The studio making the browser-based Shadowrun MMO wants your money.
It's been awhile since we last talked about a big Kickstarter project, so allow me to point you at Shadowrun Online, the browser-based MMO set in the famous pencil-and-paper RPG world of the same name. Those of you who've been paying attention will recall that Shadowrun Online was originally announced in October 2011, but having seen the great crowdfunding successes enjoyed by so many other indie projects, the devs at Cliffhanger Productions decided to give it a go themselves.
They're aiming high. The Shadowrun Online Kickstarter is seeking $500,000, which isn't outrageous compared to the millions earned by earlier projects like the Double Fine Adventure or Wasteland 2 but still a hell of a pile of money for a relatively unknown studio. Cliffhanger is made up of veterans of various high-profile games like Diablo 2, World of Warcraft, Far Cry, Gothic and others, and while it's doing fairly well for itself so far, the lack of a "big name" like Tim Schafer, Brian Fargo or Brian Mitsoda at the helm could very well make hitting its goal a real challenge.
Speaking of big names and big Kickstarters, Shadowrun Online is separate from Shadowrun Returns, the single-player game being developed by Jordan Weisman and the team at Harebrained Schemes that brought in $1.8 million on Kickstarter earlier this year. There will be some crossover and collaboration, however; the two games share space, along with the Shadowrun tabletop RPG, at shadowrun.com, and as Executive Producer Jan Wagner explains in the pitch video, Cliffhanger and Harebrained have agreed to collaborate and support each other where they can, and have even discussed "a little side plot" that will span both games.
Shadowrun Online will be free-to-play with optional "premium subscriptions" available for serious fans, so everyone will be able to play whether they support this Kickstarter or not. Those who do will get things like access to the closed beta, unique in-game items, pre-paid subscriptions and of course the usual crazy stuff at the high end of the donation scale, like being used as a boss enemy or designing your own mission. As always, nobody can guarantee that this thing is going to happen or that it won't suck if it does, so empty your caveats and then check it out at Kickstarter!