Harebrained Schemes - All News
Tuesday - January 12, 2016
Harebrained Schemes - Mitch Gitelman interview
In an interview with GameReactor Mitch Gitelman talks about Harebrained Schemes upcoming games Necropolis and Battletech while also discussing the future of Shadowrun. With the upcoming mini-campaign for SR: Hong Kong incoming this year its going to be a busy 2016 for the studio.
Their first major project was Shadowrun Returns (2013, funded via Kickstarter) and this game spawned sequels in the shape of Shadowrun: Dragonfall (2014) and Shadowrun: Hong Kong (2015) both with their own separate Kickstarter campaigns. Currently they are working to fulfil the last bit of content for Shadowrun: Hong Kong that was promised in the Kickstarter, and they've just started up on their latest Kickstarter project BattleTech (once again going back to an old FASA property), while the promising and action-RPG Necropolis is closing in on release.
You've got so many different things going on so we thought we'd catch up and get an update on what's happening. Can you give us a brief overview of what's going on at the studio at the moment?
Mitch Gitelman: Oh my. Well let's see, we are hard at work on pre-production on Battletech after closing our kickstarter in October. So we got a pre-production team rolling there, a lot of good things are happening between now and the end of the year. A lot of documentation during prototyping, that kind of thing, and the BattleTech team is very excited.
We also have the Shadowrun team, who are doing Shadowrun: Hong Kong, they're also fulfilling a Kickstarter reward right now creating a mini-campaign that happens right after the events of Shadowrun: Hong Kong. So you can take your high level character from the end of Shadowrun: Hong Kong and import it into this new mini-campaign. I think it's going to be about a five hour campaign or so. Depending on the level of detail you play at it could be about seven hours. So that's coming out early next year. Also for Shadowrun: Hong Kong we just recorded an audio commentary to give to backers, so you'll be able to play through the game and as you enter different scenes you'll see a little icon. When you click it you'll hear the development teams' voices describe the making of that particular level, that kind of thing.
If we go back to one of those franchises that you're returning to, BattleTech. Was it always the plan to bring it back in this fashion?
The rights to BattleTech were just kind of a mess. So we sort of stayed away from it for a while but the cool thing was, with Battletech, although we've wanted to make it forever and we knew we wanted to make it turn-based like the original board game. So we always had this simple vision for one day, wouldn't it be great to give back to BattleTech fans, the way we did with Shadowrun fans. Actually it was the Shadowrun fans that sort of enabled the BattleTech fans because, with the overwhelming support that we got from Shadowrun and the fans reaction to what we did, the great reviews. That caught Microsoft's attention back to us. Obviously we had the Shadowrun license and they were really positive about it but, once they saw what we did with it, it was actually Phil Spencer who is the vice president of Microsoft Studios who really wanted us to do a Battletech game. To his credit, he's a really great guy. He was a good boss when I worked for him and he's a fan of Jordan's. From his point of view this had nothing to do with money any more or anything like that or licensing, screw that from his perspective. He had a chance to satisfy BattleTech fans by giving us the license and so he did. He just wanted there to be a good BattleTech game because there hadn't been one in so long and, that's how that happened and I'm pleased about that to.
On Shadowruns future:
Don't say that, that might be the opposite of what the fans want.
Well it depends on what you mean. We created a very old school game engine. Our stories were very modern stories. I'm really proud of our story telling and how it improved over time. But the production values and things like that, limit it in the market. We'll see what happens when we come back to it. Maybe something closer to Xcom. In terms of production values, like being able to rotate the map and things like that, being able to go upstairs.
But of course not moving it to a different perspective something crazy like that, that's been attempted in the past.
Oh no, we're not going to make a first-person shooter or something like that.
Sunday - September 06, 2015
Harebrained Schemes - Jordan Weisman interview @ PC Gamer
PC Gamer interview with Jordan Weisman about Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Necropolis, BattleTech and more:
Evan talks with Harebrained Schemes founder Jordan Weisman, otherwise known as the creator of Shadowrun, BattleTech, and MechWarrior.
