Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Platforms

PC, Mac, Linux

Date

2015, 2016

Shadowrun: Hong Kong the third installment in Harebrained Schemes' award-winning Shadowrun series, a video game adaptation of a long-loved tabletop RPG originally created by Harebrained Schemes' founder, Jordan Weisman. A modern take on traditional video game RPGs in the vein of Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate, SRHK follows the story of a pair of siblings wrongfully framed for a crime while attempting to reconcile with their estranged adopted father. Finding themselves thrust into the middle of a power struggle between powerful Hong Kong Triads and the shadowy machinations of megacorporations, the player must navigate a web of allegiances and ancient curses in the cyberpunk future of 2056.

My role on SRHK was varied - I had my hands in pretty much every aspect of production. I designed missions, laid out their levels, scripted the game logic that made them work, and wrote dialog not just for the missions themselves, but also for the crew you interact with throughout the entire game. While most of the game's writing was a collaboration between myself and several others, the character of Gaichu, a japanese former spec ops soldier turned into an undead monster, was written entirely by me. I also designed new gear, new systems and abilities, and brought them from prototype into final shippable quality, including QA testing those systems and abilities.

Role

System design, level design, scripting, writing.

Goals

We knew that Shadowrun: Hong Kong was going to be the last of the Shadowrun Returns series of games, because the tools we were using had to be backward compatible with the previous games due to kickstarter promises. As such, we decided to push the system as far as it could go and send the series off with a bang. As such, the game was much larger and had more writing than either Shadowrun Returns or Shadowrun: Dragonfall. We started by having a lot of fast prototypes of missions, bringing the plot and game structure into alignment with what we could accomplish with a short schedule. Collaboration with art and engineering was constant, and the game's production time was a scant year for the initial release, with the extended edition - which includes a bonus campaign of 5 missions - shipping four months later.



Kowloon Harbor

Shadowrun: Hong Kong takes place in a futuristic, cyberpunk version of the famous city, in a world where magic and technology co-exist side by side. The player takes the role of an individual searching for their father, wrongly accused of murder, and forced into a life of espionage and shifting allegiances.

Cyberware

The cyberware system was massively expanded in comparison to Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall with nearly double the amount of enhancements and augmentations available, as well as new types of gear and locations for enhancements.

Skills

As a traditional RPG, the player has control of their characters advancement, with each attribute and ability affecting how they can play the game and ways to survive. Sometimes that means being better with spells or assault rifles, and at others, being able to talk or hack their way past combat.

The Matrix

The Matrix - the virtual reality network accessable by hackers - was also complely redesigned, steering away from "combat encounters on the internet" to a more stealth-based approach. Skilled programmers need never alert the system to their intrusion, if they're careful.

Dialog

As with the other games in the series, robust and well-written dialog forms the backbone of the story. Shadowrun: Hong Kong offers unprecedented opportunities to avoid combat, or to manipulate your enemies into fighting on your terms.

Combat

When combat does occur, many factors affect your success. Your augmentations, spells, drone support, cover and heavy weaponry all play a part in survival. For those that enjoy getting close, the game's hand to hand combat options are far more numerous than previous games.