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Jordan Weisman Talks Shadowrun Returns at Shacknews

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Jordan Weisman Talks Shadowrun Returns at Shacknews

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 25 April 2012, 08:10:06

Tags: Jordan Weisman; Shadowrun; Shadowrun Returns

Shacknews has posted an interview with Jordan Weisman. As expected, he doesn't reveal anything too substantial about the game play, but some bits are pretty interesting nevertheless:

"Cyberpunk, at its core, is all about the dehumanisation of humanity," Shadowrun creator Jordan Weisman tells to me. "Both on the micro scale, where we start putting tons of gear and electronics in our bodies because what nature gave us isn't good enough anymore, and on the macro scale, with the disassembly of governments, and their replacement by mega-corporations that owe nothing to their citizens."

... Along with all your cyberpunk favourites--hackers with keyboards strapped to their backs, megacorporations above the law, crime, filth, vice, mirrorshades, and razors springing forth from fingertips--the pen & paper RPG first released in 1989 has a magical twist. In 2011, so the story goes, magic returned to the world. Elven and dwarven babies are born to surprised parents (with orks, trolls, gnomes, vampires, and other fantasy fare to come), dragons re-emerge, and people find themselves developing magical abilities.

This, Weisman says, was to provide an "interesting counterpoint" to the aforementioned cyberpunk dehumanisation of humanity, "something that is all about humanity and nature." The more Shadowrun spellcasters technologically augment their bodies, the less in touch they are with their magic. "It became this shining edge to the dystopian cloud of cyberpunk, that maybe through the perseverance of nature, as personified by magic, there was a way back from this hell that we had created."

Shadowrun Returns is set in the universe's 2050s, during the era of the P&P RPG's Second Edition, where the tech is still pleasantly low-tech and chunky. "As an inadvertent prognosticator of the future, I'm pretty proud of the number of things we got right, but missed a couple of big ones, like the concept of being wireless", Weisman said.

... [Shadowrun Returns will] follow an "anthology" format, with several authors writing related chapters of an over-arching story. While Weisman makes clear it won't be a sandbox game, he says there will be room for a little branching.

"Admittedly this is a space we're still charting out, but I do believe that a good RPG at its core has to be a branching structure. You have to be able to give the player the ability to explore, both physically as well as emotionally, different directions that they might take."

... What is confirmed is an editor. While it is purely an editor, not a full mod kit, Weisman believes it'll give users "quite significant" powers to tell their own Shadowrun stories. You won't be able to import your own assets, but can repurpose the stock art to your own ends.

The game will be in 2D, but Harebrained Schemes is still working on an art style to evoke its "retro history" without scaring away new players. "We want to make sure that we capture that essence without being dated," Weisman said. "That's a fun challenge, but also one that we know will take several iterations to get right."

Hackers, or 'deckers' to use the lingo, won't dive into the full virtual reality of the Matrix during missions, but will they add their unique technical perspective to the situation, an idea very important to Shadowrun. "I wanted to get across that we do all view the world through the prisms of our own experiences and our own skills," Weisman explained. Taken to the extreme, "To a carpenter, the world is just a series of things to figure out how to solve with a hammer."​

You can find the full interview here. Enjoy!

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