Shadowrun Returns - Interview @ Gamasutra
Jordan Weisman is interviewed by Gamasutra on the Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter.
It was a little over a year between the end of the campaign and your launch. That seems...quite efficient, despite a minor delay. What's your advice to independent studios who are working towards a deadline for a crowdfunded game?JKW: In the scale of video game development, our budget was very small and we felt that while our backers were amazing, their patience would not be infinite, so for both reasons we knew we needed to move quickly. We embraced a very agile development methodology which really worked due to the extremely collaborative nature of our studio.
We had some pretty solid, larger design goals established, things like capturing the essence of the pen-and-paper mechanics, player character creation with a high diversity of character archetypes, team based tactical combat, and most importantly powerful [user-generated content tools. But the thousands of decisions needed to realize those goals were mostly worked out in real time over short sprints and with high iteration to allow us to attempt something, and then quickly rev it until it worked the way we wanted it to.
This process means that scope is constantly changing, most often downward, but not always, as the team constantly identifies things that were not considered previously, or that need to be reconceived. The biggest example of that is how we approached the Matrix. We felt that we did not have the budget to “do the Matrix right,” so had early on decided on an abstract mini-game to represent the Matrix and we communicated this to our backers. But after several attempts at that abstract mini-game had failed we finally bit the bullet and implemented a real Matrix experience.
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