The 1990s was indeed a wonderful decade for gaming. Many famous titles like Doom, Quake, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy were launched on numerous platforms like the NES, Playstation, Sega consoles and PC. System Shock was one of those memorable games which would then spawn a sequel (System Shock 2) as well as a spiritual successor we’re all familiar with (Bioshock).
System Shock was launched in 1994 and developed by Looking Glass Technologies, who were also known for other beloved titles like Thief:The Dark Project and its sequel Thief II: The Metal Age as well as the popular Ultima Underworld franchise. System Shock received a lot of praise for its unique blend of RPG, horror-scifi and action elements and critics and players often compared the game with the hit movie franchise, Alien. The players found themselves assuming the role of an unnamed hacker trapped in a space station filled with vicious mutants and murderous robots and cyborgs as he attempts to thwart the plans of a psychotic and malevolent A.I. named SHODAN.
Following the success of the game, Looking Glass Technologies then launched System Shock 2 in the year 1999. The game featured an all new engine, improved visuals, better controls and made the game less cumbersome compared to its predecessor. The game also brought back the beloved antagonist SHODAN (you’ll know how frightening she is once you watched this clip from System Shock 2), who would then become the inspiration behind Portal’s own psychotic A.I. villain named GLaDOS. The game itself then became the inspiration behind titles like Deus Ex (2000) and Bioshock (2007).
Sadly in the year 2000, Looking Glass Technologies was forced to close down due to financial reasons and the System Shock franchise was in a Intellectual property limbo. Fortunately after more than a decade, the franchise was bought by Night Dive Studios the team well known for porting classic titles like Turok, Spirits of Xanadu, Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri and numerous other previously unavailable old school titles to modern PCs through outlets like Steam and GOG. Night Dive Studios then proceeded to release both System Shock and System Shock 2 for modern PCs with special features like 1080p support, enhanced textures, sound and 3D models. About a month ago the team then launched a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter to bring back System Shock using modern technology and a fresh coat of paint.
The remake will be created using the Unity Engine which has been widely used by Indie developers to develop games like Thomas was Alone, Dreamfall Chapters, Wasteland 2, Ori and the Blind Forest, P.A.M.E.L.A., Layers of Fear and many more. The developers have claimed that the game will have an updated U.I., simplistic and standard controls and will borrow several elements from System Shock 2. The project has successfully crossed its initial goal of $900,000. However those interested can still donate so that they continue accomplish stretch goals which include a Linux/Mac release, an orchestral score, additional locations, animations,etc. A 15 minute demo is also available on Steam, Humble and GOG.
The game will likely launch in the year 2017 on Windows, Xbox One, (Linux and Mac if the stretch goals are accomplished), a PS4 launch hasn’t been confirmed yet. You can check out the game’s official website or the kickstarter page for further details regarding the game. Meanwhile Otherside Studios, comprising of developers who formerly worked for Looking Glass Studios, lead by Warren Specter (Director of Ultima Underworld, Deus Ex and System Shock) have obtained permission from Night Dive Studios to work on System Shock 3 which hopefully continue where its predecessor left. As of now there aren’t too many details regarding System Shock 3, but we will hope for more teasers to emerge in the coming months. Until then, stay tuned for further updates.