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[Follow-up, Thursday: Shadowrun Returns fully funded, $400k in 28 hours]

Seattle-area video-game designer Jordan Weisman has long aspired to revive his popular Shadowrun role-playing franchise, stepping back into its world of mythological creatures, machines and magic.

Several years ago he negotiated a license back from Microsoft, which had acquired FASA Interactive, where the game was originally developed. But limitations on that license prevent him from making the new game for consoles that compete with the Xbox 360, and he wasn’t able to get the support from publishers to make it happen.

Jordan Weisman

But it’s a different world now. Today, Weisman’s current company, Harebrained Schemes, put their “Shadowrun Returns” project on Kickstarter, the crowdsourced funding platform, with a goal of raising $400,000 by the end of the month to make the game happen — putting the future of the franchise in the hands of its fans.

As of this afternoon, they’re more than halfway there, already.

“I have to admit, I had kind of given up hope, so it’s exciting to get back into that world and bring it back to life in the way we wanted,” Weisman said via phone this afternoon.

Weisman said he didn’t think it would be possible, but he was convinced by his colleague Mitch Gitelman and others to give it a shot. With traditional funding mechanisms for content “under siege,”  crowdsourcing platforms such as Kickstarter represent a big shift in how content overall gets financed, Weisman said.

He makes his pitch in the Kickstarter video above, produced by Seattle’s Bootstrapper Studios.

“We’ve got to ask you to dig deep, give generously,” says Weisman in the video. “After all, for the cost of a handful of lattes, you could help build a virtual world in which your character could be drinking virtual lattes with a femme fatal who’s probably a dragon in disguise, while blowing the crap out of everything around you with a smart gun! And isn’t that what we all want?”

The game will be made for iPad, Android tablets and PCs. The company also plans to release its level editor to help fans create their own content. More details on the project on its Kickstarter page.

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