We know that Shadowrun is first and foremost a tabletop RPG. In fact it very likely is the most popular Sci-Fi based tabletop RPG in the world.
We also recognize the love of the universe of the tabletop RPG, the history and lore, the culture and personality, not to mention the hours and hours of imagination people poured into their own campaigns.
For some reason that love turned to hate when it was announced that this Shadowrun game was going to be a first person shooter.
For those of you who don’t know what a tabletop RPG is, let me give you a quick explanation. I am sure you have probably heard of D&D or Dungeons and Dragons. It is the game the kids were playing in Stranger Things on Netflix. Basically one guy becomes the Dungeon Master and the rest of the players take on the ROLES of PLAYERS in the GAME….Role Playing Game…RPG. The Dungeon Master slowly unravels a story that the role players must follow. That story leads them through the dungeon where them come upon challenging situations. Maybe it is an enemy or maybe a trap door. The dungeon can be a pre-made module containing all the plot lines, the descriptions, the what if scenarios, etc, BUT the real fun is when The Dungeon Master makes up his own dungeon all from his imagination. Also people take the ROLE part pretty seriously, as you are supposed to think and act like your character in the game. If you are a wizard you don’t rush in swinging a sword and if you are a barbarian you don’t sit back casting spells. Lastly, once your character dies, that is it. You can’t use him again next game. You have to start from scratch. As you play your player gains experience and gets more powerful so you end up being incredibly invested in keeping this character alive. All this adds up to hours and hours of planning, plotting, discussion, debate, game-play, triumph and heartache. The whole game takes place in your collective imagination and is incredibly fun if you can suspend disbelief and invest in the experience. Now take all of that, move it from a dark dank centuries old dungeon and move it to the dark dank underside of a sleek and powerful future, where you jack into a cyber-world, as well as fight it out on the street with Trolls, Orcs, Elves, Dwarves and other humans. D&D meets Blade Runner. I can’t think of a more perfect combination. That is Shadowrun the RPG.
I have never played the tabletop RPG, but as you may or may not know, I am an old guy. How old? Old enough to remember Shadowrun on the SNES. The first electronic adaptation of the Shadowrun Universe was pretty well received. Japan is RPG crazy and they did a good take on Shadowrun. However the next version is a game of legend. Shadowrun on the SEGA Genesis is universally revered as one of the best RPG games ever. Surely a milestone game. I will never forget coming into work one day after playing Shadowrun on the Genesis all night long. Seriously like a marathon run from 2 in the afternoon till 4 in the morning non-stop. I came into work and asked my buddy what he did last night, and he laughed and said “yeah right.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
He laughed and said, “Oh just watched a little TV. Come on man.”
I said, “Why are laughing so much?”
He stopped and looked at me with disbelief and said, “You really have no idea do you? You didn’t watch TV last night did you?”
“No, I was playing Shadowrun.”
He then proceeded to tell me all about some White Ford Bronco and some police chase and some guy called O.J. Simpson. Ever heard of him? Apparently it was kind of a big deal, and I missed the whole thing playing Shadowrun.
The point is, even though I never played the actual tabletop game, I knew and deeply loved the RPG game that was Shadowrun even if my experience was a 2nd generation dumbed down version of the original.
When they announce a new adaptation was coming for the XBOX I was giddy as a schoolgirl getting her first kiss. When they announced it as a First Person Shooter, it struck me as an open door to experience Shadowrun a whole new way. I kept my mind open.
Almost the entire world besides me did not. The backlash from the nerd world was vicious. I mean BRUTAL. You hear today about Gamer Gate and on-line bullying, back then there were no checks and balances, no self policing moderators on the message-boards. It was a male dominated world where people ripped apart ideas, products, and people with zero regard. Here I was, a proud citizen of the aforementioned nerd world and I couldn’t believe the level of vitriol and hatred being pointed at Shadowrun FPS. This was months before it ever even came out.
Here are some post I have found with a simple Google search.