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Shadowrun Returns dev has "spent every penny", hoping for further interest

Kickstarter can be highly unstable. That's the view of Jordan Weisman, leader of Hairbrained Schemes, the team behind Shadowrun Returns.

The Kickstarter-funded project looks to make an impression alongside a plethora of big budgeted titles. In an interview with GI, Weisman suggests Kickstarter is an extremely exciting and risky platform to raise funds on.

"Shadowrun Returns is on lists right next to games that have 30-40 million dollar production budgets," he said.

"When you look at the scope, it's really small budget development. You have to have a project that is more design-focused than technology-focused. We have a lot of content in our game, but not compared to one of these giant epics."

Weisman believes Shadowrun is exactly the type of series that can benefit from Kickstarter. He suggests that many contributors are struck with a sense of nostalgia when deciding to donate.

"There's an overlap with the audience that's on Kickstarter. It tends to be an older audience, ones you can afford to take a little risk, and who have an emotional attachment. I think the majority of games that have been funded there to large numbers are people or properties that have an emotional tie to the audience in some way. Certainly that's the case with Double Fine, Wasteland, Shadowrun, the Obsidian guys... these are all examples of that."

Even though the concept of backers may seem secure, Weisman discussed how easy it is to quickly spend the money received.

"We have 37,000 backers on Shadowrun Returns," he continued. "Our hope is that there's a lot more of them than just those 37,000, because if not then we lose the gamble. We've spent every penny and more that they gave us to make the game; we haven't made any money."

For Hairbrained Schemes, interest in Shadowrun Returns needs to ramp up as release draws closer. If so, it's likely more people are willing to spend on the game.

"We're definitely betting on that. I'm hoping it's not just the nostalgia player, but that there's an underserved market of people who really like depth of story, like depth of tactics. I'm sure they still enjoy a great first-person shooter, but they're looking for this to be part of their gaming mix, and not finding a lot of it in the marketplace. It is historically considered to be too small of a niche over the last decade to be of interest to major publishers."

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Nick Akerman


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