ok, got that off my chest.

    Anyway, I am sure it will be a fun game, the idea behind the art looks good. Although I hope we can zoom in close and inspect the characters individually. The two biggest faults I have seen is that that some of the characters are disproportionate. The cybernetic arm looks off and something about the feet/legs.

    Oh, the buildings actually look great though.

    • Nphyx
      September 4, 2012 at 7:40 am #

      Uh, stylization in games dates far back before WoW. You kiddies who think you’re tough and grown up because you’re playing photorealistic games now are pretty ignorant of gaming history ain’tcha. Just a few examples of stylized games that predate WoW:

      * every title on every console before Playstation (hello Final Fantasy 1 – 7 & 9, all Legend of Zelda games, etc. etc.)
      * every 3D game before Unreal
      * Alice (a mature and dark game if there ever was one)
      * Doom (the original hyperviolent first person shooter)
      * Duke Nukem (the original dark humor & pottymouth mature audiences game)
      * Every Fable game (definitely a mix of adult themes and dark humor in there)
      * Team Fortress, TFC
      * Earlier Warcraft & Starcraft games (ofc)

      Need I go on? Go play some more Battlefield 3 big guy. Let it cripple your imagination just a wee bit further.

      • Sorwen
        September 4, 2012 at 8:32 am #

        I agree it existed, but you have to look at the difference in the stylization between then and now. I would say there is a difference between stylization(before) and ridiculous(now). I don’t think SR has gotten to the WoW point but it lends to that direction.

      • Badmojo
        September 4, 2012 at 9:44 am #

        Come on, even you have to agree that after wow, the direction of many games have always gone goofy/cartoony which is NOT a good thing. I also hate COD like games, its why I wanted some old school RPG games. However, the direction the art is taken seems more like a kids game than a mature game. I am not alone though, read the comments in here and it is clear that many feel the same way I do.

  15. MakonX
    September 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    As a longtime gamer and fan of Shadowrun I am incredibly impressed with the ability of HBS to retain the “soul” of the Shadowrun universe and at every step of the way show their true passion to bring the fans the truest form of SR they can. Every piece of artwork and design concept they present only re-affirms that HBS has our best interest at heart. Trust me when I say theses guys know what their doing.

  16. Slight
    September 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Great work overall! Here are my 2c, feedback-wise:

    + 2d backgrounds and isometric perspective are gorgeous!
    + 2d/3d mix works (not everyone can afford Banner-Saga-style full 2d animation :)
    + character models are much better than character concept art in recent update
    – character models should still be more realistic/gritty
    – as a PC gamer I would of course like a higher poly count on the character models, but I see the need to compromise there :)

    I am so glad Shadowrun is back!

  17. Ernesto I. Ramirez
    September 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    Looks incredible!

  18. hariman
    September 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Hmm. I don’t mind the cartoony look. Granted, I always imagined Shadowrun looking VERY realistic, but I still don’t mind the cartoony look.

    Granted, I’d love the character models to be a little less cartoony, (IE: Same art style, proper proportions), but I won’t mind if the character art has to stay the same.

    I just want a good tactical RPG that has that good ol’ grim and gritty Shadowrun feel alongside a good battle system and good story. Especially the good story. Having a good story that’s told well means far more than a LOT of other things.

  19. Jens
    September 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE where this is going — what others refer to as ,cartoonish’ I would call hand-drawn-ish and in my opinion it is a phantastic look for this kind of game. Maturity does not come from the look but from the contents itself. The surroundings imply a certain grittyness of the story and plenty maturity in whats going to happen in the game.
    Again: LOVE it.
    I am also looking forward to play with the editor — the functions you describe (story, dialogue, own art in the game) go much, much further than anything Imdreamt of when helping to fund this game.
    Congratulations! You are doing the pledged money proud and I cannot wait to play a first short test-mission (hint-hint).

  20. David
    September 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    For clarification on what I mean by cartoony in my above comment(s): Take the troll 3D model. If he had the same proportions (legs, arm) as the 2D concept art, it would be much, much better. Some people seem to misunderstand me and assume I mean the colorfulness, but the colors are all well.

    • Tristan
      September 4, 2012 at 1:38 am #

      I agree. The 3D troll has too short and fragile legs and his torso is too big and long. Similar problem with the ork. Even meta humans’ legs should be longer and stronger than their arms.

  21. Gf
    September 3, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    Love the art. Very excited where this is going. Keep up the good work!

  22. Frob
    September 3, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    While I know you can’t please everyone, I kinda think that nobody will be *displeased* if the characters looked less cartoony. There will be a number of vocal folks that really dislike the cartoony look, however, and they’re probably going to be a growing number.

    The cartoony characters look good, but they kick the grit, blood, and intrigue of Shadowrun right in the nadsack. I can’t take anything seriously that looks like that.

    I for one hope that you guys will reconsider this art direction while the game is still young enough that changing it is at all feasible.

  23. Dan
    September 3, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    This might seem like an unusual complaint under normal circumstances, but all of the lines look too sharp to me. Even with the setting and the pictures being full of dirt, it still somehow clean because of the crispness of the graphics. Under most circumstances that would be a compliment, but Shadowrun should come across dirty. It’s possible that this is part of the overall current art style, which is a touch ‘cartoonish.’

    I don’t know what would help, possibly some sort of filter could do it?

  24. Kanrak
    September 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Agree with the ‘dont like short stick legs’ view. Love the games let you put a hole in the wall or even take the floor out from someone. (X-Com Apocalypse). Understand this adds a whole level of complexity that time could be better spent elsewhere. not sure if it would fit in with method graphics are put together (grid based graphics that allow for a wall section to become damaged to allow visibility or disappear to allow movement)

    Interesting tid-bit on the Silent Storm reference, The S2 on the Stuff R Shack looks so much like the S2 on the cover of Silent Storm. Maybe there is something behind there somewhere.
    Looking good.

  25. Delvan
    September 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Looks fantastic to me. I wonder if you might be able to satisfy the “oh noes too cartoony” folks by offering high-poly alternate models. Plenty of other games have went this way, which lets the launch game run on any reasonable machine, but still calm the people who absolutely demand the finest “grit” and have spent the money for the computing performance required for that.

