Shadowrun: Hong Kong is a perfect portrait of a cyberpunk city fighting for revolution

6/27/2022 9:06:00 PM

'My return to Hong Kong hit me like an armored truck full of orks.'

'My return to Hong Kong hit me like an armored truck full of orks.'

If cyberpunk lives on, Shadowrun: Hong Kong should be its guiding light.

, and led to a world-changing wave of protests that were ultimately brutally crushed by authorities.News Belfast is one of the first UK cities to host a Friendship Festival to welcome new arrivals from Hong Kong Hundreds of families from Hong Kong have chosen to move to Northern Ireland following the introduction of the Government's British Nationals Overseas (BNO) visa scheme in January 2021.Jun 23rd 2022 T he iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant had sat in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen harbour for 46 years.Jun 23rd 2022 T he iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant had sat in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen harbour for 46 years.

As of 2020, Hong Kong lives under a draconian national security law that flies in the face of the"one country, two systems" approach that doesn't formally expire until 2047.Walking through the game’s vividly realized depiction of the city (it’s 2056 in the free enterprise zone), Hong Kong’s existing corpocratic tendencies have been dialed up to 11 on the dystopia meter.The festival, which attracted hundreds of people, was hosted at Saintfield Presbyterian Church on the and featured stalls, music, children’s entertainment, dancing, along with British and Hong Kong food.The ruling Executive Council is a cabal of corporate billionaires who run the city, own the police, and control the news, which isn’t terribly far off from its current incarnation.On June 14th it was towed away.When my freshly-rolled dwarf decker arrives at Victoria Harbour, I meet my estranged foster brother, Duncan, who hasn’t forgiven me for leaving home years ago.The event was one of a series of eight Friendship Festivals across the UK over May and June.We’re a couple of dysfunctional Seattle orphans here to find our adoptive father—a born-and-bred Hongkonger—after receiving a cryptic message for help.Some saw a metaphor in its demise.

(Image credit: Harebrained Schemes) Our search leads us into the Walled City, often immortalized in western cyberpunk for its immense dystopian vibes.They have recently received funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to run events and activities to help welcome those arriving from Hong Kong.China’s Communist Party has undermined Hong Kong’s democratic institutions in recent years.Tens of thousands of people are packed together in impossible, squalid conditions, making do as best as they could.A winning part of this particular Shadowrun game is the powerful synergy between its legendary setting and the irascible Hongkongness of its ensemble characters.Hong Kong has always belonged to its people, and Shadowrun knows this..All over the city, revisiting these slice-of-life stories is often frustrating, bittersweet, and deeply moving—painful memories, awkward conversations, reminders that my character’s Cantonese is shamefully rusty.

(Image credit: Harebrained Schemes) There’s a simple exchange at the beginning of the game where Duncan reminds my character to speak Cantonese—always Cantonese—and as a Southeast Asian who had an archteypically cantankerous Hongkonger grandmother, this familiar refrain hits hard in all the right places.The simple linguistic reminder drives home the fact that despite my heritage, I’m in a strange land.And while neon lights and nighttime rain have become tedious visual shorthands in the cyberpunk genre, Hong Kong is one of the cities that built that myth.Moving away from the docks and into the shadowrunner haven of Heoi, it’s hard not to feel like the genre is truly home.Cyberpunk is usually about current realities rather than distant futures, but reentering the Shadowrun world prompts a bitter swell of nostalgia.

It’s been over a year since the world watched ordinary Hongkongers resist the growing yoke of mainland authoritarianism (followed by the ongoing pandemic), and it’s still painful and even a little dreamlike.My brain is actively fusing my sentimental memories of the game with the painful reality of Hong Kong’s present, and the flesh-and-blood Hongkongers I know who believed they could prevail.Shadowrun: Hong Kong is so absorbing because it reflects the reality of the city’s demographics: there are obvious western expats (a euphemism for white immigrants), but the game is acutely conscious of the intersection between Hong Kong’s multicultural identity and its working class.I talk to Rosario"Cherry Pink" Ignacio, a Filipina ex-nanny who fled her dangerous employer, who reminisces about her days off with the other domestic workers sitting on bits of cardboard in parks and under bridges, gossiping and eating lumpia.The fact that the developers did the bare minimum to include these important pieces of cultural worldbuilding tells me two things: Real Hongkongers had input on the story—both Hong Kong and Singapore have a substantial domestic worker population that includes live-in maids (a societal standard that is often exploitative and abusive ).

That it is absolutely possible for white American developers to work with cultural experts to get to this level, something too many other cyberpunk games have failed to do.There are few other cyberpunk games of Shadowrun: Hong Kong's caliber that wholeheartedly engage with the inherent orientalism and intra-Asian cultures and communities that make up Hong Kong’s rich cultural identity.It’s because of this narrative commitment to getting Hong Kong right that Shadowrun still hits hard today, and proof that western developers—Harebrained is a Seattle studio run by white men—are capable of producing culturally diverse games without defaulting to racism and appropriation.The depth and care put into the writing means that the team actually valued and acted on the input from their consultants: a team of seven including game designer.

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i bought the 3 pack on switch, still on shadowrun returns (which i assumed was the first of the 3?); really enjoyable game. the skill setup means i can try somethin different in all 3 games. We LOVE Shadowrun! Games have been amazing! Replaying I forgot how little freedom the game world provides. Doors exist, but can't be interacted with until you speak to the right person. It makes the world feel small and hollow.

Belfast rolls out red carpet for Hong Kong newcomers at Friendship FestivalThe event was one of a series of eight festivals across the UK this summer

Hong Kong’s most famous floating restaurant sinksSome say the city is also going down A simbole that the UK empire is sinking. 😰😰😰😰 Just like the city itself. It thrived in the booming 1970s, and sank in the chaotic 2020s.

Hong Kong’s most famous floating restaurant sinksSome say the city is also going down A simbole that the UK empire is sinking. 😰😰😰😰 Just like the city itself. It thrived in the booming 1970s, and sank in the chaotic 2020s.

Belfast rolls out red carpet for Hong Kong newcomers at Friendship FestivalThe event was one of a series of eight festivals across the UK this summer

Cyberpunk 2077’s external QA team allegedly misled CD Projekt over its experience | VGCCyberpunk 2077’s external QA team allegedly misled CD Projekt over its experience and size, a new report claims. Can barely use that as an excuse though, I'm sure some of the devs played through it before release and thought 'yeah this is fine' Keandu Reebs Lmaooo