System Shock Remake In Development, Night Dive Acquire Full Rights To Franchise

Night Dive are responsible for the recent Enhanced Edition of the original System Shock and in an interview with Fast Company, CEO Stephen Kick explained that his company have “acquired the full rights to the franchise” and have been working with the game’s original concept artist as they develop a full remake of the game. Talks about a possible System Shock 3 have also begun, although Night Dive admit they would need outside help to achieve something on that scale.

Of a sequel, head of business development at Night Dive Larry Kuperman says: “To really do another game in that series is going to take resources and time and commitment that we don’t have, and it’s really not our core business.” However, the rights to make that sequel have now been removed from the legal limbo they appeared to exist in for so long. From the Fast Company article, Jared Newman tells the story:

…due to confusion over who owned the series’ rights and trademarks, the only way to get System Shock 2 was to acquire an old physical copy or pirate the software, and any potential sequels were out of the question. After some digging, I found that the game’s rights wound up at a Michigan-based insurance company. A lawyer for that company told me his clients were willing to sell. Kick now tells me that this story was the catalyst for his first business deal.

The full tale, involving trips to Guatemala and GOG is well worth reading. Along with the System Shock talk, there’s also an insight into Night Dive’s business, from discussions with Harlan Ellison about sci-fi horror adventure I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, to failed attempts to revive No One Lives Forever.

What we don’t have yet are details about the System Shock remake itself. Beyond the involvement of concept artist Robb Waters, there’s no information as yet. Of Waters return to the game, Kick says: “Seeing the difference between his artistic abilities back then compared to now, and his ablity to reinterpret those ideas, it’s just been really exciting for us.”

Whether Night Dive will incorporate community work into their remake isn’t yet clear. Alice wrote about one remake last year and that project recently moved to Unity 5. You can read more about it at its IndieDB page.

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  1. burn_heal says:

    Well that’s a shock to the system…

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Yes, fo Sho(dan). You’d have to be a murderous AI not to be taken aback by this piece of news.

    • int says:

      Yeeeeah! I look forward to this for the many reasons.

  2. zeep says:

    This sounds great.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Pretty sure he’s obligated to fight crime with a name like that.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      AWE HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. JFS says:

    Stephen Kick: cool name.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      With a name like that, it’d be cool if he started a System Shock 3 Kickstarter.

  4. ran93r says:

    As much as I would love a SS3, I will hold out zero hope of it being the game I expect it to be.

    • Evil Pancakes says:

      Agreed. For one, you really will need the original developers on the team, or at least a few of them, to really capture the magic of the System Shock games. Then there’s the fact that you really can’t make a new System Shock without Shodan. But, as mentioned in another article at some point here on RPS, setting her up to fail again in her quest for galactic domination would only dilute her character. Best to just lay her to rest.
      Now, a complete remaster of the System Shock games though would be fantastic. SS1 has not aged well in the controls department.

      • jj2112 says:

        But now the controls in the Enhanced edition are virtually identical to SS2… And in widescreen format.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Exactly—I don’t want more System Shock, I want more games that hit the same highs as System Shock. SHODAN deserves better than to be a recurring franchise villain with a heap of inconsistent, ill-conceived extended universe drivel around her.

        Make more immersive sims; don’t just pump the surface branding of the existing ones dry.

      • piedpiper says:

        Still, SS2 ended showing us that SHODAN escaped. So it’s not like they were not going to give her third shot. The problem is, SS2 ending was a pile of dissapointing garbage. It should not end like that.

      • aoanla says:

        The other solution to that, of course, is to have SHODAN win…

        • Technotica says:

          Or to actually be Shodan… I wouldn’t mind playing such an awesome crazy AI.

          • Jalan says:

            Stop making me want that to be a thing!

            I want to believe there’s a developer out there capable of making a truly satisfying game where you’re in control of such an AI, almost as much as I want to believe there’s a developer capable of making a solo Superman game that’s actually good without sacrificing something out of contrivance.

          • Josh W says:

            I happen to think that the only working Superman game concept is a real-time with pause one:

            You want to swoosh around fighting people, but you also want to be invincible able to see through walls, and extremely interested in avoiding collateral damage.

            To pull that off, you need to be able to pause the game at any moment, and have a world of stuff highlighted for you so that you can make inpromptu moral decisions, notice things etc. maybe even use a sort of node based navigation system to set up your swooshing about and then it ties together that swooshing you set up into a cool animated thing while you pull off punch combos, shoot things with laser vision etc.

            It would be like making your own quick time events.

      • Leucine says:

        “But, as mentioned in another article at some point here on RPS”

        Kieron Gillen’s excellent The Girl Who Wanted to be God, which was the article that eventually led me to start reading RPS. And I would agree with you on that point. It wouldn’t be fair to such an excellent villain.

        Perhaps something set in the intervening time between SS1 and SS2. Trioptimum were evidently no strangers to corporate espionage so I’m sure there’d be some interesting stories to tell, there.

        As LionsPhil says, however, it might just be better to take the general atmosphere and mechanics and make something new.

      • AlienMind says:

        No it won’t. See how Levine has turned Bioshock from it’s original concept with sea eels and sparse encounters to a shooter-fest with little girls.

    • Turkey says:

      It’s a good thing they can’t afford to make SS3 then.

    • fish99 says:

      Yeah at most it would be a game in the style of System Shock, imitation, and not the game LG/Irrational would have made had things worked out. Like the new Thief. In my mind if you’re going to do that you may as well just make a new IP.