    I will agree, though, those orc & troll legs are a bit too short and gimpy for my taste in the individual decker & rigger photos, though this is not a glaring issue for the isomeric Stuffer Shack & Barrens shots.

    • David
      September 3, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

      It’s not at all about polygon count. It’s about body part proportions of the characters. As someboy pointed out, it looks as if the troll’s legs should collapse under his weight. Compare it to his 2D concept art. Quake (1) has way fewer polygons but doesn’t look cartoony at all. Just pointing out so you understand the problem.

  26. Kurono
    September 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Same here about the cartoony characters. I prefer it to be more realistic, dark and gritty. That is what Shadowrun is all about. The environments look awesome, no problem there. I think HBS should have a few concepts and prototypes and let US VOTE on it. If this is a game for us, HBS should be consulting with us about it and what direction the game should go on whether it should be cartoony or realistic, at least in the character models. The environments can stay.

  27. dms
    September 3, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    I appreciate the art style but consider the story and choices a player is afforded to be much more important and the determining factor in whether the game is ‘mature’.

    I was disappointed to see tge changes to the female figure in the mage though. from a perfectly believable young lady figure someone seems to have decided larger breasts and more cleavage are required which is just tedious.

  28. Emery
    September 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    I donated as well and I’m fine with the artwork/style/graphics, mostly because I realize they’re working within a budget and going for realism doesn’t turn out too well when you’re limited in polygons.

    The curveball for me is that the gfx are being nerfed for the sake of running on tablets. I never noticed that this game was going to be on tablets and I probably wouldn’t have donated if I’d known. The snob PC gamer part of me is just wary of any game that’s designed to run on tablets. It’s almost a guarantee the game will be watered down and simpler. Then again, tablets nowadays are more powerful than any PC I had in the 90’s or early 00’s, so what do I know?

    • David
      September 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

      “…going for realism doesn’t turn out too well when you’re limited in polygons.”

      Not true. As for the troll, it would be as simple as making the legs larger and the arms smaller. It has nothing to do with polygon count. Why do so many people make that connection?

      (Much) lower polygon count, but less cartoony:

  29. Ian Welsh
    September 4, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Yeah, less cartoony please. Putting aside certain fantasy elements, I always saw, played and ran Shadowrun as a realistic world once you granted the premise.

  30. br.eng
    September 4, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    “what??! if I knew they will bring tablet/camel toe/cartoony style in it I won’t be backing this project!!”

    We put money on this project because we believe that the developer can create Shadowrun from their original idea/vision. Not be tainted by marketing/publishers.

    But it seems some people thought $100+ pledge money will give them rights to steer development, and become a whiner publisher.

    Enjoy the progress update, discuss it, let the dev create something and finished it.. Just don’t bring “this is not what I want” expressions. Thousands backers have their own opinions, sure it’s hard to make everyone happy.

    • David
      September 4, 2012 at 12:45 am #

      Just to make it clear: I love everything I see here except the disproportionate limbs on the characters. This game looks like it could be the best I’ve played in years, so I want it to be perfect, and I feel more realistically shaped characters would take it there. I pledged $100+, but I don’t claim rights to steer development. This is just a petition.

    • David
      September 4, 2012 at 12:58 am #

      Also, how can we discuss (your word) if we’re not allowed to express opinions? I agree with your point, though, that the developers shouldn’t be influenced to do something that’s not in line with their vision. Comparing the 2D concept and the 3D model of the troll character, however, it seems that more realistic proportions IS in line with their vision, since the 2D concept has it, but it was lost in making the transition to 3D.

      • br.eng
        September 4, 2012 at 3:38 am #

        Mostly I agree with many of your comments above. I don’t really like cartoony style either. It’s part of good discussion, good progress. But some people add unnecessary stance like “if I knew this when I donate/pledge”. Sounds regret, discouraging, a negative progress.

        • David
          September 4, 2012 at 6:10 am #

          Yeah, I agree comments like that don’t add to the discussion, but I guess it easily happens that you throw stuff like that around when you’re emotionally invested.

  31. Wizfall
    September 4, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    Background is very nice, i would add some squatters/trumps in the Barrens though.
    Character art is much better, especially the orks (no more green and his face way more realistic).
    Still too cartoony though IMO and it’s not a matter of polygon (i’m not for character customisation option other than the gear, shadowrun snes did not have any and it was fine).
    The dwarf is very well made for exemple.
    But the proportion of the orks and trolls are somewhat wrong (the legs, the arms of the trolls and his gun almost the size of the dwarf).
    In the end i can deal with it, it’s far from being horrible like the first concept art of the ork 😉
    The more important is the gameplay and the story.

  32. Scathach
    September 4, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Well, I like the style, and cartoony or not – it’s your choice, HBS.
    Even if the graphics don’t come along grim, dark and gritty, the interaction with the setting still can add those flavors. And the contrast between cartoony style and a rather mature environment can make it even more interesting.

    I backed this, because I’m absolutly exited about the game, the idea, and shadowrun itself.
    Stay with your vision, and I know I’ll love the game.

  33. mr.h
    September 4, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    i have to join the nay-side, the models are a great start detail-wise, but their proportions really put them in the pixar-area. stay closer to the art works in the books, be a little more realistic in the build of bodies and make them grittier.

    the game still looks great, i like the idea of mid-action-stills from turn to turn and the models fit nicely into the 2d-environment.

  34. Tristan
    September 4, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    I’m not quite clear why the troll’s deck is so large. A deck is a deck. No matter if a little human girl or a huge male troll carries it, it’s the same size. This deck no human or dwarf could carry. It would be just too unwieldy.

  35. Sitasan
    September 4, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    im afraid that i m in the nay side too.

    maybe we are wrong but it realy seems to cartoonish and the proportions need to be at least near the “reality”, otherwise we cant take it seriously.

    excpeted that, it s wonderful.

  36. Muskie
    September 4, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    Now, upon doing some *Actual research* into the subject, mainly looking at a LOT of official art for the tabletop games, the proportion issue is indeed there, but NOT in the way people are complaining about. The Ork needs longer legs yes, but the shoulders need to be widened even further. As for the Troll, the proportions are actually great! Trolls are SUPPOSED to have a higher arm to leg ratio

    There’s also some minor foreshortening issues with the ork and troll mkdels from the supplied screenshots that give an illusion of mych shorter legs.

