It seems that Kickstarter has gone from a fledgling idea to a legitimate way of doing business in only a matter of months. Usually I get to track a Kickstarter for a few weeks, updating as the story unfolds, but this week the game I wanted to talk about met its goal in only 28 hours. Shadowrun Returns reached and then exceeded their $400,000 goal with less than 10,000 backers, and with 23 days to go the team at Harebrained Schemes LLC is going to have to advise everyone as to what they are going to do with all the extra cash they will most likely receive before it is over.
In case you didn’t know Shadowrun is pretty old, the original pen and paper RPG first launched in 1989. The fictional universe combines a dystopian setting with technology and magic to create a unique and modern touch to the role playing genre. There are also some characters you may recognize, including orcs, goblins, elves and gnomes. Older versions of the series even allowed certain characters to access computers by plugging themselves in through the use of a datajack, similar to the way in which it was depicted in The Matrix – oh, and Shadowrun also called theirs the matrix as well, years before the movie.
As with its Kickstarter predecessors there are some amazing rewards for those willing to fork over the cash. There are the standards of course, an illustrated book of short stories, a “backer” T-Shirt, and a hardcover edition of the Shadowrun Anthology. But for those willing to give even more can have their name in the credits, an NPC character created in their image, and even a consultation with the art director and level designer to help “tune one of your shadowruns.” For those willing to donate $10,000, Mike Mulvihill, who led Shadowrun game development, will come to your town and run a tabletop game of Shadowrun for you and five of your friends, “he’ll even buy some snacks.”
It seems that Kickstarter has a knack for breathing life into old franchises; Shadowrun isn’t the first and most likely won’t be the last. I reported earlier last week about how successful Kickstarters actually improve the whole Kickstarter ecosystem. Shadowrun is even participating in the movement ‘Kicking it forward,’ which means that they’ve made the promise to donate 5% of the games profits to other fledgling campaigns. So if you’re interested in playing as an elvish battlemage with cybernetic implants then head on over to Kickstarter and show them some love.