If you’re a fan of X-Com 2, you’ve probably heard about Team Dragonpunk, and the mods they’re working on which bring magic and dragons to the otherwise alien-only world of Firaxis’ popular strategy game.
What you may not know, which was just revealed by the team via a twitter conversation with fans, is that Microsoft wanted half a million dollars to let them make a Shadowrun mod.
Originally, the Dragonpunk mod was going to be a Shadowrun-themed affair, with the name “Shadowrun Assets, Inc.”, yet Microsoft naturally made them change it. What came out now via that discussion with fans is that Microsoft threatened to sue them if they released the mod, even though they planned to give it out for free.
Though it’s not entirely uncommon for a company to do such a thing, the fact that they demanded $500,000 from them to continue work on nothing more than a free mod seems a bit excessive. Especially for a company that has been trying hard to court PC gamers in recent years.
The name change to “Dragonpunk” hasn’t changed the design or content, however, and X-Com players who are also Shadowrun players will no doubt notice much similarity between the two.
Shadowrun has had a rocky history, with Harebrained Schemes’ Jordan Weisman trying for quite some time to get his own chance at using the untapped cyberpunk license and Microsoft squandering the community’s good faith by turning the property into what ended being a very poorly received Counter-Strike-esque shooter with 2007’s Xbox Exclusive Shadowrun.
Does Team Dragonpunk have a reason to be angry, or is this just business as usual in the modern game industry? Should free mods be treated the same as for-purchase games? Should Microsoft have left them alone? Let us know in the comments.