While I feel pretty safe saying that the Kickstarter craze has ended, it’s certainly not out of the question as a valid means of funding games. One of the earliest games to hit the million dollar mark, Shadowrun Returns, is getting another installment and proving once again that developer Harebrained Schemes knows how to use the crowdfunding service.
It’s not a question of whether the game would be funded – Shadowrun: Hong Kong is already funded.
“We’ve already begun development of the Hong Kong game,” said Harebrained Co-founder Mitch Gitelman. “We’re self-funding the first 12 hours of gameplay at the quality level of Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut. But we have plenty of ideas for features that didn’t fit into our budget.”
Rather than ask potential backers to fund the game, the team is looking have them help fund additional features. The Kickstarter campaign for the original Shadowrun Returns asked for $400,000, while this one is asking for a comparatively measly $100,000 U.S., which it reached in just two hours and has already nearly tripled as of the time of this writing. So far, backers have funded the following features:
$100,000 – Enhanced Player Controls! In addition to all the new Tech, Magic, Weapons, Consumables, Creatures, and Enemies we’re already planning, if we reach our initial funding goal, we’ll add a bunch of interface upgrades. These include the ability to decide which team member picks up an item in free-move mode, item swapping between party members, a player-initiated turn-mode toggle so you can position your team before you enter combat, and a spread-range indicator for shotguns and sweeping melee attacks.
$150,000 – Animatic Scene Transitions! These are short animated slide shows with voice narration that play at key points in the story – the opening, end of Act 1, end of Act 2, and at the end.
$200,000 – Racter joins your team of runners! Racter is a Russian rigger with a wry smile who relates better to his custom drone than he does to people. We’ll tell you about Racter’s unique gameplay abilities and player-influenced upgrade paths when we get closer to unlocking him.
$250,000 – More Animatic endings! If we hit this goal, we’ll be able to create multiple animatic endings for the story to reflect the choices you make in the game.
$300,000 – Gobbet’s personal side mission! Dive deep into the backstory of your team’s resident Rat shaman. Gobbet’s absurdist philosophy and impulsive nature have led her on a twisting path through life. In her personal mission, you’ll get the chance to walk that path with her and see for yourself where Rat takes you.
$350,000 – More better sound! We can only describe smells (for now) but we can definitely improve on our audio. Dynamic combat music will ebb and flow as a battle progresses, providing more atmosphere and tension. Enhanced Ambient Sound is a catch-phrase for lots of technical babble about making your play environment sound more real and less repetitive.
Additional goals include dynamic sound, another character, revamped and expanded magic and Matrix systems, additional cybernetic enhancements, and some character-specific missions.
This is a really cool use of the service that both shows how the team has used the lessons learned and money gained from the first Kickstarter intelligently and engages fans, allowing them to participate in the game’s development without worrying about whether they’ll get to play it or not.