I learned about System Shock after watching SomeOrdinaryGamers play the second game on YouTube. I got curious and decided to purchase System Shock 2 on Steam. It was $10 so I thought why not, and I’m so glad I bought it. It instantly had me hooked when I awoke from cryo-sleep. The graphics aren’t anything to write home about, but the bad graphics are what make this game more terrifying. It adds to the creep factor. This survival horror game helped inspire games like Bioshock, Prey, and even Deus Ex.
It has a good mix of RPG elements and horror. You’ve got skills to level up, weapons to maintain, chemicals you can study, tech you can hack, enemies you can learn about, lore you can listen to, and secret loot caches you can find. This game literally has it all, and it’s amazing what this game has to offer for being made in 1999. It was one of the greatest survival horror games of the old generation. It was right up there with Resident Evil and Silent Hill, and when news broke out about Nightdive Studios wanting to remake the first System Shock of the next generation, the internet freaked out.
Everything was going smoothly. The game had a successful Kickstarter (making over $1.3 Million), they released a pre-alpha demo of the game’s first mission which was also praised by critics and gamers, and there was a sense of trust between the developers and the gamers. However, something changed. Something that sent this Kickstarter on a collision course for disaster.
During the development of the game, Nightdive had apparently switched the game’s engine from Unity to Unreal. This decision was believed to be the beginning of the end of this game’s development. After the switch, the game no longer had it’s classic gritty, horror atmosphere from the pre-alpha demo. The graphics were sharp and realistic, but that’s not what System Shock fans wanted. They wanted good graphics, but they wanted the atmosphere to stay true to the original. That clearly wasn’t happening, and it didn’t help when the developers weren’t really listening to the backers.
Things went from bad to worse, when the developers made clear that there would be gameplay changes that would meet the standards of gamers in today’s generation. Its more news fans didn’t want to hear, and by this point, red flags quickly began popping up left and right. All the developers were showing was concept art and screenshots, but nothing on the progress of the game’s development. Which is all the backers wanted to see, and yet their requests were left unanswered.
Finally, on February 16th, their worst fears had been realized. The developers made an update on their Kickstarter page stating that they would be taking a hiatus on the project. It was the worst news possible to hear, and now all we know is that the game is supposedly coming out this year. No month or day, just 2018. We haven’t heard anything from them since. Three backers of the campaign had spent $10,000 on this project, and had hope that this project would go great. I can only imagine just how horrible these backers feel.
Is there hope?
Yes, kind of. Do I feel like this Kickstarter campaign is worse than Mighty No. 9’s campaign? No, but it’s pretty damn close to being that bad. We’re talking about a classic survival horror game that’s cherished by many gamers, and to see it being remade in this state is just sad. Does Nightdive have a chance to recover from this? Yes, and here’s why. They did the right thing and stopped development so they could regroup, reorganize, and come back when they were ready. They admitted that they were moving away from their original plan. They took responsibility for their mistakes, and agreed that releasing the game now would be worse than delaying it until it was ready. This is something the developers of Mighty No. 9 would’ve never done.
These developers made mistakes, and thankfully, their taking full responsibility for their errors. They’re taking a break and they’ll be releasing the game when it’s ready. I continue to hope this game will succeed, but I remain cautiously optimistic. All we can do is wait and see. Please don’t screw this up, Nightdive.