    And to those who think cartoony can’t be serious? Final Fantasy III, Bravely Default, Jam And Daxter 2/3.. just off the top of my head..

  37. Yemeth
    September 4, 2012 at 2:01 am #


    I am also one of those who would like an mature art direction. More of edition 1 art direction please (the feel, I mean), I know we cannot expect to get the famous Larry Elmore cover art in motion for the budget, but please do not make it in a “set in a gritty grim world, but looks like an childs game” case.

    In any case, even if the art direction will be not of my taste, I really hope that the dynamics and the story will make up for it.

    Also, good luck and thanks for the PR-less descriptions and follow ups, really appreciate it.


  38. neuro
    September 4, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Now I look at the character models… what happened to the mage? In the concept art, she’s wearing loose, comfortable looking clothes that looks like she chose it for practicality… and by the time we get to the game model, everything’s skin tight and she’s developed pouty lips and low cut top!

  39. Wrigley
    September 4, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    I would like to join the less cartoon style group (I like the concept of the troll much more then model) and also even as I know you want iconic look for characters, could you make mages less pathetic (woman under carpet with lantern looks pathetic to me). They follow their tradition but they are still living in the sixth world…
    I am a little sad that as usual we are being screwed by consoles (and tablets) in graphics dep.

    All in all I cannot wait the final product to come out.

  40. nadeem
    September 4, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    so good i like this kind of style

  41. Tubbster
    September 4, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    The game models are a big gain, compared to the sketch art, but I have to be aside the mainstream of comments here. I understand, that going WoW/Cartoon Style catches lot of newbies and therefore more profit for future projects. It’s your game and you are the game experts.

    I followed both SR-Kickstarter projects and the discussion at why there are 36.000 SR:R backers and “only” 6.000 SR:O backers. One aspect I think was the fact, that there are a lot of (ex-) PnP Gamers from old days (Age 35-40+) who just wanted to feel the old magic of Shadowrun 1st and 2nd Edition. Including the dark and serious character art.

    To quote you: “…for those that have been around since the very early days, we want to make sure that YOU understand that WE understand….”
    And in my opinion, that includes the character art.

    But to be honest and fair, seeing what you’ve presented so far, I would definately buy this game, if I hadn’t backed it before and I’m more than confident, that the story, gameplay and scenery will be a blast and will chain me up to my tablet. :)

  42. Tomas
    September 4, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    I think it looks great, especially the environments. I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the exploded version of that building.

    I can however agree with the characters. I think it’s a very fine line that has been crossed, and all it would take is a very slight change of pretty much only proportions. Such as has been pointed out the tiny legs and huge upper body.

    The characters do look great, but slightly less silly and less Torchlight would be cool. The concepts are actually less cartoony than the 3D models.

    NEVERTHELESS, it looks great. I won’t cry if it ends up being that style of characters, I’d just be happier if it wasn’t.

    • David
      September 4, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      Well put.

  43. Safetybrick
    September 4, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    “our models need to be low-poly enough to render lots at the same time while also rendering a rich environment on a variety of devices. These choices resulted in character models of roughly 2,000 polys each.”

    I think the issue here is not that its cartoony and lacks maturity but that the models are possibly limited with the polygon count. with higher polygon count they probably could get the details of baggy clothing(thus closer to the concept art) which might resolve the thin/short leg look everyone is complaining about with the troll, orc and to a lesser extent the mage. but higher res models means more load on systems to render this stuff and i imagine there is going to be quite a bit going on,on screen at any give time.

    with that said the overall style so far looks mature and reminiscent to shadowrun while the models are not as detailed to give the full “gritty” feel on the characters i can understand why. after all this is not a first person or third person styled game its a tactical rpg take in everything, not just how fancy the models will look, you’ll probably be looking at them from a far (much like the concept art). keep up the good work guys.

    • Cutter
      September 4, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      No, the issue is very much the cartoonish style of the mobs, not poly counts or colour palettes. Having this style of character in what’s supposed to be a dark and gritty world all of a sudden turns it into Roger Rabbit. That’s not what old school Shadowrun fans are looking for.

  44. Risingsun
    September 4, 2012 at 4:55 am #

    I love where you guys are heading so far. The models read really well from the distant camera angles. If they were any “darker” or “grittier” they might be hard to make out. I also really like the designs and hope to see more of it soon.

    How detailed is character customization? will we be able to change their faces, hair, hair color etc? I do like that we can at least choose male or female and pick skin tone.

    Keep up the great work. Dont change a thing.

  45. Michael
    September 4, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    Kickstarter suporter aswell.

    I love the environment. I love the colouring. But i have to join the nay saying about the character style. It´s not looking bad, it´s just not fitting what i expect from a shadowrun game. I would not even mind a comic book style (as the backgrounds are so a bit aswell) but i would like to see a more serius aproach instead of what could just be shrek or kingdome hearts character design.

  46. sdantas
    September 4, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    I would like to see the characters less cartoonish.

    Why does the orc has teeth like that?

    I’m a little disappointed.

    • Pucho
      September 4, 2012 at 6:19 am #

      Really?! Wow, different strokes for different folks. I’m loving it. It’s cartoonish, yes, but it’s lovingly designed and carefully crafted IMO. Reminds me somewhat of the DOTA 2 character design, which I’m very fond of. Also, My take is that they’re relying heavily on texture art because they’re also aiming for very low poly counts. So in that regards, it’s a smart design decision.

      • sdantas
        September 4, 2012 at 6:28 am #

        Have you played the first Shadowrun my friend?

  47. Pucho
    September 4, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Beautiful design for the characters. Also, environment design is gorgeous too. Love me some 2D art. Glad to see it making a comeback, especially in this project.

    One thing… Where’s that awesome voodoo doll for the Ork Rigger?!?! It’s in the sketch but not the model. I think it looks awesome. Put it back!

