Shadowrun Returns developer talks character archetypes, "classless" system

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Shadowrun Returns Decker

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Harebrained's cyber-sorcery RPG Shadowrun Returns (opens in new tab) handily slew its Kickstarter goal (opens in new tab) last April, securing the funds needed for a "graphically rich 2D turn-based single player game with deep story interaction, meaningful character development, and highly-contextual tactical combat." Project lead and Shadowrun creator Jordan Weisman spoke to Game Informer (opens in new tab) recently about the "foundational character types" to start from in a "classless" system.

Weisman explained that the lack of defined classes gives players the freedom "to grow their character as they wish, spending Karma points to choose any skill or ability available in the game." If you're feeling a tingle in the back of your head, that's The Secret World tapping gently as a recent game using a similar system.

The six archetypes—Mage, Street Samurai, Decker (no, not that Decker (opens in new tab) ), Shaman, Rigger, and Physical Adept—represent basic templates for molding custom characters, and Weisman shared a brief primer on each of their roles. Did you know Mages shoot acid from their hands? Or that the Physical Adept's mastery of the martial arts finally allows for an Ork character named "Brute Lee"? How about fashioning a Decker data-thief who's also a hulking Troll?

Game Informer (opens in new tab) 's report contains the rest of Weisman's input on roles and skills. And though Shadowrun Returns won't arrive until a tentative release date sometime between May or June, plenty of additional concept art sketches are available on Harebrained's website (opens in new tab) .

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?