RPGamer Feature - Shadowrun: Hong Kong Interview
Shadowrun: Hong Kong
Developer: Harebrained Schemes
Release Date: TBA

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Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a new entry in the Shadowrun series reboot from Harebrained Schemes. The latest Hong Kong setting is currently being Kickstarted. We were able to chat with Mitch Gitelman, co-founder of Harebrained Schemes and Executive Producer of Shadowrun. Please enjoy.

Zach Welhouse (RPGamer, Reviewer): I've seen requests for a stealth mode, astral projection, an alternate decking system, and other Shadowrun features. How do you balance player demand with your vision for the game and the limitations of the project?
Mitch Gitelman (Harebrained Schemes, Co-Founder, Executive Producer): We work really hard to make what the players want and we only take on what we think we can deliver. We did our diligence on astral space and on stealth and they are too big for us to handle right now. You'll see at least one of those in our Co-Funding goals.

ZW: About how much of the proposed Kickstarter plan is dedicated to upgrading the Shadowrun Returns engine compared to designing campaign material?
MG: The majority of the Kickstarter funding will go to developing characters & content, closely followed by enhancements & upgrades to the engine, and presentation (interface, animatics, etc.)

Michael A Cunningham (RPGamer, Editor-in-Chief): What are the team's plans for expanding to other platforms? Would consoles be a good fit? Seems like systems like the Vita are ripe for games like Shadowrun?
Mitch Gitelman (Harebrained Schemes, Co-Founder, Executive Producer): The Hong Kong game will be for PC, Mac, and Linux only. We won't release this on mobile so that will allow us to really take advantage of the tech we already built, as well as the processing power and memory of PCs. You get a much higher fidelity look on PC platforms. We don't have any plans for consoles at this time.

ZW: What is one of the most exciting things you're planning to include in Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong that couldn't be included in an earlier game in the series? Were there any ideas that made you think, "Let's wait on this one for a little."
MG: There is a metric ton of untapped potential in the Shadowrun IP. This game has been around for over 25 years and there have been hundreds of books written. That's why we didn't go back to Seattle. We are traveling all over the world to show you the world of Shadowrun, not just a different part of Seattle. It's really robust and it's all happening at the same time. This new game takes place two years after the last one. We are spanning the globe to show you how the return of Magic in a Cyberpunk world as reflected by local culture.

Things work differently in Hong Kong. There is this concept of Wild Magic - based on the Chinese culture - and it works differently in Hong Kong; it works in unexpected ways.

Here's a brief description of the situation in Shadowrun: Hong Kong:

The year is 2056 and Hong Kong is a stable and prosperous port of call in a sea of chaos, warfare, and political turmoil. The Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone is a land of contradictions - it is one of the most successful centers of business in the Sixth World, and it is home to one of the world's most dangerous sprawl sites. A land of bright lights, gleaming towers, and restless spirits where life is cheap and everything is for sale.

The lure of a quick payday draws you from Seattle into the neon glow of Victoria Harbor... and into a corporate conspiracy nearly thirty years in the making. Dragged into the shadows of Kowloon, you will need to forge new connections and build a solid reputation to survive. And you'll need to do it quickly, because a terrifying threat looms on the horizon - an unstoppable supernatural force that corrupts or devours everything it touches.

ZW: How have your past two successful Kickstarters influenced your plan for this one?
MG: We're approaching Kickstarter in a very different way this time. The first one was entirely funded by the fans, and since we exceeded our funding goal, we expanded the scope of that game and poured a lot of time and money into Shadowrun: Dragonfall and Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut, both of which were free to our Backers (because it was part of the "Second City" stretch goal).

This time we are able to fund the game ourselves - and we have already started making it. So we are going to Kickstarter with a collection of things outside the scope of our budget, but things we think would be really cool to have. So if funded, we will add those additional features to that game.

Essentially we have a co-funding relationship with the players - instead of going to a publisher to finish it off, we are going to the fans. So if they want to have this cool stuff as well, hopefully they will back us!

A little more about Kickstarter...

Kickstarter has been amazing for us because it's where we communicate with our fans. It's where we gained their trust. Sure they help pay for the game's development, but the relationship we have with our backers goes much deeper than that - it is incredibly unique. They don't just tell us what they would like to see in the game - they talk to each other about ideas and challenge one another. And then we review the forums very carefully and research whether or not their ideas are possible.

Funding our games through Kickstarter allows us to talk with our audience and deliver a product they really want to play. It is both beneficial to the company (with a built in paying audience) as well as the community.

ZW: The Seattle of Shadowrun Returns is owned and operated by the Megacorps; Dragonfall's Berlin is a dynamic, violent flux of smaller interest groups. What's the political situation in Shadowrun's Hong Kong, and how will it impact a shadowrunner's options?
MG: Hong Kong was not given back to China in the Shadowrun universe. Its a free enterprise zone with no government. Corporations control the entire country. The story takes place in 2056. Magic has returned and its spells deliver some very unexpected results.

Culture plays a big part in Hong Kong - it is steeped in "guanxi" - a network of influence and relationships based upon "face" - a combination of social status and prestige. It's basically a meter of your reputation and that is very important in Hong Kong and we will be modeling that in the game. Here your reputation really means something.

ZW: Does the Shadowrun Returns team have any stories about the Renraku Arcology that need telling, or have the great ones already been told?
MG: There are always more stories to tell! And yes, we have a Renraku story we've been working on among several others.

RPGamer would like to thank the crew at Harebrained Schemes, especially Mitch Gitelman and Karen Blondell, for taking the time to chat with us about Shadowrun: Hong Kong. If you are interested in this project, check out the Kickstarter campaign ( going on now and follow the Harebrained Schemes account on Twitter for the latest info.

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