Shadowrun: Hong Kong
When Harebrained Schemes took to Kickstarter a third time earlier this year, it was with a brand-new approach to crowdfunding. The company was up front with backers that the game was going to be made regardless, but additional funding would add content and improve the final product.
Now, three years after finding success on Kickstarter for the first time, Harebrained Schemes is unveiling a bit of what we can expect from the upcoming adventure in Hong Kong. The title is still on track for this summer, and the team says development is coming along well (with a new teaser below).
With three successful Kickstarter campaigns under its belt, we asked the team to share thoughts on best practices. "Each Kickstarter is very different," says studio co-founder Mitch Gitelman. "It's hard to make a blanket statement other than to understand your audience, listen to your audience, and do right by your audience."
Harebrained Schemes says its success comes from engaging directly and transparently with its fanbase. Though, there is no small measure of business savvy that goes along with it.
"You really have to do your homework to sell what you're going to make, understand what it's going to cost to make it, and where you're getting the different parts of that funding," says co-founder Jordan Weisman. "I think our experience with the Kickstarter audience is that they always respond well to being transparent. If you know you're not going to get your entire budget from them, that's fine. I think the days when you had to go to Kickstarter and say, 'This game's not going to be made without you'? It's no longer the case."
Part of the trouble with crowdfunding though is a lack of understanding of development costs. Communicating budgets to potential backers continues to be a challenge. "It's true. Your audience doesn't understand what things cost to make," Weisman says. "Unfortunately, a lot of people in the industry don't understand what it costs to make things. It's illustrated by the number of Kickstarters that run dramatically over-budget or are funded by a publisher or don't ever make it to release when funded by crowdfunding. It's an art more than a science, and you need to really do your homework to reduce the variables as much as possible."
The team recognizes that there are unknowns and things happen, but considers respect for its audience the guiding principle. With nearly sixty people on staff now (compared to eight when the Shadowrun Returns Kickstarter launched), Harebrained Schemes is growing, but uses that mantra when bringing on new hires.
That "values-based leadership," as Gitelman says, has led to extremely low turnover. In the time since the studio began its work, three staff members have voluntarily left. Two of those have returned to the fold.
As for Shadowrun: Hong Kong, preorders are now open. This weekend, you can essentially get the deluxe edition for the price of the standard version.
You can also get Harebrained Schemes’ first two Shadowrun games at enormous discounts. Additionally, the company is opening up preorders for its recently funded third project, Shadowrun: Hong Kong.
Now until Monday, May 25 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 1 p.m. Eastern, you can get the following titles at low prices:
- Shadowrun Returns: $2.99 (Regularly $14.99)
- Dragonfall Director’s Cut: $4.50 (Regularly $14.99)
- Pre-sale Shadowrun: Hong Kong standard edition: $19.99 (No discount)
- Pre-sale Shadowrun: Hong Kong deluxe edition (with soundtrack and art book): $19.99 (Regularly $29.99)
For more on Shadowrun: Hong Kong, check out an extensive interview with executive producer Mitch Gitelman about the game and Harebrained Schemes' approach to Kickstarter.