Shadowrun Online infiltrates Steam Early Access March 31

Shadowrun Online is set to appear on Steam Early Access Monday with a prototype build of the upcoming cyberpunk strategy game. The result of a successful $500,000 Kickstarter from Cliffhanger Productions, the early access version of the MMO will preview the game's campaign and give players a taste of combat and PvP, according to a recent announcement from the studio.

The venerable Shadowrun universe has been making something of a reappearance over the last year with the release of Harebrained Scheme's single-player RPG Shadowrun Returns and now the first steps towards launch of Shadowrun Online. But as Cliffhanger's managing director Jan Wagner points out in the video below, the early-access build will be a very stripped-down look at the game.

"It's not going to be the full game," Wagner says. "It's going to be a prequel to our campaign on Lockdown, and it's containing most of the combat gameplay, the core elements of the game and also a bit of PvP. The game currently doesn't have things like hacking, things like character progression, level ups, items, all that stuff, because we want to get the gameplay, that is at its heart, right, before we actually start piling on other stuff."

News of Shadowrun Online first emerged nearly three years ago, before the Jagged Alliance Online developer founds its legs in its 2012 Kickstarter. But there have also been a few roadblocks in Cliffhanger's development process. The Kickstarter, as Wagner explains, set an original launch date for Shadowrun Online of May 2013.

"We're now almost a year late," Wagner says. "The simple reason for that is when we started out we thought we could build the game based on the Jagged Alliance code and just build up that code. When we designed the game in more detail it became clear that the code was too constricting and we would have to make too many compromises. So we decided to build completely new code from scratch."

From Wagner's comments it's clear the studio's ambition for its game has grown. Given all the work that has since gone into it, and the recent expansion of the design team, early access should give backers as well as any other curious parties a chance to see if the delay was justified or not.

Thanks, PCGamesN .