Wednesday - March 04, 2015
Harebrained Schemes - Interview @ US Gamer
Harebrained Schemes was interviewed on US Gamer to talk about how how to be successful kickstarter by putting your ego aside, and communicating with backers.
Kickstarter is just a service. Sometimes amid all the doom and gloom, people forget that. Kickstarter is meant to connect creative people to fans who are willing to fund interesting projects. Two weeks ago, problems with that service were highlighted when veteran developer Peter Molyneux was called out on the mishandling of his first Kickstarted title, Godus. The Godus situation showed many of the ways that Kickstarter projects can go wrong. Kickstarter drives over-promise, over-estimate, get delayed, and get cancelled all of the time.
What about when Kickstarter works?
Seattle-based developer Harebrained Schemes is rather good with Kickstarter. The studio has Kickstarted three gaming projects, two of which they've released. The small team of around 20 developers has delivered on the promise of the service consistently. Their first title was Shadowrun Returns, a game adaptation of the popular pen-and-paper RPG series. That funding drive closed at $1.8 million, far above its original $400,000 goal. The studio followed that a year later with Golem Arcana, a tablet-enhanced miniatures board game. Last week, Harebrained finished the Kickstarter for Returns sequel, Shadowrun: Hong Kong. Like the first Shadowrun drive, they finished far above their intended goal.
So what does Harebrained Schemes do differently? That question led me to this conversation with Harebrained Schemes co-founder Mitch Gitelman about the developer's success on Kickstarter. I ask him about what a developer needs to have a successful Kickstarter project.
Sunday - January 11, 2015
Harebrained Schemes - January 13th Launch
In-case you have been living in an area with internet Harebrained Schemes announced last month they will launching a new Shadowrun Kickstarter.
Well we now know the date due to a new Twitter post.
Monday - January 05, 2015
Harebrained Schemes - 2014 in Review Update
Harebrained Schemes latest website update wishes everyone a Happy New Year, and looks back at what the developer accomplished in 2014.
2014 has been the biggest year ever for Harebrained Schemes in so many ways, and it can only get bigger from here. Just in case you forgot what with all the things that happened this year, let’s have a quick recap.
We released 2.5 games this year: Dragonfall in February, “one of the most memorable and complex RPG stories of the decade.” according to PCGamer’s TJ Hafer.
Golem Arcana in August, our first physical game here at Harebrained, and Dragonfall: Director’s cut in September, which won RPG Gamer’s Game of the Year among many other accolades.
We also started work on our newest project, Necropolis, which you may have heard a little about from @TheBrazenHead or http://necropolisgame.tumblr.com
We also welcomed on a lot of people to the team this year. Mino, Angelica, Rebecca, Liz, Erik, Tristin, Will, Nate, Zach, Spencer, another Chris, Cassidy, Dennis, and Doug all joined our ranks (and I don’t think I forgot anyone, but we now so numerous as to take up corners on two floors of the building, so that’s exciting!)
Harebrained’s extended family grew as well. Our engineers Brenton and Sheridan both got married, and Andrew, our lead writer for Dragonfall, welcomed Monica (yep, like that Monika) into his life in mid-May. Chris, our lead Engineer on Golem Arcana, also welcomed his son Eli last December.
As we grew though, some of our beloved Harebrained folks flew away- some for warmer climes, such as our lead environment artist, Jenn, who left us to go eat peaches in Georgia, and some for colder climes, like the designer for the APEX Mission, Simon, who returned to his native Canada to twirl his prestigious mustache.
We look forward to seeing you again in January with our newest Kickstarter project. Happy New Year!
-The Harebrained Schemes Team
Tuesday - December 30, 2014
Harebrained Schemes - The New Setting Revealed
Harebrained Schemes posted a new image and some new information in a new update about their new Shadowrun kickstarter will take place in Hong Kong.
