by Michael Brown, staff writer
After three years of development and early access, Catalyst Game Labs and Cliffhanger Productions have announced a release date for their online, Kickstarter-fueled Shadowrun game that will mirror the tabletop pen-and-paper version. Catalyst has teamed up with Nordic Games to distribute a boxed set that will be available in retail stores in April 2015. Along with the release date, Catalyst announced on the Shadowrun website that the name would be changed from its initial moniker of Shadowrun Online to Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown, feeling that the term “Online” provided negative connotations, while “Chronicles” expressed their continued goal to tell stories.
“It just clicked between Nordic and us – we know and trust them to give Shadowrun the attention it deserves and we are looking forward to finalise Shadowrun Online and deliver a strategically demanding, turn-based co-op combat experience”, said Jan Wagner, co-founder of Cliffhanger Productions, before the announced name change. “With Shadowrun Online, we put the emphasis on experiencing cataclysmic events in 2076, shaking Boston and the whole of North America, focusing the game play on tactical combat, truly individual characters and the team aspects of the role-playing experience. You can play the game as a full single player game, leading your team of runners into dangerous missions or you can join up with your friends or other players you meet in the game to face the dangers ahead.”
Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown takes place in the year 2076 of the popular, fan-favorite Shadowrun universe, a dystopian world where magic has returned to the Earth, and exists side by side with cyber-technology. Players in the Shadowrun tabletop role playing game play “shadowrunners”, those individuals who have fallen into the cracks of society and earn their living by doing the dirty jobs others won’t do, while powerful mega-corporations cast their shadows across the globe.
Boston Lockdown centers around a dragon emerging from an underground lab and bringing with it a disease that turns Boston’s citizens into raging killers. Government and corporate forces lock down the city, and you and other shadowrunners must survive, solve the mystery, or die. Players in the online game will directly affect events in the tabletop game, collaborating in a huge story line that will cast ripples in the Shadowrun universe.
Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown is a turn-based tactical game, often compared to X-Com, that will stress role playing as much as combat. Players will be able to choose their metatype, from Ork, Troll, Dwarf, Elf, and Human, and their class, from gun-toting street samurai to a spell-slinging mage, with in-game choices having real consequences for the Shadowrun universe.
Currently, you can join the early access game on Steam for a much cheaper price than you would pay once the finished product is released. Catalyst also has two other online games, similar to Shadowrun Chronicles, out for purchase and play, and are available in digital format only. Shadowrun Returns, the Kickstarter-funded game that started the online revolution, and Shadowrun: Dragonfall, are both stand alone games, and will give you a feel for what’s to come in Shadowrun Chronicles. Both games are developed by Harebrained Schemes, in association with Catalyst Game Labs. Their third game, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, currently in production after a huge Kickstarter response, is scheduled to be released in December 2015.
Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown will step out of the shadows for PC, MAC and Linux on April 28, 2015.
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