  48. Patricia
    September 4, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    I’m loving what I’m seeing so far :)

    While I tend to agree that the orc & troll models are a little too disproportionate, I think that folks here need to remember that trolls & orcs do have a very different body type to that which is associated with human proportions. Trolls (& orcs to a lesser extent) should have longer arms, & shorter legs – but perhaps not quite as exagerated here as seen in the character models.

    Also, one thing I’m very keen on – will the player character’s facial features, hair, (physical builds possibly?) be customizable? I think it would really be awesome to be able to create a unique look for our characters that starts from the individual player character themselves, long before we even address or look at character gear & clothing. It just adds a nice personal touch that helps immerse one in the game if you can create a character that looks like the one you’ve played with in your p&p games or have created in your head.

    Otherwise, this is looking great & I cant wait to get my hands on my Adept in this game 😀
    Thanks HBS! You guys are awesome :)

  49. Obelsu
    September 4, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Love the way it’s shaping up. Wouldn’t mind grittier character models, but I like the current look as well.

  50. Haze
    September 4, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Rock on guys. Rock on.

  51. Josh
    September 4, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    Love everything about this :). – cant wait to get my hands on it!! Keep up the great work!!

  52. S
    September 4, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Game looks wonderful, but I agree that the orc and troll look a bit top heavy. Their legs could be more proportional to the rest of their bodies, but it’s not a huge deal, IMO. Game looks great!

  53. Wonderboy2402
    September 4, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Many people already have shared this, but I also do not like the proportions of the 3d models. Overly colourful costumes, disprortionate limbs, pretty glowies as trinkets… Not what i expect in a world as dark and gritty as shadowrun.

    The audience that funded this kick starter are very likely umature. We want gameplay, narrative and visuals that respect both the franchise and our mature tastes. I might be willing to let it slide if the project barely got funded. But as you yourself have stated, this project well exceeded your goals so the money is their to raise these only ok models to something much better quality that your fans and supporters desire.

    The 2d enviornments look great. The character need further work or community vote on the style.

  54. Chet
    September 4, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    I like a lot of what I see, although the Disney feel is a definite negative.

    I hope the devs, (with whom I have great confidence in) see the error of going with a “Pixel Film” type and actually give this project a touch more realism in proportions of the characters.

    Strong doesn’t have to mean “arms as thick as his waist” and with those legs … why give them legs at all, might as well just have them built onto a skateboard and yell Kowabunga Dude when they attack.

    I think you get my meaning here.

    I am patiently waiting to see if these voices that have spoke up change the direction this project is heading.

    I’m still OK with the money I spent to give you guys a shot at this, just not as excited as I was when you sold me on the idea.

  55. Nphyx
    September 4, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Looks awesome. Can’t wait to get my hands on the dev tools, let alone the game itself. : ) I hope you’ll be able to achieve the look you’re going for once it’s all put together in game; I suspect lighting the character models to match the backgrounds is going to be complicated.

    • Nphyx
      September 4, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      Oh, and for the record, I for one like the stylized look of the characters and especially the rich hand painted backgrounds it’s being applied to. Shooting for “realism” doesn’t make a game more “serious” – it just makes it look shitty in retrospect 5 years down the road. Alice (the first one) still looks good. So does the first Bioshock. Photorealistic games of their time? Not so much. Even Crysis showing its age. Stylization is a conscious design choice and always a good one. Anybody who thinks you can’t do a serious “grown up” story in stylized artwork hasn’t spent much time with anime (and is missing out).

      • David
        September 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

        Again, nobody is asking for a photo realistic game. As a big fan of many of the old NES games, I know everything about preferring abstract/stylized graphics. The problem here is only the proportions of the characters, that make them look humorous and non-serious, and consequently a bit out-of-place. In my opinion, they should KEEP EVERYTHING like it is, especially the gorgeous environments, BUT make the proportions of the characters (more) realistic.

  56. Patricia
    September 4, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Well said Nphyx!

    I couldnt agree more with EVERYTHING you’ve said in your second post.

    I’m loving the art style here – it takes nothing away from what can (& hopefully will be) be a mature, gritty, adult game.

  57. Darkstryke
    September 4, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    I have to agree with the cartoony proportions, it throws off everything about SR. The background / vistas are great, the characters need a revamp to something realistic proportion wise.

  58. Speakingbeast
    September 4, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Everything looks great – thanks for the updates!

  59. Shinxy
    September 4, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    I’m fine with the art style being more stylized, but the stumpy legs on the orks and trolls are just silly. They should have proportionate legs and be noticeably taller/larger than the other characters. Look at the troll bouncer from SNES shadowrun- Jake only comes up to his belt buckle. That’s realistic and in keeping with the game fiction. I don’t want/need photorealism, but it’s possible to do stylized artwork in a way that is less silly looking.

    If we’re talking about serious stories in anime, look at ghost in the shell or akira- although they were animated, the characters were human-looking and didn’t require us to suspend our collective disbelief. They told cyberpunk stories while also being visually stylish and artistic. That’s awesome. What we have here is the equivalent of “super-deformed” anime- the legs don’t even look like they can support the character’s weight. I just can’t take them seriously.

    Other than that I think it looks great. Environments are awesome. The human mage is fine.

    • David
      September 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      Ok, you said it the best. There’s a different between stylized and unbelievable.

  60. Applelicious
    September 4, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    I’m just going to throw up a whole new comment because, while my thoughts are largely addressing what people have said above, I have no idea who to specifically reply to. But I have a lot to say and I hope at least some of you chummers listen.

    First: The models. I like them. Yes, the legs on the ork and troll do seem a little short, but honestly I think this could be fixed just by moving their belt line up. To me it looks less like they have super short legs and more like they’ve crammed themselves into human pants that don’t quite come all the way up to their waste, forcing them to wear their pants in the sagging fashion. So I can deal with that, as a large number of stores do have that discriminatory bias of “we don’t sell Trog clothing here”.

    Other than that, I like the models. I enjoy the cartoony style and I’m glad the developers have similar thoughts to myself on how the world will look. That being said, I do want a dark and mature game. However, this is the /main/ thing I want to comment on here. Maturity.

