Following on from the earlier success of Jordan Weisman's studio Hairbrained Schemes and their crowd-sourced funding of a 2D turn-based revival with Shadowrun Returns, another licensed team has taken the same route, launching a Kickstarter drive for Shadowrun Online -- a free to play MMO.
Shadowrun Online is in production at Austrian studio Cliffhanger Productions, who have previously worked on Jagged Alliance Online. The developer hopes to raise a base goal of US$500,000 and currently sits at $77K with 25 days left on the clock.
Shadowrun Online - like the pen & paper version - is all about experiencing the awesome world and gritty atmosphere of Shadowrun together with friends. Fluid co-op gameplay and intense player vs player faction wars set in a persistent and evolving world - this is what Shadowrun Online is about!
And the best part is: In Shadowrun Online the collective actions of players will not only determine the fate of the online game world, but our unique player-driven plotline will enable you to determine the future of the whole Shadowrun Universe! Events players trigger will also cross over into the pen and paper storyline - so you can shape the future of the Shadowrun Universe!
Built on Unity, the game intends to be browser-accessible across a range of devices included PC, Mac, Android and iOS, and the developer has also expressed interested in Linux and the proposed Ouya console if those platforms prove compatible in the future.
Kickstarter seems like a strange match for a free-t-play title, but Cliffhanger explains that the game will also have a subscription option. The early pledging tiers on Kickstarter include an array of in-game items and several months of subscription.
On the all-important topic of free-to-play versus pay-to-win, a FAQ goes into detail with a few thoughts on how they are planning to apprroach that delicate balance.
If someone can afford to spend 4 hours a day in the game and another person can only spend 4 hours a week, the first person will find more weapons, items and stuff by virtue of being able to grind for them. The other person can't do that due to job demands and family perhaps, but may still want to play with (or against) that first person - We have stopped playing MMOs because our guild members would leave us behind level wise and we could not keep up...
So the idea is: a regular player will always find better stuff or craft better stuff. You can make up for that to a degree, so you don't get shot to pieces when you co-op with friends. We don't see that as a problem for either the friends or any other player as you don't take away stuff from them.
Pay to win only applies in competitive situations - we haven't yet defined that fully, but the current thought is to possibly disallow "bought" equipment in PvP matches, so people could pump up their character as much as they want, but without actual gameplay skills and experience they won't get far.
If this sounds like your thing, head over to Kickstarter
for more details.