With 2012 being a significant event in the Shadowrun calendar I hope to see Catalyst jumping at the opportunity to publicize Shadowrun. The reason for this is because the SR community has dwindled for some time now and polarizing around the official forums and dumpshock. Unfortunately they lack appeal to new, interested players which makes it hard to grow the community. So how would I like Catalyst to get Shadowrun back out into the rpg masses during 2012?
Release another edition. Shadowrun is starting to reach the end of the supporting product line for 4th edition and Catalyst have released a source book for the main archetypes (Augmentation, Unwired, Street Magic, Arsenal). It’s starting to become plain to see that Catalyst is milking 4th edition for everything they can. 2012 presents an opportunity to start fresh, refine and update the core rules.
End the Deep Shadows line of core rule books. Both War! and Spy Games felt unnecessary and out of touch. It might just be nostalgia but does anyone really use them for a standard Shadowrun game? Instead devote some time to producing a high stakes, meat grinder adventure like Bug City or The Renraku Arcology Shutdown. While not necessarily good these adventures provoke a response from anyone who has played them and 4th edition doesn’t yet feature a similar product.
The second edition of Shadowrun featured several full color pages of art that did nothing more than offer a view of the world. In fact, many of them didn’t related to the act of shadowrunning but showed a snapshot of normal life. Unfortunately no product has featured something similar since; which is a shame because Shadowrun is a difficult beast to describe and it was the art that sold the book to me some 14 years ago. I would love to see a partnership between Catalyst and an independent comic book studio to produce a Shadowrun graphic novel. With interest in comic books now mainstream a graphic novel would expose Shadowrun to a wider demographic and I imagine a full colour graphic novel would be an essential product in many groups for the art alone.
Shadowrun has maintained an active community across different editions and license holders. Catalyst needs to take advantage of the promotional opportunity 2012 represents to expand the player base and get people talking about Shadowrun again.