Cyberspace was cut from the original design for Shadowrun Returns to keep the crowdfunded RPG at a reasonable scale and budget, but what's cyberpunk with a virtual world? After tossing out loads of ideas, developer HareBrained Schemes has finally found a way to make the Matrix work, albeit less vast than in the tabletop RPG.
"The issue was (and is) how we integrate the idea of a decker entering the Matrix with the rest of the game AND within the boundaries of our production reality. To do it (at least close to right) it would need its own look and feel. It would need new characters and environments and interface and sounds. It would need new gameplay features for cyberdecks and programs and intrusion countermeasures and Black IC and AI," designer Mitch Gitelman explained. "And, and, and. All the reasons why we said we couldn't do it ...
"But we felt like we HAD to do it. It's as much a part of Shadowrun as spell slinging."
So, at certain points during the story, your decker can jack into a Matrix node, deploying programs to defeat the security. Hacking systems can do handy things like controlling cameras, turrets, and machines which dispense poison gas, which I can't say I'd install in any building of mine.
Your hacker is still really in the real world, though, so you'll need to defend them.
Shadowrun Returns launches for PC in June.
Do read Gitelman's post for heaps more on how hacking works, but here's a peek at how it looks: