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Default Shadowrun Returns - Interview @ Gamingbolt

July 23rd, 2013, 02:53
Gamingbolt interviewed Creator Jordan Weisman to find out more about Shadowrun Returns.

Ravi Sinha: The game can be completed using either lethal characters or by having combat-oriented NPCs help you fight. The idea, using the level editor, is to create stories without needing to rely on combat. When looking at a game like Fallout, for instance, which allows for any and all kinds of decisions and outcomes, what kind of scope does the level editor for Shadow Returns allow for helping players craft their own narratives?

Jordan Weisman: The Shadowrun Returns editor does indeed allow Gamemasters (what we call UGC creators) to design stories or even entire campaigns that could require no combat all or offer players different paths Ė some that require combat and some that donít.

The game supports this through a powerful conversation editor that links to our trigger system and interactive objects. That combination opens up ďadventureĒ game style interactions and Iím sure there are other creative uses for them we havenít thought of yet.

Ravi Sinha: Could some one effectively recreate the first game using the level editor? Or maybe classic missions from the same.

Jordan Weisman: We have already seen our Early Editor Access Backers starting to recreate the SNES game using the level editor. Another team is dedicated to recreating every book ever published in the Shadowrun line Ė which is a project so ambitious that the mere thought of it awes me.

Harebrained Schemes is releasing our entire campaign in editor format so that Gamemasters can take any part of what we have created and mod it, change it, or take whatever parts of it they want to create whatever they want.

Ravi Sinha: What is the estimated play length for Shadowrun Returns?

Jordan Weisman: The Dead Manís Switch campaign, set in Seattle, takes most players about 12 hours to play. Your play time may vary a little based upon how cautious a player you are. After that, we hope there will be endless hours of gameplay from the community. We are working on the Berlin DLC campaign now.
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July 23rd, 2013, 02:53
I often read about the combat-free path as some kind of holy grail of RPGs, but the thrill of strategic combat is in the series of critical decisions and the multitude of options generated by hundreds of variables (especially with a party) and the many different outcomes, ie. total victory without a scratch all the way down to the entire party being eliminated. And this is all in one encounter.

All other kinds of problem resolution tend to be very limited in variety, and come down to binary, pass|don't pass stat checks, or at best a sequence of binary stat checks or dialogue choices. I have yet to see a game where a non-combat path has anything like the raw thrill or replayability of a great combat system. I think it could be done, but even the "classics" leave a lot of room for improvement and innovation.

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July 23rd, 2013, 03:44
12 hours seems a bit short. Still, the community should be able to extend that easily
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July 23rd, 2013, 03:56
Originally Posted by SonOfCapiz View Post
12 hours seems a bit short. Still, the community should be able to extend that easily
I think for the time in development, that's pretty decent, especially with it originally being a ios game, so 12 hours with the ability for hundreds of community mods is perfect, especially for the price.
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July 23rd, 2013, 07:04
Pretty short, but I was expecting that. Since I'm slow that will be about 15 hours for me. If Berlin will be about the same, I'll be content.
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July 23rd, 2013, 07:14
Are there side missions in this game? I'm hoping he's talking about the time it takes just to finish the main questline.
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July 23rd, 2013, 08:22
Damn, 12 hours is pretty much exactly what I was predicting!

Glad to hear it ain't less.

—-

As for non-combat solutions, my first playthrough of Fallout or Fallout 2 (can't remember which) had me engage in little to no combat as I talked my way out of pretty much everything. And I absolutely loved it!
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July 23rd, 2013, 08:24
Regarding the community lengthening this game I have some hope for the following site: http://shadowrunidentity.org/. There was some videos a couple of weeks ago for Life on a Limb which looked very professional and way ahead of anything I would expect for a game yet to be released.
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July 23rd, 2013, 10:15
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Are there side missions in this game? I'm hoping he's talking about the time it takes just to finish the main questline.
That are my thoughts exactly.
I expect a 50$ full price game to entertain me 50 hours at least. So for 20$ it should be 20.
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July 23rd, 2013, 10:47
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
I often read about the combat-free path as some kind of holy grail of RPGs, but the thrill of strategic combat is in the series of critical decisions and the multitude of options generated by hundreds of variables (especially with a party) and the many different outcomes, ie. total victory without a scratch all the way down to the entire party being eliminated. And this is all in one encounter.

