Let's take a look at what I paid for. I got 95+% of the same bioware and cyberware I got in previous editions, there was almost nothing new and of the new stuff very little was important.
Point of order; right at half of the ware was old, the other half new. I went through all four previous cyber-books, took notes, grabbed what I could, then added more .... it wasn't easy, but a book that left out old favorites would get nailed to the wall, while one that was "95% old" would as well. There were, I want to say, four? Pieces of gear that didn't make the cut, one of which was a mistake to leave out, but otherwise it updated almost everything, then added the same number again. There's a TON of stuff there. Sure, you won't use all of it, but it *is* present.
As for the fluff and crunch entwining, it was a HUGE hit for the 2050 book, so much so that editorial wanted it carried forward into 5th, which we've done. This has resulted in a few problems, but keep in mind that rules hidden in fluff date allllll the way back to the Street Samurai Catelogue. Still, if it's unpopular, pass it up the chain and they'll ask us to do it differently in the future. We don't mind either way, honest.
The book for SR5 I'm missing is Rigger 5.0 but I don't feel comfortable buying it because I know it's going to have a lot of unwanted fluff in it. Without it though I don't have a good reference of all the vehicle names, how they look, vehicle upgrades to for amp creation, and so on. I'll also be paying for a bunch of rules I can't usee, so that kind of sucks.
Here, I should point out that a vehicle's looks, what it is, what it does, and, heck, even the name, are, in fact, fluff. We could release a book that nothing but statlines:
Mid size car Speed blah, accel blah, armor this, body that, seats so many, costs all this
And just repeat it twenty times a page with nothing else.
It would wither on the fine and die.
The difference between "a bike" and "My Yamaha Rapier!" is what gives the game life. The setting, the culture, the language, it all works together. If you want, feel free to contact the guys upstairs and suggest that they release some PDFS that are just the stats and nothing else. They get enough people wanting a thing, they're happy to sell a thing. It's what keeps the doors open, after all, but I have to warn you that it won't light you up like you think.
LASTLY... I think i'm the only person to have written for both Shadowrun and L5R. The way that Alderac worked is that writers did the fluff, while the rules team did all the rules. Writers never went near 'em. This can cause a few problems, but is one way of doing things. Should Shadowrun do the same? It could, but, it comes with a few problems. One: If the rules guy leaves, he takes all the knowledge with him. Everyone else has to relearn the system. If, for instance, only one person knows how the Matrix is supposed to work, then they leave the company, everyone else has to scramble and figure it out. Two, you sometime shave rules and fluff that don't align. L5R has this with, for instance, the Daidoji Bushi, master of the spear, getting a polearm instead of a spear, while the Shiba bushi, samurai famous for using the naginata, get a spear instead of a polearm. Small things add up. Personally, I like the L5R model a bit more, but, it's not the only way of doing things. Will it change for us in the future? Time will tell. I certainly don't know, but I'm happy to abide by whatever direction upstairs passes down. I'm a typeslinger, travelling from town to town with a word processor on my belt. I'm happy to write anything for anyone, as long as they meet my rate. RPG stuff, short stories, novels, journalism, poetry, plays, movie scripts, anything at all. I'm not a picky dude.