System Shock 3
How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine, asks
It’s been eighteen years since the last time - and a further five years since the first time an unnamed hacker awoke from a coma aboard a space station overrun by an artificial intelligence known as SHODAN. Which is a exhaustingly roundabout way of saying that this is the direct sequel to a game that came out last century. System Shock may have spent nearly twenty years out of the public eye, but its influence - both subtle and overt - has been felt in many of the best games since.
Deus Ex and its sequels, Invisible War, Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, have all found inspiration in System Shock’s multi-faceted approach to the RPG-shooter. BioShock’s heritage is evident in its very title, a namecheck reinforced by its structure and plot twist being lifted wholesale from Irrational’s earlier game. Dead Space was initially conceived as a System Shock game - Electronic Arts having published System Shock 2 - and retains more than a passing similarity despite the eventual decision to pursue more of a survival horror feel. More recently, Dishonored and Prey have revitalised the core tenets of the “immersive sim” and continued to empower players to choose how they want to tackle missions and encounters without prescribing a particular playing style. In some ways, System Shock has never really been away.
In late 2015, a development studio by the name of Otherside Entertainment announced it had secured the rights to make a System Shock sequel. Despite it being their first game as a team, they had the balls confidence to call it System Shock 3. Otherside, however, are not cocky upstarts; their number includes a bunch of people who worked at Looking Glass on System Shock and at Irrational on System Shock 2. And since that first announcement they have brought on board Warren Spector, who served as producer on System Shock and then the creative lead on Deus Ex, to head up the project. To put it mildly, Otherside is brimming with veteran developers with experience crafting action-RPGshooter hybrids like this.
Right now, there’s little concrete information out there around System Shock 3. Spector has confirmed it is a direct sequel in the sense its story will continue from where System Shock 2 left off. That means SHODAN is of course still around, having successfully taken possession of Rebecca Siddons, one of only two survivors of the Von Braun, now heading back to Earth in an escape pod. SHODAN has pretended to be a human before, but it would be a very different experience for her to actual take physical form. We’re curious to see where Otherside run with that.
As we wait for System Shock 3, there’s a System Shock remake on the way. Night Dive Studios is busy recreating Citadel Station 23 years later, and from what they’ve shown so far it looks set to be a faithful modern adaptation. It’s genuinely incredible to think we could be playing two new System Shock games in the next couple of years.
DEVELOPER PUBLISHER PLATFORM RELEASE DATE SHODAN remains one of the all-time great sci-fi villains in gaming history. Otherside Entertainment Starbreeze
PC, PS4, Xbox One TBC