Tuesday - December 23, 2014
Harebrained Schemes - New Kickstarter Update
Harebrained Schemes posted a new image and some new information in a new update about their new Shadowrun kickstarter that will be launched next month.
Here's a piece of look & feel concept art for our new setting. We'll show how it translates into Shadowrun's isometric gameplay view when our Kickstarter launches in January!
From the look of the image it will be be set in an Asian city this time.
Wednesday - December 17, 2014
Harebrained Schemes - New Kickstarter Game
Harebrained Schemes announced in a new update that a new Shadowrun Kickstarter will be launched in January 2015. More information will be available next month.
Friday - July 25, 2014
Harebrained Schemes - Interview @ N4G
The N4G Blog continues the indie month, and posted a new interview with Mike McCain. He is the Art Director of Harebrained Schemesm, and Game Director for Dragonfall.
FOGKNIGHT: How was Harebrained Schemes born?
MIKE: Jordan and Mitch officially founded Harebrained back in 2011. There were about a dozen of us, starting out - some folks that had worked with Jordan at his previous venture, and a few new contractors like myself. We were working out of a storage closet we rented from Gas Powered Games. Literally! It was this tiny, L-shaped closet on the far side of the lobby. There, we created our first title - Crimson: Steam Pirates, an iPad game published by Bungie Aerospace. Next up was Strikefleet Omega, a realtime fleet–command game for mobile which broke a million downloads and was very well received by both players and reviewers.
Our big breakout moment as an independent studio, though, was the Kickstarter campaign we launched for Shadowrun Returns in spring 2012. After that success, we more than doubled the size of the team and moved to a larger office in Kirkland to accommodate (which is where we still are today.)
FOGKNIGHT: What is Harebrained Schemes' goal as an independent game studio?
MIKE: Well, at the end of the day, we want to always be making games we love. We're passionate about telling great stories and entertaining an audience, so storytelling and world-building is always a part of what we do. We want to stay small, making games that appeal to a core geek audience. We're not limiting ourselves to RPGs, though. We have a very nimble dev team, and it's important to try new things as creators.
Sunday - June 15, 2014
Harebrained Schemes - Hiring For New Game
Thanks to RPG Codex it seems Harebrained Schemes is hiring staff for another possible ShadowRun game. Here are the details.
Harebrained Schemes seeks a freelance game writer to work onsite in their Kirkland, WA studio contributing to the next HBS title. This writer will be responsible for conceiving of and executing upon well-written, engaging game dialog using Harebrained Schemes’ proprietary editor while collaborating with the Creative Director, Lead Writer and design team.
This freelance contract will begin immediately and run through the end of December, 2014 with the potential for work in the future. Candidates must deliver a short audition piece using the Shadowrun Editor to be considered for this position.
- 1-3 years professional writing experience in the game industry.
- At least one shipped digital game title.
- Outstanding talent for crafting dialog. Character conversations flow naturally with good diction and grammar.
- Deep understanding of RPG dialog design – dialog trees, variables, best practices.
- Technically proficient – able to quickly master in-house tools for creation of RPG conversations.
- Attention to detail – high accuracy with grammar, spelling and punctuation is critical.
- Able to match the style and tone of our previous Shadowrun campaign writing.
- Strong creative collaboration and communication skills – game writing takes iteration.
- High-energy, self-motivated, and flexible.
If you’re interested in this position, please send your resume and writing sample to email@example.com.
- Experience with the Shadowrun Returns Editor or with the Aurora Game Editor.
- Working knowledge of the Shadowrun game setting a big plus.
- Prior experience writing in the style and tone of the Shadowrun world.
- Has played Shadowrun Returns or Shadowrun: Dragonfall.
Are they making a new Shadowrun Returns campaign? It certainly looks like it! Plus, the stated length of the contract (through the end of December) should give us some idea of what its release date is going to be. Great news - just don't call it "DLC" this time, guys.
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