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System Shock Reboot

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: NightDive Studios
Release Date: Q2 2018

About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'System Shock' (ALL) Reboot Development Halted As Team Lost Focus

by Rainier on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 12:02 p.m. PST

After two decades, NightDive Studios are completely remaking the genre-defining classic from 1994, rebuilt from the ground up.

Originally released in 1994, System Shock ushered in a new era of action gaming. Combining a compelling storyline with innovative RPG elements, System Shock was a ground-breaking title that would influence numerous other games such as BioShock and DeusEx. Now System Shock is being redone from the ground up for today’s PC and console players.

System Shock was one of the first 3D games that took a methodical approach to exploration while revealing a story driven narrative through audio logs and messages scattered throughout the game world. It was a revolutionary step forward for the medium in a time when developers first began experimenting with interactive story telling.

Players were trapped aboard Citadel Station as they fought to survive against the cyborgs and mutated crew members corrupted by a maniacal A.I. known as SHODAN, one of the most treacherous antagonists ever conceived. System Shock offered an unparalleled experience that would solidify it as one of the greatest games of all time.

Caught during a risky break-in, you become indentured to a greedy TriOptimum executive. After six months in a healing coma, you awaken to discover the surgeons are missing, the station is in disrepair, and the once-prime corporate facility now teems with mindless cyborgs, robots, and mutated beings, all programmed to serve a ruthless A.I.: SHODAN. There's scarcely time to think before it unleashes the first terror...

Let's face it, the writing was on the wall after it being delayed from 2017 to Q2 2018, as well as an engine switch. Now Nightdive Studios' CEO has issued a statement that they "lost focus" and he put the development team on hiatus to "reassess," whatever that means.

After two years of development, the big portion of their $1.3 million kickstarter campaign has most likely been spent, so it makes you wonder how this the remake/reboot will survive this debacle.

In March of 2016, Nightdive Studios released our video of our vision of System Shock Remastered. Done in Unity it was an immediate hit with almost a half million views on YouTube. In June of 2016 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the vision into a reality. It was tremendously successful with over 21,000 backers contributing over $1.3 million to the campaign. We put together a development team and began working on the game. But along the way something happened.

Maybe we were too successful. Maybe we lost our focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a Remaster to a completely new game. We shifted engines from Unity to Unreal, a choice that we don’t regret and one that has worked out for us. With the switch we began envisioning doing more, but straying from the core concepts of the original title.

As our concept grew and as our team changed, so did the scope of what we were doing and with that the budget for the game. As the budget grew, we began a long series of conversations with potential publishing partners. The more that we worked on the game, the more that we wanted to do, and the further we got from the original concepts that made System Shock so great.

Ultimately the responsibility for the decisions rests with me. As the CEO and founder of Nightdive Studios, a company that was built on the restoration of the System Shock franchise, I let things get out of control. I can tell you that I did it for all the right reasons, that I was totally committed to making a great game, but it has become clear to me that we took the wrong path, that we turned our backs on the very people who made this possible, our Kickstarter backers.

I have put the team on a hiatus while we reassess our path so that we can return to our vision. We are taking a break, but NOT ending the project. Please accept my personal assurance that we will be back and stronger than ever. System Shock is going to be completed and all of our promises fulfilled.  

Stephen Kick

To help shape and direct the existing narrative of System Shock, we've enlisted the help of Chris Avellone, who is best known for his work on a number of role-playing games, including; Fallout: New Vegas, Wasteland 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Planescape: Torment, and Fallout 2. Chris will be working closely with Stephen Kick (our Creative Director) and Jason Fader (our Project Director and Senior Producer from Fallout: New Vegas) as well as several other key developers from Fallout: New Vegas to bring modern AAA quality into the world of System Shock.

  • General Features
    → A modern take on System Shock, a faithful reboot; it’s not Citadel Station as it was, but as you remember it. Many improvements, overhauls and changes are being implemented to capture the spirit of what the original game was trying to convey, and bring it to contemporary gamers.
    → Re-imagined enemies, weapons, and locations by original concept artist Robb Waters.
    → Terri Brosius reprises her role as SHODAN, and new VO will be recorded.
    → Brand new musical score composed by Jonathan Peros.
    → The user interface, game mechanics, enemies, and puzzles will be updated to reflect modern aesthetics and sensibilities, while maintaining the feel of the original.

We want this game to be as chilling to players today as the original System Shock was when it was released in 1994. What is most important to us is taking the essence of the original game, and emphasizing that as we present it to gamers today. With the knowledge and technological improvements over the last 22 years since the original, we can communicate the story of Citadel Station more effectively than ever.

System Shock will have a dramatic and modern take on a musical score. Combining its root sci-fi elements with dynamic acoustic elements à la BioShock, we are striving to set System Shock apart from other more action-based shooters as an atmospheric and dark experience.

Though computer music software has improved exponentially in the last decade, there is no equivalent to the breathtaking and visceral sounds that real instruments can produce. We have been working with Videri String Quartet, and we are in talks with Prague's FILMharmonic Orchestra about recording the score for System Shock. They're a very professional orchestra, having recorded scores for Civilization V, Thief, Hostel, Dream Theater, and many more projects. If we can reach the stretch goal required to afford everything that it takes to record a full orchestra, the game's musical experience will be much more expressive and terrifying than would ever be possible without.

Though for a modern game like System Shock, a more restrained and dramatic approach is called for, we are also really excited to bring the old System Shock tunes back to life in an updated way! With a roster of world-class musicians, we have set a stretch goal to release a remixed version of the original soundtrack intact! Please help us to make this a reality so that we cannot only provide a strong modern gameplay experience, but also give the old tunes the love that they deserve!


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