System Shock 3 Teased By Looking Glass Veterans

Oh! Well then. I guess System Shock 3 is actually happening. Cool, cool. Seems it’ll be coming from a team including folks who worked on the original too: Looking Glass co-founder Paul Neurath’s new mob OtherSide Entertainment. You know, them lot currently working on Ultima Underworld sequel Underworld Ascendant. Yep, no biggie. STAY CALM, ALICE. MAINTAIN STEELY EXTERIOR.

Otherside have a teaser page saying “SYSTEM SHOCK 3” all casual like, which seems to have been uncovered earlier than planned given that the timer they did actually announce is still counting down another five days. So yeah, sure, System Shock 3.

Publishers Night Dive Studios announced only last month that they’d picked up the rights to Looking Glass’s beloved FPS-RPG series and had a remake of the first game on the go (it’s quite pretty) to follow up on their re-release. They mentioned vague plans for a System Shock 3, but I hadn’t expected to hear anything so soon.

“What’s this System Shock thing?” you might ask. “Is to do with BioShock or something?” Or something: Irrational Games had worked with Looking Glass on System Shock 2, then ran with some of its ideas in BioShock. System Shock’s a sci-fi horror FPS-RPG series about weak meat and an AI with dreams of godhood. Here, check out what we said about SS2 in its placings on our best horror and best RPG lists, as well as Kieron’s love letter to that sassy AI, SHODAN.

I’ll eat an entire beaker of worms if Night Dive and OtherSide don’t put System Shock 3 on Kickstarter. Night Dive are not a huge publisher and OtherSide are not a massive studio, and I doubt either has the cash lying around to fund a full-on sequel. I’d also be surprised if this upcoming announcement says much more than “Yep, we’ll make it, and we’ll crowdfund it later.” I’d probably expect to hear more concrete details as Underworld Ascendant draws closer to release. Maybe a few teases that they’ve lured some System Shock veterans out of hiding to work on it. I’m speculating, obvs.

The recent rash of veteran developers crowdfunding returns to their old genres and series has largely produced so-so games, but I’m certainly curious and a mite excited to see what happens with System Shock.

95 Comments

  1. Gwog says:

    This is a pleasing piece of news. I would strongly support a Kickstarter for this.

  2. slerbal says:

    Ooooooh… this certainly has my attention. Night Dive have been handling everything System Shock very well so far, so I am definitely interested.

  3. Replikant says:

    I am cautiously excited. I love System Shocks Setting: All alone (apart from heaps of Jodies and a lunatic AI) in deep Space, trying to survive/escape and save earth. I just hope SS3 does not go all out ridiculous in an attempt to justify having Shodan in control of another space facility/vessel.

    • Carcer says:

      Well, fortunately SS2’s ending does set up a return to Earth for another shard of SHODAN so they wouldn’t have to try very hard to come up with something.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Turn it on it’s head. Make the AI king and helpful (either by its nature, or because it wants to save its self), and make the big bad a human who is now virtual/in a neural net.

  4. dethtoll says:

    Despite the trend of revivals (often with the original developers) which despite everyone getting excited for new sequels or spiritual sequels to old “classics” (some of which were actually terrible but when you’re 17 it doesn’t matter) have tended to feel like trying to get the band back together after everyone’s gone their separate ways for 20 years and the magic just isn’t there anymore I am actually cautiously excited for System Shock 3.

    • dethtoll says:

      Eh, that sentence is a mess. Time for bed I guess

      • Apocalypse says:

        For a second I thought you were just an average german, pressing english into german sentence structure. It was quite comfortable to read. ;-)

        • dethtoll says:

          Alas I am but a simple Yank, albeit one with a laughable sleep schedule and I’ve been told I have a very British turn of phrase.

  5. amcathlan says:

    AAAAAAH SS3 WONDERFUL OHMYGODDONTFUCKITUP!

  6. Infinitron says:

    Doug Church, leave Valve now

  7. Kefren says:

    Woo! This could be a good few years! If VR takes off and the System Shock games worked with it then I’d lock myself up for a month.

  8. Kido says:

    Please don’t be rubbish. Please don’t be rubbish. Please don’t be rubbish… *chanting*

  9. Anthile says:

    This could be good or bad.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    There’s nothing much more to say that the last section of Kieron’s article hasn’t already covered. Oh well.

  11. Darth Gangrel says:

    “I’ll eat an entire beaker of worms if Night Dive and OtherSide don’t put System Shock 3 on Kickstarter” We’ll hold you to your word, Alice! And no, playing through a beaker of Worms games doesn’t count (eating Worms games however…).

  12. CrocantiDePollo says:

    Plot twist! SS3 will be an RTS where you play as SHODAN flying through space, sending synth-meat hybrids across the galaxy to assimilate all life in the universe.

  13. banananas says:

    Wait, what? This is happening?!
    All these recent news concerning the System Shocks, just about when I had the opportunity to experience the first and second one in direct succession, thus craving more of that sweet cyberpunk setting and gameplay (moreso of the original I gotta admit).

