Nightdive Studios System Shock remake. Long time coming; almost here

Way back when I was home with my youngest son after he was born, I was made aware of a Kickstarter.

A studio wanted to do a complete remake of the classic System Shock.

I had never played it, but I did play (and loved) System Shock 2. So, I was in. Like…way in.

The expected release date of the completed game was 2017. My kiddo is about to turn 7.

I have gone from anger, to apathy, to cynicism, to optimism, to frustration, to finally complete release from any expectations surrounding my pledge and the possibility that this game would ever come to fruition.

Now it seems that there is a soft release date, March 2023. As always, the devs are saying it’ll be done when it’s done. So, maybe March 2023, maybe Nevertember Eleventyninetynine.

As a backer, I’m hoping that as that date gets closer they’ll open up the beta.

Just curious if anyone else backed it, or if anyone is following the development or is looking forward to playing?

I’m also a backer. Used to play the original on my 486 back in the day. Kinda gave up on the remake project every coming out, but if they actually do release it next year, I’m playing the fuck out of it.

Also a backer. Looking forward to it finally coming out.

I don’t think a single crowd-funded project I ever backed was released on time.

But only one of them ever turned into vapor.

This was the first I backed, and I’ve only backed 2 since; both of which came to fruition.

If/when it actually comes out this spring, I’ll probably take a day off of work.
the original System Shock Enhanced edition? Maybe I should work my way through it and 2 first. Like I said I never played the original.

Damn. Wish I heard about this in time to get in on it. I’ll just have to wait for it to drop and snag it.

-Checks kickstarter page-
Holy crap! 3 $10k backers and 7 at $5k. That’s some dedicated love right there.

Yuk, realized I buggered up my last post when I went to edit it.

Anyway, the question is opinions on System Shock Enhanced? Steam says I played it at some time in the past for 17 minutes.

I’m wondering if dealing with the old mechanics etc. is worth it. I know the story, maybe I should just watch a few videos and play the 2 again.

I’m not one of those backers, but if I had that kinda scratch I may have chipped that in.

Along with Half Life, System Shock 2 is one of the games that completely absorbed me in an unexplainable way.

I played Bioshock before ever playing either of the System Shocks. I remember hearing people talk about how great SS2 was compared to Bioshock. (Note that they weren’t attacking Bioshock, just saying SS2 was better.)

When SS2 was finally released for I snatched it up. While I enjoyed the game, it certainly feels like an older game. I actually preferred Bioshock. Sure, it didn’t have the character customization of SS2, but I don’t see that as necessarily a weakness.

System Shock 2 was one of the first games that used the now-standard keyboard+mouse controls to explore a fully realized 3D environment. “Mouse look” was still a new thing. Even the first System Shock game didn’t fully implement it - IIRC, you had to hold down a button to enter mouse look mode, other wise it defaulted to a cursor. The combination of modern FPS combat, adventure game style puzzles and exploration, and RPG character progression, was just about unique when it came out. If you’ve played anything else in the genre first, then go to SS2, it’s not going to be as impressive as playing it for the first time in 1999, and thinking, “I have never played anything like this before!”

Just got Kickstarter Project Update #89.

They’re sticking with their timeline of March release so far. Apart from that, it feels like all the other updates since I backed it: showing enemy models, minor changes to gameplay…nothing to get too excited about at this point.

And over the weekend I got the Backer Beta.

What’s funny is that a week or so ago I told my wife that whatever happens, I’ll be happy as long as I get my metal box set and art book. Yesterday I got an e-mail letting me know that they are getting ready to ship those. I can’t decide where to display them yet…with the rest of the game books on the bookcase in the living room, or on the shelf above our computer desks with all of my Funko Pops and figurines and stuff? Just occurred that I still assume that they WILL ship…

So the Backer Beta. Am I blown away? No, not really. If you didn’t catch the disclaimer in one of my previous posts, I never actually played through the first one. I have loaded up and tinkered around in both the original and the enhanced edition. I played the junk out of SS2 and that is where the mystique of SS, in my mind at least, originates.

Anyway, notes about the Backer Beta after spending an hour and a half or so in the game:

  • Melee combat (which I was stuck with for the better part of the first hour) is very unsatisfying. You don’t really see a very good animation of your swing, nor do you see a proper animation of the thing that you’re hitting. They basically just do their thing until you hit them enough times and they die. And then fall quite unconvincingly.

  • Textures. When I played the demo, I was kind of curious about some of the rough and pixelly textures I was seeing. Well, they didn’t go away; apparently this was an actual design choice for throwback purposes? For me, it kind of takes me out of the game. Walking around a very smooth and modern-looking space station, only to look at a phone or object that is quite literally made out of large blocks is jarring. I hope they take a different tack on that by the final release. I see where they’re coming from, but I’m not a fan.

  • AI. There doesn’t seem to be any. Every enemy I’ve found so far, once they notice you, just shambles straight forward. Now, that also might be a design choice; maybe space zobmies and robots just aren’t that smart. Still, would have expected a little better enemy behavior than Duke Nukem 3D.

  • Character models. Uninspiring. Whether it’s an enemy or a body laying on the floor, they just don’t look like what a modern game should look like.

I’m not trying to be picky; the game is what it is. But in the beginning I had envisioned playing the old game remade with modern sensibilities. For the current version of the Beta, it feels very much like playing an old game that has been updated to only kind-of-old.

But it’s a Beta, and Nightdive has been very insistent that IT’S A BETA, THINGS WILL STILL CHANGE!

Unsurprising new update from the devs: This time, it’s a FIRM RELEASE DATE of May 30.

Ok. Just ship my merch already.