    Coating a game with a lair of blood, gore, drugs, and sex, and then making the graphics look dark and brooding does not automatically make a game mature. Yes, it gives the game “Rated M for Mature” but that just serves as a warning to younger audiences. Being rated M does NOT actually brand the game as being mature. Yes, I’m sure for many of the above posters a splash of blood and a decapitation is all they’d need for the game to be serious enough for them. But not for me. I want something more, and more to the point, I want something that can’t be magically inserted by making the graphics “serious”.

    Don’t get me wrong! I won’t get my panties in a knot if there’s blood and gore, some sexuality won’t phase me, and I would really enjoy seeing some of the magically active drugs as those have always been a fun part of the Shadowrun setting to play with. What I’m saying is that to me these aspects don’t mean mature. I have seen far too many games try to be mature just by earning the Rated M, and then they feel too unrealistic, because all of the NPCs are angry nihilists with “dark personalities” and only one dimension, all of the villains are tough looking dark machinations that spray blood everywhere but don’t feel threatening, and nobody in the world can smile without promptly being scattered throughout the room, because “smiling isn’t gritty enough”.

    If running around rigging, spellslinging, shooting, and slicing your way through enemies in detailed realistic graphics with plenty of bloodshed is what you want, then a game that’s going to be produced for both PC and tablet is really not where you should be looking. Shadowrun has never been about graphics to me. Ever since I discovered the tabletop game it has been about story, and even when I found the Genesis game years later I didn’t even think about whether I thought the graphics reflected the world well enough. Not because the graphics were so perfect I didn’t notice, but because I was enthralled with the story. I want a mature game, but I want that maturity portrayed through story.

    I want a game where I can feel like I’m on the down and out, fighting each day just to survive the unforgiving streets, but where I also feel like I can be myself and express myself in whatever way I want. If I want to smile and be merry, I want to be able to do it. Sure, I’m living in slums with broken cyberware and some chiphead roommate, but at least I haven’t sold my soul to be “Renraku Wageslave #13993”. I want a game that explores the harsh realities of shadowrunning.

    I don’t want to spray bullets and watch security fall down into small bloody pools, because if you’re watching long enough to see blood, you’re spending too much time watching and not enough time bugging out. Rather, I’d prefer it if every fight felt like a lost cause. I say this because, omae, if you’re taking fire something has gone /seriously/ wrong with your plan. And you probably ought to be wondering who sold you out, if you live long enough.

    I don’t want the death of friendly NPCs to be shocking because of blood splatter. I want it to be heartbreaking as you realize that you have just lost your ties to one of the few people in this changing world who you trusted to help watch your back. Trust is so rare among shadowrunners, and a full exploration of just the concepts of trust and betrayal would be something I find beautiful, and could /definitely/ be portrayed in a very dark and mature way without a need for Rated M graphics. Indeed, the things I want from this game is the level of dark grittiness and maturity that I expect from my PCs while I run the tabletop game. It’s dark, it’s mature, but there’s also wisecracks and jokes, because if you can’t smile and be yourself, no matter what you do in the shadows and no mater what the world throws at you, then what’s the point?

    As far as graphics go, I only really have one thing that I truly want: customization. Every character should be able to express themselves through how they look and what they wear, and it looks like Harebrained Schemes is well on their way to satisfying that wish for me.

    Sorry if I got too carried away, but I hope that everyone who bothered to read this thing got something good out of it. I look forward to seeing the end result.

    • Badmojo
      September 5, 2012 at 12:12 am #

      Ok, so you want a mature game, but nothing that would visually make it mature, oh wait, you want to take out mature themes like sex as well..ok, so basically you just want a “PG-13” Disney game then and not a MATURE game. Your definition of mature, most of us would call teen rating at best.

      Most of us who think mature, think sex, drugs, violence, bloody, you know, the good things in life. While it does not mean we expect to see some nooky, it DOES mean we expect to see hookers, pimps, drug dealers, crime boses…etc.

      I have this sinking suspicion that this game is doing a bait and switch, it said mature, which is probably just be PR spin for a pg-13 game with some token mature moments like fallout 3/skyrim..etc. So you might get your version of the game you want while the rest of us get shafted.

    • Tristan
      September 5, 2012 at 4:51 am #

      Applelicious, you said it. The thrilling thing about running is about whom to trust and emphasize with. If your buddy loses even so much as an ear that’s painful to you. If he dies, you die with him. If he turns around and stabs you in the back? Well, I guess he wasn’t really your buddy, but just a greedy scumm living in the same gutters as you do.

      Maturity is having to decide what to do with a seemingly friendly person: love him or kill him before he has the chance to get you. Same with a ugly, distrustfull, grumpy asshole, that might grow to become your shield and sword after he learned to trust you.

      I still hate the short fragile legs of the troll and ork!

  61. Patricia
    September 4, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Perfectly said Applelicious! & no you didnt get too carried away there – you nailed what this game should be about & I couldnt have said it better myself.
    Its great to see more gamers like you out there who give a damn about the really important aspects of a game like this – ie, the depth & maturity of its story, & the characters (both player & NPCs) who drive it & bring that story to life. Thats what really counts here.

  62. Karu Kutt
    September 4, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Its funny talking about the Troll and his tiny legs because I was in Lake Geneva Wisconsin over the weekend and saw this body builder walking around with a huge upper body and tooth picks for legs. He look just like the Troll, I couldn’t take the guy serious and both my daughters thought he looked goofy. Anyways everything looks awesome except for the dispropotioned bodies.

  63. Cutter
    September 4, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I – like many others – am definitely not happy with the art style as it pertains to the characters. Colour palette is fine all around, environmental art/assets are good – could be grittier IMO, but are ok. The mobs however are way off base and need a complete overhaul. As many have stated, Shadowrun is a dark world and definitely more of adult RPG. The game art should reflect that that reality. This shouldn’t be Pixar or WoW. I don’t have a problem with stylized art but in the right place. That’s not to say it has to be hyper-realistic but it has to be much more so than it is now. By choosing a stylized route you’re going to isolate and turn-off many people and you shouldn’t be doing that with a first game out of the gate. This is a rather bad decision IMO and you strongly need to reconsider it. You should have asked the community in the first place.

    I guess it now begs the question is now that we see the direction it’s going, how many people would have donated in the first place knowing that, or would even want their money back at this point?