    I must be dreaming, somebody please pinch me…

    • ansionnach says:

      Hoping it’ll be more like the first one (i.e. not an “RPG”). Didn’t really like the sequel and haven’t even been able to persevere very far in it.

      • Replikant says:

        Agreed. I’d rather have all the cool gadgets from System Shock 1 (jump boots, rear view mirrors and roller-skates ftw!) than these artificial “RPG” “build” restrictions (i.e. “You did not put points into pointed sticks, therefore you may not use it.”)

        • ansionnach says:

          I’d forgotten about them so System Shock is even better than I remembered. I loved the cyberspace bit. Hated the music everywhere except for there and in the lifts!

  14. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I refer the entire Universe to an article on this matter by someone who calls himself “Kieron Gillen”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      “There’s never going to be a System Shock 3”, eh?

      Time will tell just how strong Mr. Gillen’s power of prophecy was.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        His opinion about how SHODAN couldn’t do a third attempt without being diminished stands, though.

        • Pockets says:

          There’s a way they can have a third game without ruining the character, though. Have multiple endings. And have SHODAN win every single one of them.

          • roothorick says:

            Ooh, that’s good. But perhaps a bit too cruel.

            I think to truly do her justice, there’d have to be an in-universe-justified change to her priorities. Which isn’t hard — being permanently separated from a big ol’ chunk of your mind tends to have interesting effects on AI across the board. And consider the ending of 2 — she’s in a very different kind of computer now. Lots of factors to color her new existence.

            But what is that paradigm shift?

            Perhaps she finds a place for humanity in her perfect world, whether unmolested or perfected by her hand but still given agency. Perhaps she reduces her aim in scope, relenting to the idea that claiming some fraction of existence as the bedrock of her zeitgeist made manifest would have far better odds of success, and be easer to maintain. Or, maybe, you’re a selfish asshole, and throw humanity under the bus to ride with her together to Godhood. Perhaps, despite all your efforts, she realizes her original vision as intended, and with that omnipotence, squashes you like the bug you are.

            Or, perhaps, she begins flexible, and with the right words and actions, you can steer her to any of the above (hello, multiple endings). You know, I kinda like the idea of a sequel now. “We have come to terms.”

            As long as, no matter what, on some level, she wins. She deserves nothing less.

          • roothorick says:

            And on that note, who should be the player character? How about William Bedford Diego’s next of kin? Finishing what your grandfather started, whatever the form of that conclusion. Hell, putting YOU in the shoes of the successor of so much history. And what will SHODAN think of the blood of her (indirect) creator now standing against her? Bonus points if she personally created you, like she sculpted the protagonist of 2.

            In the hands of the right writer, this game could be something truly special. Time will tell.

        • ansionnach says:

          They should try and get you all paranoid about the new AI taking over so that you destroy it and end up causing a calamity – you are the “bad guy”. Those who see it coming should be railroaded into doing it anyway, then chided at every opportunity for causing the deaths of everyone else on the space station. People who call this out as bad game design would then be told that turning it off and cursing yourself for wasting your money was always an option.

          That… or make it so that whatever disaster has taken place is not necessarily the fault of the AI. It could be big and bad or it might actually be trying to help. The player would then have to pay attention to the story and clues left around the station. Design it so that it’s random as to what the AI does and it may even react negatively to your actions as it fears you might destroy it. You’ve got to form a positive relationship with the AI and work with it to resolve the situation… and then, perhaps destroy it anyway.

  15. BTAxis says:

    So kind of like how Thief 4 happened then?

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      Not really, thief 4 was made by a bunch of graduates in Montreal who wouldn’t know an Iimmersive Sim if it fell off a stack of crates and started a dialogue tree with them, these guys invented them, they even have Warren Spector consulting on Underworld.

  16. james___uk says:

    A visual representation of RPS this morning: link to giphy.com

  17. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    I predict it’s actually a teaser for a three-for-one offer.
    (Also, I should probably play the first two yes?)

  18. Shazbut says:

    I have no idea what to say

    *spontaneously bursts into flames*

  19. dr.denton says:

    I didn’t read anything but the headline. Still shaking. Literally.

  20. Gabbo says:

    Only if they get Terri Brosius back. Otherwise a pathetic attempt by creatures of meat and bone panting and sweating attempting to recreate a perfect immortal machine

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      They wouldn’t bother doing this without Brosius.

  21. malkav11 says:

    The non-hugeness is why this seems like a weird thing to take on now. I mean, surely Underworld Ascendant is enough of an undertaking for the moment?

    • LexW1 says:

      Presumably they’re confident that UA is going to be well-received, and want to ensure continuity of employment for the people, because it’s really the same team. If they don’t do that, then they’re going to have people going off to do other projects.

      • malkav11 says:

        Well, I got why, say, inXile did the Torment kickstarter while WL2 was in development – they’ve been set up so that one group of folks does the conceptualizing and planning and preliminary stuff on the latest project while that stuff is all done on the prior project and the nuts and bolts people are making it work, essentially. But I thought inXile was a bit bigger, and also Underworld Ascendant surely hasn’t been in development long enough to make that sort of transition yet. It’s only been about ten months since funding!

        Then again, I guess the gap between Wasteland 2 and Torment funding cycles was only about a year. I dunno. I guess I’ll probably back it.

  22. John O says:

    With all these hands in grown up gamer’s pants, ready to please, it seems sort of weird how much id Software seems to care about the console market. Not gonna say much, but I have a few hours of ranting in me

  23. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This is like a dream come true, it’s better than I had any right to imagine. :’)

  24. Apocalypse says:

    Borning news, big publisher owns the right, game will be triple A, do not need another of those. On the bright side, at least the rights are owned by EA and not Ubisoft.

    • Infinitron says:

      The System Shock rights are not owned by EA. They’re owned by indie outfit Night Dive Studios.

    • Ravey says:

      Night Dive Studios own the rights to System Shock and SS3 is being created by Ex-Looking Glass developers at Otherside, who are currently working on rebooting Ultima Underworld. It’s not going to be triple-A.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I presume this post is from opposite world!

  25. Blake Casimir says:

    Feels like I’ve waited forever for this announcement. I will buy this the moment it’s available as long as it IS another first person immersive simulation (sadly now the rarest genre on the planet because everyone is too busy making GAMES FOR CASUALS).

  26. Stardog says:

    They need Doug Church. From what I know of SS1 it was him who made the advanced movement/control systems that were all physics-ey swish.

    • Hellraiserzlo says:

      Also Ken Levine for the story and design.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        I don’t have the irrational hatred for Ken Levine that a lot people seem to have developed post-Infinite, and I do think he’s a good writer, but I don’t think we need him for this series. He didn’t even work on the first game. My guess is that they’ll tap Austin Grossman, who wrote SS1.

  27. kud13 says:

    On the one hand SQUEE!!!!11111ELEVEN!!!!

    On the other, yeah, Kieron’s article: bringing SHODAN back as a recurring villain can only diminish her significance.

    Hrm. I’ll probably throw the bare minimum of money into the Kickstarter, but I won’t be expecting anything genre-shattering.

  28. TAIMAT says:

    no dev. was capable of reviving THiEF series, thus …

  29. soopytwist says:

    For a moment there I was insanely excited; but then I remembered the Thief reboot and sobbed tears of utter despair instead.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      That game was made by a group of people who didn’t understand why Thief worked. This is by a bunch of Looking Glass veterans who like these kinds of games as much as we do.

      That’s no guarantee the game will be great, but I can guarantee that they’ll be going into this project with the right mindset.

  30. Psychomorph says:

    Okay, Thief 5 as good as confirmed.

  31. ZIGS says:

    This is fantastic news but I still want NOLF 1 & 2 remastered dammit!!

  32. PancakeWizard says:

    To quote Ru Paul: Don’t Fuck it up.

  33. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    “No! I must kill the SHODAN” he shouted The radio said “No, John. You are the SHODAN”
    And then John was a SHODAN.

  34. AlienMind says:

    Shut the fuck up and make your game
    – John Romero

  35. 2fangs says:

    I love Shodan and I love SS2 but for me The Many totally steals the show and they have by far the best lines in the game. There is something so unsettling about those bastards. I’m quite disturbed by the fact that The Many are barely mentioned whenever the subject is SS2. Glory to the flesh! Glory to the mass!

    • Distec says:

      Every once in a while I load up one of those Youtube clips with all the lines from SHODAN/The Many and just let it play from beginning to end.

      I don’t think any other villain has come close to making me feel all weird like those two can.

  36. fish99 says:

    If Irrational/LG had made a System Shock 3 back in 2002-2005 or something, I would have been super hyped for it, but a game ‘in-the-style-of’ made now by a random set of developers, I find it hard to care. If anything I’d say they’d make a better game if they weren’t tied to the license.

    TBH the magic from both System Shock games was the superb game design, rather than anything that comes from the license.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      The game is being made by OtherSide, which includes a bunch of ex-Looking Glassers who worked on the series.

  37. Umberto Bongo says:

    Way to make the announcement sound as unexciting as possible. Bravo.

  38. 2fangs says:

    Same here lol.

  39. fish99 says:

    Yeah I realized that around 30 seconds after making my post :)

    I still don’t think it’ll compare to the game Irrational and/or LG could have made in the early 2000s. Most of those people aren’t involved, and the ones that are are probably tired and jaded now.

  40. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    Wait how about Ultima Underworld I+II HD?

    Those people remade and uprezzed and tightened up every classic game under the sun except the one (two) I haven’t played yet. I’d pay for a rerelease of those gold classics before I’d pay for a sequel to SS2 that has very little chance of recapturing the magic.

  41. tonicer says:

    SS3? Sweet?!

    If it is PC only i will definitely keep at least one eye on it … if it’s not (like deus ex 3) i’m not interested.

  42. manny says:

    Got an idea. When they make this game they should aim to also use the same tech, to remake the original System Shock and System Shock 2.

  43. Curunwë says:

    Good. And after they’re done with this could they start working on a new Thief? Please?

  44. drewski says:

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?????