Shadowrun Chronicles

Another slightly random post but I saw in the news that the company behind Shadowrun Online (renamed Shadowrun Chronicles) is in financial trouble, although development on the game is continuing. That’s pretty sad to hear, it’s the closest game yet to a full-on MMORPG in the Shadowrun universe, although so far it falls short of what I would want to see in such a game.

Like the other title by a different studio (Harebrained Schemes, Shadowrun Returns), Shadowrun Chronicles is a tactical combat game. The major difference being the latter is played online with other players, whereas the former is a single player turn-based tactical game. The online game seems to be a shared lobby + instanced ‘dungeon’ game like Dungeons & Dragons Online. Sadly that’s already a deal breaker as I play MMORPGs for the shared world not just the shared instances – it’s the major reason why I never stuck with DDO for long, I want a world to explore not just small dungeons. This is even more an issue for modern games, the potential for a setting like Shadowrun is so immense even if they limited the game to major parts of one city. Given what the Secret World has done in terms of ‘world building’, it makes me unwilling to compromise.

Beyond this the game is also an isometric game, which I feel is less immersive than the more common first-person or third person views I have become accustomed to in modern MMOs. I don’t have the Ultima Online nostalgia to fall back on here as I never played it and playing Diablo 3 most recently hasn’t left me hankering for more awkward camera angles or restricted views. The game is also turn-based, which is great for tactical detail and micromanagement of combat, but in a multi-player context this could cause tensions or lead to frustration while waiting on other players.

Regardless of my personal reservations I do want the game to keep going and to develop further, maybe it could grow into a rich enough version of the Shadowrun universe for me to jump on board. The game only launched just over a month ago (on 28th May this year) so this is sad news to be reading so soon.

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3 Responses to Shadowrun Chronicles

  1. Jan Wagner says:

    Just to mention that: We are actually the only turn-based game I know that has simultaneous group movement in multiplayer 🙂

  2. Sylow says:

    Just a comment on this one: “Given what the Secret World has done in terms of ‘world building’, it makes me unwilling to compromise.”

    If you plan to measure all your future games against the quality standards TSW has given us, at least make sure to sweep the dust out of your empty games library once a while. Also keep in mind that while TSW is very much a budget title in the scope of the “big” MMOs, it quite certainly still did cost significally more than a small scale project like Shadowrun Online.

    That being said, i might have to see if i can find a bit of spare time and give Shadowrun Online a look, before it might close down. (Not only do TSW and Elite Dangerous eat up so much of my time, but my girl and friends also demand attantion… wtb: a job which i can do in 5 hours a week at full pay! 😀 )

  3. Telwyn says:

    Thanks for the correction Jan!
    @Sylow: a fair point, even TSW must have cost considerably more to develop. It’s not that I hold TSW to be a perfect example of world building or anything. But as the only ‘modern setting based on our world’ MMO that I’ve been playing I appreciate very much all the references to history, mythologies and ancient cultures. Other pure fantasy MMO’s may have deeper or richer world-building but they lack the hooks that I think TSW has because of the familiarity of the setting. Shadowrun as a near-future setting can also capitalise on this in a way World of Warcraft, FFXIV or SWTOR cannot.

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