All other kinds of problem resolution tend to be very limited in variety, and come down to binary, pass|don't pass stat checks, or at best a sequence of binary stat checks or dialogue choices. I have yet to see a game where a non-combat path has anything like the raw thrill or replayability of a great combat system. I think it could be done, but even the "classics" leave a lot of room for improvement and innovation.
I rarely take a purely combat-free path, but it's existance is always good because it is indicative that the developers have spent time and care at preparing alternate solutions to quests, and that always inhances the possibilities to roleplay. I find this mix of approaches to solve the various challenges is one key aspect that makes the RPG genre attractive over others to me. That said, I would also like to see more experimentation with a "gamification" of the dialogue portion of RPGs. Maybe it doesn't work, but it really should be tried.
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July 23rd, 2013, 13:56
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Pretty short, but I was expecting that. Since I'm slow that will be about 15 hours for me. If Berlin will be about the same, I'll be content.
Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Besides, the official campaigns are only a part of the fare here. I'm really looking forward to player made adventures and I'll wager I'll be very much entertained for many, many hours by them. Who knows, maybe I'll even try my hand in creating an adventure of my own too (being a big PnP Shadowrun fan, I'm really itching to do a short adventure).

Anyways, two more days.

Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan
That said, I would also like to see more experimentation with a "gamification" of the dialogue portion of RPGs. Maybe it doesn't work, but it really should be tried.
Yes, it would be great to see some experimentation with dialogue checks and skills, but I'm afraid it would open itself to extreme save-scumming. Like with, e.g. pick pocketing or lock picking skills, if the dialogue success is determined by a dice roll vs skill level (like in PnP RPGs), instead of a rigid skill level comparison to a set threshold, there's nothing stopping someone with mere 5% chance of success to save-scum until the dice are favorable (unless the game uses predetermined random numbers, "seeds," which won't change with reloads).

Whether save-scumming is a real problem for devs to ponder, is another question. I don't see it as a massive problem, really, anyone can play as they like, IMO. Of course it is cheating, but if someone enjoys the game like that, what the hey, let them. I can always play it my way, without save-scumming. And I would really like dialogue and other non-combat skills to have skill checks with dice rolls, instead of rigid level threshold checks (which are like: Speech at level 4+ succeeds always, less than 4 fails always). There could still be prerequisites, of sorts, for skill rolls to curtail really low checks. Like if your success chance is under 10%, you won't get to try at all. Or something. Lot of room for experimentation here.

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July 23rd, 2013, 14:00
Honest question:

Would you prefer four 15 hour campaigns to one 40 hour campaign?

Assume comparable quality.
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July 23rd, 2013, 14:02
Assuming we're paying for each of those separately… hell no.
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July 23rd, 2013, 14:03
Even if you didn't have to pay for them?
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July 23rd, 2013, 14:17
Then I'd say it would depend on if/how they're tied together. If the four campaigns were linked together into one overarching game, that could be cool if done right.

If you're talking about four different campaigns, then no.
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July 23rd, 2013, 14:28
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Then I'd say it would depend on if/how they're tied together. If the four campaigns were linked together into one overarching game, that could be cool if done right.

If you're talking about four different campaigns, then no.
Then we agree
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July 23rd, 2013, 14:51
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Honest question:

Would you prefer four 15 hour campaigns to one 40 hour campaign?