    • Badmojo
      September 5, 2012 at 12:19 am #

      I don’t want my money back, I will still play and probably still like it. However, I am dissapointed at the pixar direction. I am also worrying about the story direction, how actual mature are we going to get? I fear it will just be a pg-13 game with the name brand mature like fallout3 and skyrim. Hope I am wrong.

      A big chunk of the problem is making this for tablets, that should have sent a warning bell because tablets are so limiting and probably why we are in this mess to begin with. I will not support any more games that should be PC exclusives and planned to be made for tablets also.

      I am also not happy with the art direction of wasteland 2, tired of cartoon graphics, the next kickstarter, I am going to ask what art direction they are going and if they plan to go cartoony using this and wasteland 2 art as examples. If so, I will probably not donate honestly.

  64. Patrask
    September 4, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    So many things are looking so promising – story focus, beautiful environments, tactical combat…

    The color palette and stylized look per se aren’t the main problems here. I believe that what’s wrong is the personality and traits the specific models radiate:

    Trolls and orcs in SR are supposed to look intelligent, grim and brutal – not moronic (glass chard teeth, 50 cents cap), goofy (awkward posture, overly small legs) or cute (Super Mario 3 Tanooki suit).

    Bring in some tusks, tone down the overly weird proportions and skip the gangsta’ rapper and Super Mario Bros 3 outfits.

    Thank you,

  65. Lunarfur
    September 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    I posted on kickstarter and will do here again. There’s nothing against the “cartoonish” style, meaning stylized graphics. I won’t need photorealism as long as the story and the atmosphere really drags me into the 2050s.
    What really bothers me are the freakishly teeth and the wrong proportions. Orcs and Troll are still (meta-) humans, but with stronger limbs and tusks. But most of them still got normal teeth!

    • Badmojo
      September 5, 2012 at 12:21 am #

      I am starting to wonder if the artist even played shadowrun or even looked at shadowruns art in the books.

  66. kraken
    September 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    I don’t mind cartoon style but I agree that the Ork looks bad and the Troll looks simply retarded.
    The concept art looked so much better but the model has bad proportions with stupidly small legs and that egghead.
    I love Trolls but I would never play that one.
    If you wanna do something cartoonish, at least make it stylish and grim. Like the art style for 3rd edition for example:

  67. Nim
    September 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I want to play a game that the developers want to play, that they enjoyed making; I want an art style that the developers like looking at. Everything else doesn’t matter to me. If the fans don’t like some element of the game and the devs do, then fuck the fans; do what you want.

    • Cutter
      September 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Hey jackass, we ponied up the dough too. We’re the investors/backers/employers as it were. We have every right to give input and voice our concerns and dislikes. And so far the only problem seems to be the style of how the mobs are designed…nothing else. Jesus, it’s not like it’s a huge complaint and still easy to fix at this point. Their job is to keep as many people as possible happy. This game isn’t just for them and you.

      • Sauropod fan
        September 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

        It’s amazing how people who give on kickstarter suddently think of themselves as professionnal game producers. That money you gave my friend, you will not have it back. It’s not yours anymore. It was a gift, and that is all it was. You have no saying in what will be the final game. You are screwed. A lot of you are actually. Too bad, maybe it will teach you a lesson to read the small print and think about it next time!

        Now in my opinion, I prefered giving my money to an independant developper instead of the big ones, because they can experiment in gameplay and make the gaming world evolve.

        • Cutter
          September 4, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

          It wasn’t a gift, it was an investment in a product that we’re promised. And if you’re going to accept crowdfunding than you better expect that those people who put forth money are going to have expectations and a say in what they expect. That doesn’t mean they have to listen, however, if they’re looking for money for any subsequent products it’s going to come back and bite them in the ass later on. it’s in their best interest to both listen to and address any valid criticisms and this is one of them. Which is why you’re not in business for yourself.

        • Badmojo
          September 5, 2012 at 12:27 am #

          You misspelled devolved. I have seen so many BS PR spin trying to convince people that they just don’t understand something because its evolved when in fact its devolved into generic crap everybody else is doing (say, using cartoon wow/pixar graphics with disproportionate characters). Yea, not buying it, were not happy about the direction and expressed it and since we INVESTED money into it, some of us do think we should have a small voice to tell them our thoughts. They can choose to listen or not, but since most of us are the people they were trying to attract and our views is a good sample of what the target audience is, perhaps it would be a good idea to at least listen to some complaints/suggestions.

  68. Aulbath
    September 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I am a not entirely sure this is what I was expecting. I wouldn’t mind seeing a sprite-based version – especially with a static perspective I don’t see the big difference and why you would favor 3D over 2D.

    What I am really worried about is animation quality, while more expensive to do right – 2D offers a lot of possibilities to make really expressive movements. Hopefully the animations will pack the appropriate amount of “punch”.

    Still, looking very much forward to the final game (and more importantly, its Soundtrack!)

    • David
      September 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Certain animations are indeed rarely done well in 3D. Death animations in modern games, for example, often lazily rely on rag dolls that fly around everywhere (often in a floaty manner), instead of properly deforming models and stuff like that.

      As for the benefits of 3D models: lower memory requirements, same animation can be used for all directions (and number of directions is not limited), more easily display combinations of equipment and apparels.

  69. Darren Carlyle
    September 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm #


    So stoked for the game..

    I’m a little bit disappointed in that the game won’t have a day/night cycle, but I definitely understand the rationale.

    I’m not offended by the ‘cartoonish’ look to the character models. Honestly I think it looks great. And for those who want a more realistic effect, I bet that someone down the line will ‘open up’ the editor for us to add our own art assets. Chances are even Catalyst will come in and play.. :)

    The 2d Iso + 3d Models definitely works.. Septerra Core was a great example (in it’s time) on how awesome that can work.


    • David
      September 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      I’m pretty sure Septerra Core used 2D sprites rendered from 3D models. I suspect Shadowrun will use actual, real time rendered 3D models to take full advantage of the technology. Also, polygon count wouldn’t matter if they pre-rendered it.

    • David
      September 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      But yes, I agree it works. :)

  70. William
    September 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Looks great so far!!!

  71. Sebastian
    September 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Umm…what’s the deal with the bear in the Barrens?

