I know that this is basically the definition of “no information” and that is entirely too early to speculate – but I’ll also be the first to admit that reading the announcement does not immediately instill much confidence.
Don’t get me wrong, Catalyst has been excellent for the Battletech and Shadowrun games. I’ve really appreciated that even while they push the envelope with Battletech and lots of alternate rules and experimental rules – they have kept the core game pretty much intact letting players still keep the game at whatever tech level is best for them. They’ve produced an excellent set of historical sourcebooks and kept the “standard” set of rules away from the weird experimental stuff.
It’s also fair to say that I have been a huge fan of Shadowrun 4th edition/anniversary edition. I bailed out on Shadowrun during the long, painful 3rd edition era (I was not a fan). So really – I don’t want to be that guy who freaks out about the new edition. I don’t.
But I don’t really like what I’m hearing. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of the whole… shadowrunners counting every bullet and making extreme tradeoffs… Fourth struck an excellent balance between letting runners fit into whatever social stratus they needed to and didn’t force runners to be crippled for their choices. And 4th is pretty lethal… I’m not really sure it needs to be more “grim and gritty as the default.
Okay, really, not gonna freak out. I can keep playing 4e if I don’t like 5e. And I might like 5e. Catalyst has certainly earned by trust as a consumer… maybe I’m just gunshy after the 4th edition D&D disaster. But my first reaction to the announcement was disappointment.
Of course, it’s also possible that it’s more the overwhelming variety of other announcements accompanying the RPG announcement. Does Shadowrun need a miniatures skirmish game? A euro-style boardgame? I mean, sure, I’m nitpicking now. Sure – they might be awesome games. So I’ll wait and see.