System Shock is a 1994 first-person action game developed by Looking Glass Technologies and published by Origin Systems. The game is set aboard a space station in a cyberpunk version of 2072. Players assume the role of a nameless hacker who attempts to take down an evil artificial intelligence named Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, commonly referred to as SHODAN.
The title is regarded by many critics and gamers as a cult classic which redefined first-person experiences. Not only did it provide thrilling melee combat, but the claustrophobic setting impacted the horror genre as well. Popular franchises like BioShock draw inspirations from its level design and mechanics even to this day. When a System Shock remake was announced, it quickly broke records on Kickstarter and became a highly anticipated title.
Recently, after raising over $1.3 million on Kickstarter from over 20,000 backers, the developer behind the long-awaited remake announced that the project was put on hiatus. Stephen Kick, head of Nightdive Studios, said that the developer needed to take a step away and get the project back on track because the team attempted to do too much. It's unclear what changes the developer made which altered gameplay to such a degree.
Luckily, it seems like development is back on track. In a recent conversation between PC Gamer and Nightdive Studios' Business Development Director Larry Kuperman, it was revealed that the game was now targeting a 2020 release. Kuperman said the following when asked about the status of the project.
We understood based on the backer feedback, especially, that we weren't going in the right direction with the game, what we promised to them. That's what really caused the shift in what we're doing now, which is going back to what we'd established and represented with the Unity demo... As we geared up and started moving forward with it, we began to run into feature creep. All of those things like 'you know what would really be cool, how we might reinterpret this.' Various people wanted to put their imprint on it. As this process evolved over a period of time, it grew in complexity, and it veered away from this original representation. That doesn't mean that interpretation would've been bad, but it wouldn't have been true to the System Shock vision... Our intention is to ship exactly the game that was promised, with as much of the features that were promised as we can, in a timeframe that will get it out as fast as we can. Our expectation is probably Q1 of 2020... We've also had renewed interest from some publishing partners, for whom the more complex and costly game was something of a challenge for them, that this is what they were hoping we would provide and renewed their interest.
It's great to see that System Shock Remastered is back on track and has a new release window. The uncertainty was a cause for concern to many backers because, when games are put on hiatus, they sometimes never release, as a studio closes down or there are other problems. Hopefully the game will be a polished experience when it launches on Xbox One and other platforms down the line.
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