NEED TO KNOW: SYSTEM SHOCK
Fuelled by a Kickstarter campaign, System Shock is returning to haunt a new generation of gamers
1 iS IT A REBOOT or REMAKE?
Dubbed a “faithful remake” by Nightdive Studios’ project director Jason Fader, System Shock will retain the spirit of the original, but feature modern game and level design. “We want to keep some things that still hold up, and then do a face-lift and tummy tuck to some other stuff,” explains Fader. Upon confirming that many familiar characters, creatures and weapons will return, Fader summed up, “Compare old Doom to the new Doom reboot… that’s essentially what we’re doing with this.”
2 iT’S HARNESSING ALL THOSE HORSES UNDER THE XBOX ONE’S HOOD
Powered by the Unreal Engine, System Shock looks more like a big budget triple-A title than the next little-Kickstarter-that-could project. Our brief demo – a vertical slice of the game – showcased all the immersionratcheting touches you’d expect from a new-gen entry, from slick lighting and shadows to impressive particle and physics effects. Fader stresses they’re “tremendously upping the graphics” over the original, and promises “high performance and visual fidelity.” The studio’s aiming for the game to run at 60 frames per second.
3 IT TAKES PLACE ON A Gory SPACE STATION
Like the original, this shiny new System Shock will unfold on a creepy space station that makes Alien’s Nostromo look like a country club. Much of our demo unfolded within the vessel’s blood-drenched medical deck, where some unlucky surgeons had been decapitated, disembowelled and otherwise freed of their limbs and innards. If the station’s janitor is still alive, he’s going to need way more than a mop and bucket to scrub away all that blood.
4 IT PLAYS LIKE THE OFFSPRING OF BIOSHOCK AND DISHONORED
While our demo was strictly handsoff, Fader says fans can expect an “openly explorable action-RPG.” Most areas of the space station will be open from the get-go, but much like Metroidvania-style games, they won’t be passable until you have the right weapons or gear. The team’s core gameplay philosophy is to give fans a toolbox and let them figure out how to best use it. We witnessed Fader dynamically take down a threat by shooting a nearby nitrogen tank, then breaking the frozen foe like a piece of peanut brittle. The developer also hinted the final game will feature a “rich form of puzzle-solving.”
5 PREPARE TO FACE SHODAN AGAIN
Nightdive will be putting its own spin on many aspects of the game, but don’t expect them to mess with the narrative too much. Fader and his team are huge fans of the original’s nightmare-conjuring sci-fi yarn and, of course, its evildoing artificial intelligence antagonist Shodan. While much of the dialogue will be re-written and some plot points polished – by former Obsidian Entertainment scribe Chris Avellone, no less – Fader promises the remake will feature the “same basic outline and characters of the original story.”
6 ITS TEAM KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT MAKING GAMES
In addition to writer Avellone – whose credits include Fallout: New Vegas, Wasteland 2 and the upcoming Prey – the young studio has a number of other industry vets. For starters, Fader is a former Blizzard Entertainment tools engineer who worked on Diablo 2 and World Of Warcraft, before taking on producer and project director roles at Obsidian. The team’s also consulting with some of the Looking Glass Studio folks who worked on the original System Shock, as well as some of tho devs crafting the series’ third installment at OtherSide Entertainment.
System Shock is in preproduction, but could be scaring players by 2018
Above Erm, we’re all up for space exploration, but we’re thinking of sitting this one out, guys.