    • Shinxy
      September 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      it’s a hat/headdress. bear shaman i’m guessing.

  72. Peter
    September 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Good god why are we going the anime / manga route? If I want to play Pokemon I will go do Robotech. I’m not knocking the genra, Ghost in the Shell and Battle Angel Alita were awesome but Shadowrun is about as much an anime setting as Fallout.

    • David
      September 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      I have no idea how you think this looks like anime.

      • Peter
        September 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

        How about the samurai big eared elf or the bear goblin (?) that looks like it’s straight out of Princess Mononoke. All the characters and the background have that anime (to be) feel as opposed to a heavy metal / western grit like the original FASA SR or the Sega / SNES games. I’m not speaking to post FASA SR as the the IP owners after them screwed it all up (including the art and visual styles)

        • David
          September 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

          Yeah, the hair of the elf resembles anime, and the bear costume itself looks like it could be straight out of Princess Mononoke, but otherwise it looks western to me (small eyes, no anime hair, etc).

          I think I understand what you’re getting at, though. Part of what made the SNES game so great for me was the retro-futuristic aspects of it. The environments in SR:R look spot on in that regard, though, with the Japan style power lines and old school street lamps.

  73. Bad Art
    September 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    This is truly pitiful art style.
    Shadowrun needs to be gritty and realistic. I think this was a terrible decision and I am regretting backing this project.

  74. Baldurs
    September 5, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    This is what I expected –
    No Wow and Disney characters :(

  75. Concerned Backer
    September 5, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    I would also agree with the numerous backers concerned about the cartoon-ish style of the artwork presented. I would reiterate the need to make this a mature game for mature players – no doubt the majority of Shadowrun’s fan base.

    More importantly though, I would urge discussion on this topic. This issue has been raised numerous times by numerous supporters, and I believe these concerns deserve broad discussion at the Kickstarter level (specifically via backer-wide mailout and/or survey).

    I strongly urge the development team to deal with this challenge responsibly.

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    • Tristan
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  77. Pantomime
    September 5, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Graphics are fine and gritty enough. We must remember this is from an isometric view point and the models are tailored to suit it. I think it looks great. I am looking forward to this, some shadowrun is better than none.

  78. Drew B
    September 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    I’m sold on the art style now. Keep up the good work guys.

  79. InitialChicken1
    September 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    I am a backer and I would like to throw in that I also am not for this art style. Agree with most complaints above.

  80. InitialChicken1
    September 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Also, I would like to say that regarding the mage, she doesn’t look like how I expect mages to be dressed in Shadowrun. I tend to expect a more modern dress. For example, I expect Shadowrun mages to wear business suits rather than arcane cloaks and hoods. At least remove the cloak and it would fit better. Of course this is the first mage model, so I hope this is just one of many possible looks.

    • David
      September 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      Oh, yeah. I was blown away when I first played SNES Shadowrun and hovered the crosshair over a business type guy with a suit and a pistol, and it said “Mage”. Genius. :)

  81. Jude
    September 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    I definitely do not like the style of the character concept art and the overall direction the art is moving towards, it just doesn’t scream Shadowrun to me. The models / assets kind of look like they’re from a long-lost Nickelodeon Shadowrun cartoon that never aired. The environmental shot looks okay, but still not a fan of style of the buildings (blocky,squished?). Can’t help but regret getting the $60 package now. Sorry for being so negative, just the way I feel. Still hoping for a Shadowrun game worthy of the title…

  82. John
    September 6, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    I’m cool with the art..
    it’s one of the best ways to deal with low polygon counts

    • David
      September 6, 2012 at 1:10 am #

      Can you explain why giving the troll tiny legs and huge arms is one of the best ways to deal with low polygon counts? I really want to know if there is an answer.

  83. Johnson
    September 6, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    I just hope music will be similar to what it was.

  84. Madcat
    September 7, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Well, I guess it’s time to throw my humble opinion into the mix.

    Firstly, there have been a number of intelligent ideas/opinions already expressed…and a few that haven’t. I wish to remain focused on, what I feel, is the key issue.

    Maturity of gameplay, colour pallets and polygon counts aside…there is clearly on glaring issue that a lot of people are upset about.

    The character models.

    It has been raised each time HBS has released their artwork. From the “green” orks (Really?) to those first wallpapers. Yes, the backgrounds are lush!!!! The models….not so much.

    I am firmly entrenched in the,

    “Too Disney/Pixar/WoW/Cartoonish” Camp.

    Trolls do have, by Shadowrun lore, a longer arm to leg ratio. I, personally, have a kind of “primate” type image floating around in my head….but I think the issue comes down to a more “too comical/ridiculous looking” argument.

    I played Shadowrun PnP a long time ago and the mesh of magic and technology felt so much more believable than D&D (or the plethora of other RPGs I have played over the years). It was that hint of, “It could be possible” in the back of my teenage head that made it “feel” believable and, in turn, emotionally connected me to my characters and my fellow runners. Even the NPCs were all well-thought out and “believable”. It was what made this game so much more special than any other RPG I ever played. I guess I was also rather lucky in the group I found.

    It was the single reason why I threw a ludicrously large amount of money into a video game.

    Whilst I’m certainly not saying that I want my money back (nor do I think this is a fair or constructive response) but I do, however, believe that there are many other backers of this project out there that are in the same boat as me.

    I never played the SNES or the Sega game. ONLY PnP. I know that concessions must be made to create this game. I also would like to point out to certain individuals that HBS has been quite forthcoming in their intention to launch this game for tablets AND PCs. Sorry guys and girls but if you had a problem with that then perhaps you should’ve read through the project more thoroughly?

    However, I DO NOT want to play something that, graphically, looks like a child’s game. AT ALL!!

    I am most concerned that, at every stage, there has been significant apprehension concerning the characters and how they are being created and that concern is being, I feel, largely ignored.

    I have no doubt that the storyline and gameplay etc will be first rate…how can it not be when the original game’s creators are involved?

    HBS have been adamant that they wish to create this game “for the gamers”…….well, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

    There’s clearly a lot of debate so nip this in the bud and do something about it.

    Someone suggested creating a few different options and then casting a vote out to the backers. Great idea. If there is enough support for the current models, fine. I shall accept the overall decision and get on with playing a game that I am truly psyched for.

