Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a tactical, isometric, turn-based shooter based on the hit tabletop RPG of the same name, one that love dearly. Those who pick up the digital deluxe version of the game will net, apart from a great game, a PDF copy of its companion Shadowrun: Hong Kong Art Book, a 120 page exploration of the game’s environments, characters, and the inspiration behind it all. In addition to the concept art the developers at Harebrained Schemes add commentary that expands on the development process and what exactly went into the making of their third, and probably best, game in the series.
The book begins with an introduction from Jordan Weisman, HBS’ Creative Director, who in addition to working on Shadowrun: Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and now Shadowrun: Hong Kong, was also the original creator of the tabletop game. He discusses his love of Hong Kong and how the marked contrast of the chaos of the streets versus the quiet harmony of the interiors influenced the feel and focus of the game.
Each chapter is dedicated to a different aspect of the art in the game, such as building exteriors, environments, and character design, and goes more in depth than you would expect from such books. Typically developers take all of the sketches from the beginning of production and put them together in a coffee table style publication, but HBS goes a bit further, including individual steps taken to go from concept art to finished product, as well as including unwrapped textures for different characters.
Speaking of characters, people who donated enough money during the Kickstarter campaign were given the privilege of having their faces turned into portraits of different NPCs, with a few lucky participants having their likenesses used for the player to choose from when making their own shadowrunner. So, who knows? Maybe you’ll run into someone you met on the streets of Hong Kong in the year 2065 without even realizing it.
Given the right treatment, art books are lovely additions to games and the Shadowrun: Hong Kong Art Book seems less slapped together than most. For about ten bucks extra above the host game’s base price you can add this along with the soundtrack for the game in high quality to your digital collection; not a bad deal at all. While that may not seem worth it to the average gamer, it’s almost a guarantee that the bigger fans looking to expand their knowledge of the series will enjoy it immensely. I know I did.