The monolithic "enemies" of the Shadowrun world (borrowing heavily from cyberpunk mythos) are the Corporations, dubbed
"Megacorporations", "Megacorps", or simply "megas" or "corps" for short. Megacorporations in the 21st century are massively
global, with all but the smallest corps owning multiple subsidiaries and divisions around the world. They are the
superpowers of the Shadowrun universe, with the largest corporations having far more political, economic, and military power
than even the most powerful nation-states.
In Shadowrun, corporations are effectively "ranked" by the amount of assets under their control, including material,
personnel, and property, as well as profit. These ranks are A, AA, and AAA; AAA corporations are top tier. Most corporations
in the AA and AAA level are immune to domestic law, responsible only to themselves, and regulated only by the Corporate
Court, an assembly of the ten AAA-rated corporations.
All AAA-rated and most AA-rated corporations also exhibit a privilege known as “extraterritoriality”, meaning that
any land owned by the corp is sovereign territory only to the corp and immune to any laws of the country within. Corporate
territory is not foreign soil but corporate soil, just like its employees are corporate citizens, though dual citizenship in
a corporation and a nation is common.
The AAA corps, and numerous minor corporations, fight each other not only in the boardroom or with tricky deals, but
with physical destruction, clandestine operations, hostile extraction or elimination of vital personnel, and other means of
sabotage. Because no corporation wants to be held liable for damages, it has to be done by deniable assets:
shadowrunners, invisible to the system where every citizen is tagged with a System Identification Number (SIN). They
are outcasts, from the streets or disillusioned ex-corp/government/military personnel who threw off the shackles of corp
society to achieve freedom. They chose or were forced to work in the shadows cast by the gigantic corporate buildings to
support their living. The anonymous conmen, who will hire shadowrunners are called Mr. Johnsons for their favourite alias-name.
Players of Shadowrun generally assume the role of these
The Big Ten
The Big Ten, the AAA Megacorporations (as of 2070):
- Ares Macrotechnology, Detroit-based conglomerate of arms (Ares Arms, the original company),
automobile (General Motors), and space (AresSpace, the former NASA) industries. Ares also owns
Knight Errant Security, and Apple Computer, amongst its numerous divisions. The first American-based
Megacorp—currently led by Damien Knight—also trumps up its “mom and apple pie” image, fostering strong brand image
within the United Canadian and American States (UCAS).
- [Leonard] Aurelius’ father founded Ares Industries, the company that grew into Ares Macrotechnology.
Nicholas Aurelius engineered the NASA buyout in 2016 and made Ares a megacorporation prior to Knight’s involvement. Knight
himself only appeared on the scene in 2033, when he acquired 22 percent of Ares’ stock through his infamous Nanosecond
- Aztechnology, a corporation from Aztlan (formerly Mexico, recreated in Aztec image) heavily involved in
consumer goods, chemistry and magic. The least-liked megacorp in the shadows, due to its nasty secret projects.
- Evo Corporation (formerly Yamatetsu), a corp based in Vladivostok, Russia, that focuses on nano- and
bio-technology, genetics research and other transhumanist technologies, and “metahuman factors engineering” (products made
specifically for metas). The first corp to become transplanetary after establishing a Mars base.
- Horizon, A Los Angeles (Annexed by the Pueblo Corporate Council in 2061) - based media corporation new to
the AAA scene in the 2060s that used the second Matrix crash to make its move. Horizon is a media and PR corporation that
lists Tir Tairngire among its clients. While they are primarily invested in media and entertainment they are also strong in
consumer goods, real estate, and pharmaceuticals.
- Mitsuhama Computer Technologies, started as money laundering operation for the Yakuza but soon surpassed
their investors' income by a very large margin. Focuses largely on robotics, heavy machinery, magical goods, and computers.
- NeoNET, created from Novatech’s merger with Transys Neuronet and Erika, pioneers of the new wireless
Matrix, to form this powerhouse in the Matrix sector, but with diversified holdings in many other sectors.
- Renraku Computer Systems, mainly computer and arms-producing giant from Japan. Slowly rebuilding from both
the Seattle Arcology debacle and the second Matrix crash.
- Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries, the world's largest corp. a German conglomerate based on the production of
steel, heavy-industrial goods, cars (BMW), arms and communication in Europe. Its majority shareholder and chairman is
Lofwyr, a Great Dragon, who bought the company stocks from hoarded resources.
- Shiawase Corporation, an old family
business, which survived the turmoils of the early 21st century unscathed, quickly able to expand in energy production,
biotech and environmental procedures. First to fight for and be granted megacorporate sovereignty (later called
extraterritoriality): exemption of law on foreign soil.
- Wuxing Inc., a Hong Kong-based company that joined the AAA-corps primarily due to money from Dunkelzahn’s will, heavily focused on shipping and finance, and recently
chipping into the magical-goods market.
Former AAA Megacorporations
- Fuchi Industrial Electronics, a computer giant built by the Nakatomis and Yamanas from Japan and Richard
Villiers from Boston, Massachusetts. Focused heavily in computers and Matrix technologies. Disintegrated during the Corp War
of '59 - '60 due to corporate infighting, and fractured. Richard Villiers took his piece and formed Novatech.
- Novatech, Richard Villiers’ remnant of Fuchi that was based in Boston, Massachusetts. Focused on computer
and Matrix technologies, also heavy into the brief space race for Halley’s Comet in 2061. Near bankrupt in 2064, it was
forced to an unprecedented IPO, which lead to the second Matrix crash. Smarting from the PR fallout, it formed NeoNET
by merging with Transys Neuronet and Erika.
- Cross Applied Technologies, a Free Quebec-based company that rose in power due to the Corp War in
’59-’60, it was the smallest of the AAA corporations. When its founder, Lucien Cross, died in a plane crash on the night
of the second Matrix crash, Ares Macrotechnology, its biggest rival, snapped up enough of Cross’ subsidiaries and
holdings to nullify its AAA status.
- Yamatetsu; after moving the corporate headquarters from Japan to Vladivostok, Russia and shifting focus
towards metahuman ventures, it renamed itself Evo in the 2060s.
Shadowrunners are likely to have frequent contact with one non-AAA corporation, Lone Star Security Services. Lone
Star is a corporation that has taken over majority of law enforcement services in the UCAS. Lone Star tends to avoid
unprofitably dangerous areas such as the Seattle barrens (Puyallup and Redmond).