    I, personally am hoping to create a character that actually has an almost “Mr Johnson” look so I’m hoping too that we can customise our characters clothes and “look”…..but I digress.

    Sorry to all for the rather long post…

    See you in the shadows…or not.

    @Applelicious – Whilst I completely disagree with your appraisal of the models, I believe you are spot on with just about everything else. Thank you for such a mature and well thought out response.

  85. mercy
    September 7, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    Urgh.. Why are the characters cartoony -ugly? I thought Shadowrun Returns will be serious, i imagined believable characters after seeing the first super concept art and now this..

    I’m not buying.

    Unless the characters will be changed back to real-world humanoid proportions and seriously dark Shadowrun-style.

    This was a big unpleasant surprise.

  86. Zolt
    September 7, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    I think everyone needs to relax a whole bit, maybe chip a BTL or two.

    These is are very, very early prototype model – still plenty of time to adjust the look and feel. In fact I suspect the artists got just a little bit rushed so that they could show something at PAX. That leg to body ratio thing is pretty easy to fix, and it wasn’t even on the 2d concept art, so I suspect it’s more a glitch in modeling than an actual design choice.

    So no need to get emotional and put a wall of text or even threaten to jump off ship altogether (you ain’t getting your money back). Just keep your cool and your comments constructive and I’m sure the game will turn out fine. That Stuffer Shack scene looks so fine that I can easily overlook a few flaws in 2 of the characters.

  87. Grant
    September 7, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    yeah the cartoony character style is not working for me either

  88. Desilator
    September 7, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Great Job Team! I honestly think you could have just revamped the SEGA game and I would have bought it. I think building on this project for the next 5 years would be great but then I want to see a MMO. Every time I play WOW, I wish I had a big gun or a Hell Blast.

    If you won’t do it then I’ll buy the rights from you in a few years and do it myself :-)

  89. Vince
    September 7, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Enviroment looks fine, characters could improve.

    IMHO, the problem seems to a bit more than disproportionate limbs.
    If you compare the 2D concepts to the 3D models, the issue seems to lie within the transition from the former to the latter. I assume there’re at least two different persons working on them and they don’t seem to be on the same wave – the female mage is the most outstanding example, it’s like two different characters.

    I’d also like to add my voice to those who asked a more modern look/ dress, it is the 2050s after all, cloaks vanished long before that.

  90. Jack
    September 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Environments looks great, but I still think the characters look too cartoony and bright, and not the dark and brooding that I expect from a Shadowrun universe.

  91. Dr. Gonzo
    September 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    All the hate the character models are getting is absolutely absurd. “Maturity” level in a game is not based on the visual style but the actual content. People talking about how they will turn their backs on this project just because they don’t like the way it looks is ridiculous. When did visuals is a game become more important than gameplay (and aspect I’m sure HBS will knock out of the park)? If you really want out, that’s fine; the rest of us will be enjoying a fantastic game.
    Regardless, the budget, which is right under 2 million, is peanuts when compared to most modern titles. The team is doing what they can with what they have to work with. Plus, the characters we see on are screen will be incredibly tiny.There is only so much detail they can fit in those tiny models, Everyone needs to relax. Mr. Weisman created the franchise and would not resurrect it just to hurt it. No one has a clearer idea of what this franchise looks like than him. He, and his team, will do what they can within the current budget. Cool your jets.

  92. Hawke
    September 10, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Money well donated. Continue to keep us informed, and cannot wait until the final product.

  93. Weidbrewer
    September 10, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I, personally, have no problem with the character art at all. Take a game like Dungeon Defenders – totally goofy, kinda kid-oriented character models, and it has deep and fun play-value. I’ll reserve judgement until the end.

    I just can’t wait to get the back swag survey….

  94. Joshua Daniel
    September 11, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    Good job fucking up the orks, gotta get that humanis propoganda out there. How else will the D&D players know they’re supposed to be orks?

  95. Joshua Daniel
    September 11, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    More in depth comment. First off, I want to mention that I am a Kickstarter supporter. I put it a few hundred dollars and enough to get the deluxe edition at launch with a physical copy. I am also primarily an Ork player, have been since Second Edition.

    I would think the people who made Shadowrun would know what an Ork actually looks like in their universe. Flip through any of the books until you find one, or maybe just flip to the sample characters. They aren’t that far off from humans; a bit more muscular with slightly leathery skin and tusks but that’s it. Take a look at the Hacker character sample in Fourth Edition. That’s a perfect representation of how an Ork should look in modern society. Not like some kind of freak monster.

    Even at their most brutish, see the SR 3rd edition combat hacker sample for a good one, they just looked like people; albeit kind of gruntish.

    I don’t know why they want to make D&D Orks dressed up in modern clothes so badly. It blows my mind that they would shit all over their own characters like that. If you have to do this, at least give us -some- ability to make a dapper motherfucker Ork via character creation.

  96. Peeple
    September 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    All of you complaining about the cartoony look not meshing with mature, must not remember Mark of Kri. Disney style animation with decapitations and dismemberment

  97. Naery
    September 14, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Before I get into this, let me say that I’m excited for the final product and I want to get my hands on some play action! Shadowrun is one of my favorite worlds in all of fiction and I have been a fan for a very, very long time. That being said, I had this complaint in the beginning and I have this complaint now: the Orks. WTF HBS? The cartoon-ish nature of the characters aside (which I am not a fan of, but don’t really care about), why are the orks designed so similar to the trolls? One of the wonderful selling points of the old-school orks was their ability to blend in pretty well with bland humanity. They were different, yes, but **subtly** different; their differences weren’t nearly as glaring as the trolls. Why are we leaving that paradigm? It’s as if SR:R is going for a D&D look with the races. Don’t go for a D&D look, stick with the SR look, it was bad-ass! Dark, gritty, industrial, dirty… SR is the film noir of fantasy worlds, let’s keep it that way.

    However, I want to reiterate that I am super excited about the game overall. I absolutely love the scenery, and I am intrigued by the 2D/3D mix (I think that’s a fantastic idea/compromise). Thank you guys for making this, it’s awesome to have a bit of the old magic back.