Shadowrun -- the video game releases, not the pen-and-paper games -- was like the forerunner of classic strategy/RPG franchises that were turned into first-person shooters, much to the detriment of longtime fans.

Years before X-COM and the Syndicate reboot, FASA Studio was upsetting devotees by dropping the cyberpunk/urban fantasy into a multiplayer-only first-person shooter that people were convinced would kill the series forever.

And for a while, it seemed like the game did -- FASA Studio shut down not long after its release, and little was hear about any returns to the Shadowrun world for years... until last night, when news of a Shadowrun Online project emerged.

Cliffhanger Productions, which is also working on Jagged Alliance Online, has optioned the license from Smith & Tinker and is working on a browser-based title that looks more like the fondly remembered SNES/Genesis games.

The developer said Shadowrun Online is "nothing like the Xbox/[PC] game", and that it's consulting with Shadowrun creator Jordan Weisman and others to "stay as close to the game's plot as possible and keep the essence of the setting very much in the foreground."

"We intend to focus on the more tactical parts of the game and we will do a browser based game with small team gameplay (either alone or with others), more in the tradition of Baldur's Gate crossed with Jagged Alliance - with more firepower," added a member of the team.

Cliifhanger intends to make Shadowrun Online free-to-play with microtransactions, and is seeking partners for publishing and distributing the game. You can read a lot of details about plans for its design and mechanics in this Q&A forum thread.

[Via Brimstone]