Assume comparable quality.
I might, actually. With my increasingly limited playtime I often find short-but-interesting games serve me better than really long ones. That's not to say some games shouldn't be long - I have endless games of Skyrim and Gothic 3 going on that I return to every now and again. But I no longer mind short campaigns per se and enjoy the satisfaction of actually finishing something, which is much more likely for me with shorter games.
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July 23rd, 2013, 14:53
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I might, actually. With my increasingly limited playtime I often find short-but-interesting games serve me better than really long ones. That's not to say some games shouldn't be long - I have endless games of Skyrim and Gothic 3 going on that I return to every now and again. But I no longer mind short campaigns per se and enjoy the satisfaction of actually finishing something, which is much more likely for me with shorter games.
I'm not sure what you're saying, actually.

So, because you don't really have the time - you might prefer shorter campaigns? But you also enjoy Skyrim and Gothic 3?

If we pretend you have the time available - which would you prefer?
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July 23rd, 2013, 15:06
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm not sure what you're saying, actually.

So, because you don't really have the time - you might prefer shorter campaigns? But you also enjoy Skyrim and Gothic 3?
Skyrim and Gothic 3 are games that don't rely much on (main) story, so it's OK to drop them for a month or two or half a year, and to still be able to get back into it in short order.


If we pretend you have the time available - which would you prefer?
I am not sure if it's valuable to get into hypotheticals. You asked what we would prefer, and time restrictions are very much a part of my reality. Are you looking for some kind of confirmation for your preference of longer games? Why?

But OK, hypothetically, if I had all the time in the world, I would find it easier to play longer games, and therefore would also enjoy them more (as I did in the past). However I would also have time to play more games, so I might still enjoy a short campaign as a "snack" if it offers somthing unique that my long games don't (i.e. I would probably not be turned off of Shadowrun returns, because the Shadowrun IP is something I long hoped to see in a CRPG).

Now let me turn it around. If you had my gaming schedule: About 3-4 hours a week, usually after 10pm, with 3 to 4 periods of up to 3 weeks each a year that don't allow any gaming, and a few 1-2 week periods allowing for 10-15 hours a week, what would you prefer?
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July 23rd, 2013, 15:14
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Skyrim and Gothic 3 are games that don't rely much on (main) story, so it's OK to drop them for a month or two or half a year, and to still be able to get back into it in short order.
Fair enough.

I am not sure if it's valuable to get into hypotheticals. You asked what we would prefer, and time restrictions are very much a part of my reality. Are you looking for some kind of confirmation for your preference of longer games? Why?
It might be helpful if you could set aside your somewhat unfounded suspicions.

I'm interested in human psychology - and I'm looking for a clear answer - because anything but a clear answer might serve to lessen my understanding, rather than enhance it.

I'm interested in details about your position on length - and while it's interesting that your limited time available is a big factor - it doesn't really reflect what you'd ideally want - as I assume you'd prefer having more time on your hands, everything else being equal.

But OK, hypothetically, if I had all the time in the world, I would find it easier to play longer games, and therefore would also enjoy them more (as I did in the past). However I would also have time to play more games, so I might still enjoy a short campaign as a "snack" if it offers somthing unique that my long games don't (i.e. I would probably not be turned off of Shadowrun returns, because the Shadowrun IP is something I long hoped to see in a CRPG).
Still kinda vague - but if I can't get a clear answer without forcing a clear question upon you - that's ok.

It seems I'll be considered manipulative if I do

Now let me turn it around. If you had my gaming schedule: About 3-4 hours a week, usually after 10pm, with 3 to 4 periods of up to 3 weeks a year that don't allow any gaming, and a few 1-2 week periods allowing for 10-15 hours a week, what would you prefer?
I'm what you might consider a very greedy person when it comes to the things I enjoy.

I might be considered somewhat childish, even.

I'm the sort of person who'd probably respond to such a schedule by giving up gaming entirely.

As in, if I can't have it my way - I don't want it at all.

That would be my guess, anyway.

To me, gaming is almost exclusively about losing myself in an experience - and that takes time and I can't really enjoy superficial experiences - which I consider "short stints" with games to be.

I could most likely change my approach to a certain extent - but that's where my childish and greedy nature enters the picture and ruins it.
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