Run-blocker: Shadowrun Hong Kong gives tablets an ICEy cold shoulder

By Owen Faraday 13 Jan 2015 0
Number one super guy. Number one super guy.

Seattle's Harebrained Schemes are back at the Kickstarter well to fill their bucket again for more Shadowrun: this time they're offering up Shadowrun: Hong Kong, their most blandly descriptive title to date, but with their track record I'm willing to issue an indulgence.

Hong Kong will be another standalone expansion pack for the throwback cyberpunk RPG but with one major difference. "We have elected to focus all our efforts on PC in order to deliver the best game we can," says the pitch, "without the current processing and memory limitations of tablets."

Well same to you, pal! What a snub. Harebrained's support for tablets has always felt a bit half-hearted with the rebooted Shadowrun games, always coming months after the PC release and shaved of the user-created content elements. Now our preferred platforms have been kicked to the curb entirely. This is absolutely good news for those of us who still play games on PC, but tablet-only types are left in the cold.

Harebrained Schemes might be the most successful of the wave of nostalgia-powered Kickstarter projects of the past couple of years. The studio successfully razzed the 1990s cyberpunk RPG with 2013's widely-admired Shadowrun Returns, which they then exceeded with the inarguably superior Shadowrun: Dragonfall -- both of which came to iPad and Android tablets.

So why leave mobile high and dry for Shadowrun: Hong Kong? I'm sure that to a great extent we can take HBS at face value: they want to make a PC-native experience with lots of whiz-bang graphics and--I dunno--actual magic. But businesses don't just leave money on the table for no reason. The unstated truth must be that the two Shadowrun titles must have sold poorly on mobile -- or at least they've sold an order of magnitude more on PC. And that's a shame.

HBS's $100,000 pitch for Hong Kong has been live for about two hours and it's already funded.

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