How Shadowrun Returns used a Star Wars meme for inspiration

Shadowrun Returns' Jordan Weisman talks about the changing vision of the future in the Shadowrun lore before talking about why he won't be making many changes to the overall lore.


Shadowrun Returns brings with it an adventurous and speculative look at the future, just as the series always has. However, the future, as envisioned by the 90's versions of Shadowrun is very different from the future envisioned today. So how does developer HareBrained Schemes' vision of Shadowrun reconcile the evolving views of what the future is?

"The prognostication that I did 25 years ago got some things right and some things really wrong," game designer and HB chief Jordan Weisman told Shacknews. "Even those wrong things are part of the Shadowrun canon and, for some players and readers, those things still have an emotional resonance to them. So it's been an interesting process of updating the absolutely minimal possible that we felt would be a suspension-of-disbelief breaker for a new audience. It came down to a handful of little things that we changed and tweaked slightly to avoid that breaking of suspension of disbelief for new players."

Interestingly, in trying to tweak some of the series lore, Weisman had what he calls his "Han shot first" moment. He started to realize that trying to fix too many aspects of the Shadowrun narrative could upset fans that had grown up with the series.

"The vast majority has really tried to be respectful to the original vision of the future from 25 years ago." he said. "I, like many people, was upset with George [Lucas] for going back and messing with his movies. Then I was working on [Shadowrun Returns], I found myself tempted to go back and fix things that I didn't like, but I realized, 'I know what the feels like from a fan's point-of-view...don't do that.' So we restricted ourselves to the barest minimum that wouldn't disenfranchise new players."

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Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 20, 2013 4:15 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, How Shadowrun Returns used a Star Wars meme for inspiration.

    Shadowrun Returns' Jordan Weisman talks about the changing vision of the future in the Shadowrun lore before talking about why he won't be making many changes to the overall lore.

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      June 20, 2013 5:08 PM

      I'm a little wet in the pants for this game.

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      June 20, 2013 5:27 PM

      Did you ask for some examples from the "handful of little things" that they changed and tweaked?

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      June 20, 2013 7:04 PM

      Any excuse to see Shadowrun Returns in the news... is just alright with me.

      Jordan Weisman seems like a super interesting guy. Inventing Shadowrun... creating the friggin' Battletech Center (coolest thing ever) and then this game. Just a cool dude.

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        June 20, 2013 7:38 PM

        He apparently also worked on the ARG for the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero.

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      June 20, 2013 9:47 PM

      I know your feels, brah.

      'I know what that feels like from a fan's point-of-view...don't do that.'

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        June 21, 2013 12:28 AM

        Me, I don't really know what that feels like. If something is out of date or should be changed, then buck up and change it. I get nostalgic just like everyone else, but if I have to choose between progress and keeping something the same just for old times sake, I'll choose progress every time. In almost all cases, we still have the old versions, so why burden the needs of the present with the choices of the past if it doesn't make sense?

        "We identified things that needed changing, and we didn't change them" is not nearly as reassuring to my ears as it is to others. I couldn't care less that George Lucas tinkered with Star Wars, in of itself. My only concern is whether the changes are an improvement or not, and to be fair, some of Lucas's weren't.

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          June 21, 2013 4:30 AM

          I... only corrected Ozzie's typo.

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          June 21, 2013 6:59 AM

          The quote indicates he was referring to the narrative, not mechanical tweaks and the like. Lucas and the "Han shot first" moment set a good example of what NOT to change: stories.

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            June 21, 2013 9:37 AM

            I feel pretty confident that they're not going to make bad changes. No one complained when CDProjekt renamed their Cyberpunk 2020-based game to Cyberpunk 2077 to make it sound less ridiculous. That's exactly the kind of stuff he was talking about. Immersion breaking stuff.

            As far as Star Wars is concerned, the Han shooting second change is bullshit, I won't deny that. There are other bad changes too. But personally I didn't see the harm in cleaning up the special effects, or replacing that awful monkey mask thing from ESB with good old Ian McDiarmid, or replacing the sloppy English text in that Death Star scene with proper Aurebesh script. You know, spit and polish things that prevent the films from looking sloppy or dated.

            Even so, I do think that they should make the original theatrical releases available to those who want it.

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          June 21, 2013 8:52 AM

          If you feel "burdened" by the lore of a fictional universe then you're not making as much "progress" as you think.

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          June 21, 2013 12:41 PM

          Lucas without proper producer = Insanity

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      June 21, 2013 3:08 AM

      this is coming to Android? ()_() ..interesting..

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