  5. gpown says:

    With Bethesda’s Prey 2 supposedly going in a system-shocky direction, I have a slightly bad feeling about this.

    • Evil Pancakes says:

      Prey 2 is still a thing? I thought Prey 2 stopped being a thing years ago.

    • piedpiper says:

      Prey 2 is dead. Sorry to dissapoing you.

      • Shazbut says:

        dissapoing: (n) (archaic) The act of piercing a basketball with a needle and throwing it against a concrete floor. Often done out of spite or possibly sexual gratification

  6. piedpiper says:

    I can’t believe idiots at EA missed their opportunity to milk System Shock franchise. It’s almost too good to be true.

    • dr.denton says:

      I don’t think there was much milking to be done with this franchise for EA. Or only if they had released some kind of “reboot” to buy into the Bioshock hype. Now there’s a pleasant thought – SHODAN as a kind of evil, sexy Cortana, “cinematic” level design, maybe some QTE ?
      Brrr, I just made myself squirm.

    • Turkey says:

      Yeah, EA’s not really after small dedicated fanbase money.

    • Werthead says:

      Apparently System Shock 1 lost money and System Shock 2 barely broke even. I don’t think EA though there was much milking to be done.

      • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

        And we can all thank gods for that.

  7. DanMan says:

    This is nice. I’ve always wanted to play it (and once did for maybe 30min. – a long time ago), but the longer I waited, the worse it looked, and I’m a very visual guy. Nowadays I feel like I’m over the hill. Nice to see I’ll get a 2nd chance.

  8. banananas says:

    Ha, what a timing! I’ve just recently started my very first System Shock playthrough ever, currently approaching the end. In the past, I’ve really tried to get into it a few times but always hit a brick wall with the abysmal controls, so the simple fact of implementing mouselook and WASD controls made it actually playable for me.
    And I have to confirm, it is such a fantastic game! Unbelievable to think it came out the same year as Doom 2 and Warcraft 1. Soo ahead of it’s time, it’s ridiculous! While playing you realize how many of it’s gameplay elements served as a blueprint for Deus Ex years later (for example the augmentation system). I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody interested in RPG-FPS, who has had the same problems with it as me. If you like System Shock 2 and Deus Ex, you will like it! The only roadblock are the dated graphics and it’s clunky interface. But, if you can soldier through that, you’re in for a real treat! Give it a shot!
    Fun fact, I’ve also finished Deus Ex right before, for the very first time, due to the Revision mod (I know, I know… but better late than never) and will start SS2 once more, after I finish exploring 1994 Citadel. Man, I am currently the happiest gamer alive, as you might imagine. :D

    • koeklimas says:

      I don’t know, the gameplay didn’t age well. I tried it out about a year ago. It was too clunky and unclear where I had to go.

      • Mr_Blastman says:

        The mouselook mod makes it easy to play. As for figuring things out… it wasn’t hard… and is refreshing to play knowing the game expects you to think a little and does not hold your hand like modern games.

        • Chaoslord AJ says:

          I remember most of the times the objectives were on the same rather small floor or usually there was some locked door you’d remember.
          It was quite doable then without internet guides.
          That was also one of the big charms of Morrowind – less hand-holding.

  9. koeklimas says:

    Hey guis how about a new IP? It doesn’t have to be named system shock per se. Why buy the rights?

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    Oakreef says:


  11. TomxJ says:

    All they need to do is fix the ending and you’ll have a perfect immortal machine

  12. Frank says:

    These folk have done a lot of good work.

    Pity they couldn’t get NOLF 1+2 rereleased; great games.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:


      It is a shame, NOLF deserves a return.
      I played it in roughly the same period as Half-life, and NOLF was my favourite by far.

  13. Hardmood says:

    mentasm inc

  14. Covarr says:

    I’m not really a fan of System Shock, or BioShock, or Ken Levine’s other stuff… but I’m glad of this nonetheless. Their rereleases have consistently been done with respect both for the original games and the fans, and they take complaints and criticisms seriously and try to rectify them. Heck, they even made sure to include every language version of their Humongous Entertainment rereleases (including both the US and UK versions of SPY Fox), far more than most rerelease studios would bother to do.

    I’m curious how well they’ll handle a NEW System Shock game, but based on their other non-rerelease, Spirits of Xanadu, my hopes and expectations are high. This is a rare example of a company that genuinely cares, and they will try their best to do right by their fans one way or another.

  15. Gordon Shock says:

    Jeez, at least if the IP was in the hands a developer with more pedigree. Judging by their developer page on Steam they are a third rate at best…unless of course they want to take SS as means to get them into the big leagues…

    Color me super cautious

    • Jalan says:

      Night Dive’s reputation is basically built on re-releasing titles most might have forgotten about. The news of this actual remake seems like their intention to be more than just a glorified repackaging house.

  16. DevilishEggs says:

    This news feels a bit like partner from first serious relationship showed up on doorstep and said, “Want to get married in three years?”

    I don’t know what to feel.

  17. Shazbut says:


  18. Stardog says:

    Don’t bother making SS3 if you can’t do it right. It should be closer to something like Metroid Prime than any lame modern shooter.

  19. Jakkar says:


  20. Bweahns says:

    Myy babies need fresh meat.

  21. dx0ne says:

    Could be something like link to