Developer FASA and Microsoft Game Studios are bringing Shadowrun to Xbox 360 and PC, not as a role-playing game - but as a first-person shooter.
Based on a long-running pen and paper RPG, and backed up by some hugely successful games in the past - most notably the superb SNES version which was impossible to get in the UK, but sold like hot cakes in the US - Shadowrun is set in a futuristic steam-punk world where magic and sorcery mingle with heavy weapons and grenades.
Several factions are battling it out to control a number of enchanted artefacts that hold the key to immense power. You'll be stepping into this battle armed with magic, guns and cybernetic implants.
Developer FASA promises that the normal rules of the FPS genre will be turned upside down in Shadowrun. After all, where else can you cast a spell to resurrect a fallen ally or summon a giant rock creature to pummel enemies while you capture the flag?
This is normally the kind of thing you'd only see in a traditional RPG, so it's a real treat to be able to experience it on Xbox 360. The game will also support up to 16 players on Xbox Live, but when you factor in summoned groups of creatures and other AI-controlled units, there will often be up to 40 characters on screen at once. It's going to be mayhem!
Shadowrun is also going to be one of the first games that you can play cross-platform - Xbox 360 versus PC. This could be the time when Xbox 360 gamers finally get to prove that they're the masters of the FPS genre.
Having a great range of Xbox Live modes and features is going to be crucial to the game's success because it's one of the rare online-only titles. There won't be any fancy Campaign mode either - just good old-fashioned face-to-face brawling over broadband.
The game has been in development for over two years already. It's amazing that FASA has been able to keep it under wraps for so long. We can't wait to get our first hands-on, simply because there are so many new tricks to try out and we're itching to play something a little different from the usual FPSs.