Sys­tem Shock 3

How can you chal­lenge a per­fect, im­mor­tal ma­chine, asks

Hyper - - CONTENTS - David Wild­goose

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

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