Shadowrun is a classic tabletop RPG and gaming franchise created by Jordan Weisman and L. Ross Babcock III of FASA Corporation that takes place in an urban fantasy, survival horror, crime and detective themed cyberpunk universe where mankind meets magic and machine.
Shadowrun was first developed and published by FASA in 1989 after Jordan Weisman and L. Ross Babcock III of FASA Corporation released the tabletop game’s first edition to fans (seen below). In the early 1990s, the franchise released its first video game series within the universe for the SNES and Sega Genesis helping to cement its place in cyberpunk RPGs. In 1999, FASA sold its videogame branch, FASA Interactive, to the Microsoft corporation but kept the rights to publish novels and pen-and-paper RPGs.
In early 2001, FASA closed its doors and the property was transferred to WizKids, which was founded by former FASA employees. The tabletop game and related merchandise are currently on their sixth edition, which released on August 26th, 2019 (shown below).
In Popular Culture
FASA Corporation releases a total of 40 Shadowrun novelty books published by Roc between 1991 and 2001 until it went out of production between 2001 and 2005 (example shown below).
Eight “video games have been developed based on the Shadowrun franchise. The first Shadowrun game is developed by Beam Software for the SNES in 1993 (seen below, left), followed by the second Shadowrun game by BlueSky Software for the Sega Genesis in 1994 (seen below, right). The third Shadowrun game is a Japan-only game for the Sega CD by Group SNE in 1995. The release never made it outside Japan. The fourth Shadowrun game was originally going to be called Shadowrun: Assassin and published by FASA Interactive for the PC in 1998, but unfortunately it was canceled. Instead, the fourth Shadowrun game became a Counter-Strike inspired FPS shooter published by FASA Interactive and owned by Microsoft in May 29th 2007 for the Windows PC and Xbox 360. It became the very first cross-platform game, although the lore of Shadowrun is mostly unrelated.
In 2012, Jordan Weisman, one of the original creators of Shadowrun, created his own company Harebrained Schemes and started a Kickstarter campaign to successfully fund the development of the fifth Shadowrun game as Shadowrun Returns, which later becomes a trilogy (shown below). Shadowrun Returns is released on July 25th, 2013, followed by the other two Shadowrun Returns expansions as the sixth and seventh Shadowrun games, Shadowrun: Dragonfall in February 2014 and the standalone version in September 2014, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong on August 20th, 2015 and the extended version in February 2016.
The eighth game, Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown, also known as Shadowrun Online, is developed by Cliffhanger Productions and published by Nordic Games (seen below). The game is released on April 28th, 2015. Due to the lack of money to barely keep the servers online and the licensing running out, Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown shut down its servers and no longer playable online on November 30th, 2018. The game also has a very low score, calling it a bad Shadowrun game.
The community surrounding Shadowrun has enjoyed a varied online presence for a number of years, ranging from community fan pages, groups and official sites, blogs and social media accounts. On May 15th, 2008, the @shadowruntabletopgame Facebook page was started and has since accumulated over 49,000 likes and 47,000 followers in 12 years. In January 2011, the official Shadowrun Twitter account was created, which accumulated nearly 900 followers in 10 years, that regularly posts new updates and news surrounding the franchise, such as the Sixth World rulebook (seen below).
GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! https://t.co/C98rQe3qzU
— Shadowrun Sixth World Edition (@ShadowrunRPG) May 31, 2020
On Reddit, the fan-made subreddit, /r/Shadowrun, was created on October 4th, 2010, accumulating more than 41,300 members in 10 years. The sub contains a wide array of user-generated content, including memes, art, announcements and discussion. One such example was posted to /r/Shadowrun by Redditor Lilith_The_Bard on October 4th, 2020, depicting a meme about fans of the game, receiving over 770 upvotes and 107 comments in three months (shown below).