Harebrained Schemes announced that Shadowrun Returns will be launched this June for the PC. In addition, the development team revealed that pre-orders will open in April 29th, and that the game will be released via Steam. In other words, Shadowrun Returns won’t be DRM-free as it was advertised back in its Kickstarter days. Well okay, a version of it will be distributed for free, however future DLCs will be distributed exclusively via Valve’s distribution service.
As the team revealed:
“Now, that may prompt the question, “What about DRM-free?” To honor our original promise of a DRM-free version of the game, the Harebrained Account Website will also contain a downloadable version of Shadowrun Returns that does not include Steam integration. While this version will include the Seattle story (and Berlin, via a one-time update), without Steam integration, it will be unable to browse and play community-created stories from within the game. Any future DLC will only be available through Steam. “
The team chose Steam because it allows them to ‘provide up-to-date downloads and patching along with a vibrant ecosystem for developing community-created content and file sharing‘.
We’re pretty sure that this decision will backfire as a lot of gamers wanted a DRM-free copy of Shadow Returns, with proper post-launch support. Truth be told, all backers will receive a Steam key, however that was not what was promised back then.
At this point, we’re not certain about our feelings toward that change. You see, a lot of Kickstarted games claim to be DRM-free, and that’s a really strong feature for most of them. The fact that Shadowrun Returns is ‘abandoning’ such a feature worries us, as other developers may follow.
This also makes all those stretch goals (for most PC projects) feel laughable as you never know whether a developer will change its mind – in order to ease its development cycle – or not. So what’s the point of crowd-funding?
Let’s hope that Harebrained Schemes will find a way to offer all of the game’s DLCs to those who decide to play the DRM-free version of Shadowrun Returns!
John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities. Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards."