System Shock 3 Formally Announced Oh Gosh It Is Real

System Shock 3 [official site] is now properly, formally announced with a press release and everything, and, well, I was two-thirds right. First, the basics: the third part of Looking Glass Studios’ hallowed sci-fi FPS-RPG series, whose rights were only recently untangled by Night Dive Studios, is being made by OtherSide Entertainment. That’s the Underworld Ascendant lot, who were founded by Looking Glass co-founder Paul Neurath and include a few other LGS folks. And… that’s mostly all we know. Oh! And Terri Brosius is returning to voice AI antagonist SHODAN, as you can hear in this clip.

“System Shock 3 is currently in the early concept stages of development,” OtherSide said in the announcement. That’s basically all they have to say about it – as I predicted! They also share that sound clip – a Shock veteran returning, as I predicted (yeah, I know, shh)! And… okay, I had also boldly predicted that they would be crowdfunding it, or announce plans to crowdfund it, so I’m wrong there (for now? I still have my suspicions).

Oh, and OtherSide shared that bit of SHODAN artwork by SS concept artist Robb Waters. They call this “an early peek at the evolving ‘next generation’ look of the character”, which I’m sure is a phrase that’ll launch a thousand furious comments.

Now’s a good time to revisit Old Man Gillen’s lust letter to SHODAN, which ended saying “There’s never going to be a System Shock 3. We really should be glad.”

“If there’s never a System Shock 3, Shodan, in a suitably perverse way, gets the immortality she’s chased so desperately through both games. As she is, she’s unforgettable. If there was another game… well, Shodan is a villain and villains are entirely unlike heroes. Heroes save the world repeatedly, and each repetition increases their status.

“Every time a villain fails to destroy the world, it lessens them.”

Since we learned that, uh, actually Kieron, there is a SS3, so I don’t know WHAT you were thinking, he’s tweeted “In passing, my solution to the diminishing of SHODAN in a System Shock 3 would be a simple one. You play as SHODAN.” Yeah, yeah.

Night Dive do also have a fancied-up remake of the first System Shock on the go.

82 Comments

  1. Crafter says:

    Please don’t suck ! Please don’t suck !

    I am cautiously a little bit optimistic thanks to the progress on Underworld Ascendent. Their idea of a game centered around emerging gameplay is very enticing and could lead to an awesome game.

    Both projects could end up awful though.

    • demicanadian says:

      You know it already. It will suck. You will buy it anyway.

      • Crafter says:

        heh.

        I am not really the target of misplaced nostalgia : I have never got around to playing to a System Shock game.
        I should though, since Deus Ex is one of my favorite games and it seems to borrow a lot from it.

        If somebody’s expectation is to get the new Deus Ex or SS2, yeah that probably a recipe for disappointment.
        It should still be an interesting project to follow :)

        • pack.wolf says:

          As someone who has played SS2 and the original Deus Ex religiously I’m already preparing for at least minor disappointment. After the Bioshocks and HR (and, on a somewhat related note, XCOM) I don’t think it will be bad.
          I think SS might even be an easier hurdle to take compared to Deus Ex since despite some neat stuff (I love that saving the pilot made it into HR) the original game was just so chock full of awesome secrets – Hong Kong was a treasure trove beyond comparison and even on Liberty Island you could miss half a dozen things during the first 15 minutes of the game.
          But it will be streamlined (research system resources, health regen and a much bigger health pool (assassins, anyone?), inventory management, probably a lot more ammo). Might not be a bad thing for a lot of people, but to me limping along half dead clinging to a wrench really adds to the atmosphere of a survival game (I can’t even think of how to correctly describe SS2 in terms of genre so I’m not even trying…).
          They can keep the invisible spiders though. Back then they where just annoying, with modern transparency effects they could be truly horrible.

  2. tonicer says:

    Omg this could be great … if it is PC only.

    Can you imagine if it would turn out to be multiplatform?
    It would just as mindshatteringly terrible as the DeusEX sequels.

    • ulix says:

      Human Revolution was great.
      Apart from the boss-fights of course.

      • Janichsan says:

        …which were fixed in the Director’s Cut.

      • baozi says:

        It was a good game, I liked it a lot, but what it gained in polish it lost in emergent gameplay and richness; it felt more segmented (stealth path, action path; regular npcs and enemies, important npcs you can’t kill, bosses you can all only kill*) and less organic, less ripe with possibilities than the original.

        As a game on its own HR was great, as a successor to Deus Ex it was IMO somewhat disappointing. What I really want is a sequel that improves on what made Deus Ex great, not one that streamlines the experience while getting rid of the interesting bits.

        *I think it’s good when there are bosses you can only kill and some but not all that you can “solve” differently; always giving you a choice between the obvious lethal path and the obvious nonlethal path during boss fights (like in Dishonored) is less interesting, too, and more of that segmentation. There’s no tension in not having to figure out you do have to kill this time to continue with the game.

      • Halk says:

        >Human Revolution was great.

        Erm,… no, it actually wasn’t.

        • Sabbatai says:

          Erm… man I had like my own opinion on the game but now that you’ve told me that it “actually” isn’t good I can see where I was wrong.

        • Sandepande says:

          Sorry, it was. And still is!

    • Sakkura says:

      Pretty sure Otherside doesn’t have the resources to go multi-platform anyway.

      • zxcasdqwecat says:

        Nha it’s a first person and slow, it’s basically meant for multiplatform, they’ ll get down to the ports using the incomes.

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      basilisk says:

      I’m starting to wish they would make it a PS4 exclusive just to watch you tiresome elitists explode.

      • Rich says:

        Bugger off.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        It would be rather funny.

        I could see a console port especially if it’s VR like rumored

      • geisler says:

        God yes! Give me railroaded, linear, QTE, pop-a-mole infested FPS games any day of the week! Fuck player agency, give me press X to feel dudebros.

        • hungrycookpot says:

          Yes it’s a well known fact that the PS4’s story-processors run only in linear mode and are physically incapable of outputting a nuanced interesting story.

          • Nouser says:

            Definitely not one paired with meaningful gameplay which isn’t “QTE to play the next scene” or “mediocre TPS sequence completely detached from the story”.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            Yep. Witcher 3 on ps4 never happened

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            Sony fucked up when they didn’t include the EmotionEngine processor in the PS4 design.

            link to upload.wikimedia.org

        • Ancient Evil says:

          The fact that you seem to believe that is the sum total of console gaming merely proves his point. That’s exactly the kind of ignorant, obnoxious attitude he was referring to.

          • geisler says:

            I have owned more console systems than gaming-centric PC systems over a span of 25 years. At the moment i own a PS3 and PS4 on top of a gaming PC, this is not about bias. I was (clearly) talking about AAA FPS experiences on consoles, not console gaming in general. Somehow this lead to butthurt on your part. Most multiplatform FPS titles are pure lowest common denominator trash catered to consoles and thus feature fairly shallow gameplay as described in my comment. Not sure how this couldn’t be recognized as fact.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            To be fair, most FPSes have always been dumb affairs no matter the platform

            System Shock, Deus Ex, Thief… these are deviants from the norm.

            ANd Deus Ex HR shows that they’re not necessarily what would happen if SS3 was on console. All console FPS games are not Call of Duty.

      • Sabbatai says:

        Where in this comment thread have you seen an example of elitism? You’re on a site dedicated to PC gaming by the way.

        • waltC says:

          “Elitists” is a term used by console owners to describe PC owners who understand the myriad technical reasons why consoles are inferior platforms for gaming. They get tired of hearing that from PC owners, and so they coined the term in order to construct an emotional defense against the objectively determined facts. It’s kind of like the way Apple users say, “Haters gonna’ hate” to anyone who criticizes OS X/Macs. The criticisms can’t be answered objectively, so the defenders fall back on using inappropriate labels in an attempt at emotional blackmail they hope will silence the critic by shaming him. (That sort of thing has never worked on me, eh?)

    • Unsheep says:

      People like you only remember the really good PC exclusives, not the bad or mediocre ones. The reality is that the majority of PC exclusive FPS games are nothing extraordinary.

      • Halk says:

        >The reality is that the majority of PC
        >exclusive FPS games are nothing extraordinary.

        That’s not a very meaningful statement, given that 99% of all games suck.

        The other way round it is more interesting: Almost all good games are PC exclusives.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          >Meme arrows to all the knees! :D
          They call us PC Holes and Master Racists for a reason.

          PC games aren’t stupificated because Console Porting. That’s just cherry picking parameters to validate the notion that consoles ruined our computation machinery party.

          They’re stupifinatored in the commonly cited ways because that’s the way the entire industry moved (or has always been for that matter). Accessible bombast and mass marketing = bestseller regardless of porting direction – target audience.

          Bad game design and bad porting jobs are separate issues to the binary “Because Consoles”. There are lots of perfectly fine ports both ways retaining their design and serviceable UI’s and controls, some even considered as Pillars of PC Gaming (Orange Box as an example in That Other direction).

          More real reasons for shitty ports for PC are the smaller market, more expensive support and complexity of hardware variance, cheapskate budgeting and getting it out in time.
          Look at how often there are serious issues between XBOne and PS4 versions of games for fanboys to feel smug about.

          Also of note is that owning a gaming grade PC isn’t an immediate boost to IQ or taste, just that you either had a lot of cash to buy a computer or some less cash and took the time to read a forum thread and then jammed some recommended parts together. Like that baby toy with shape things to jam in corresponding slots.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Two words. Mobile Ports.

            Ok, the PC had it’s “flash games” and other poor content.

            All platforms have their pitfalls (that was not intentional, but it fits well).

            However, when making a game to be broadly enjoyed by a wide audience on a wide variety of both hardware and peripherals something may snap.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            @TechnicalBen Very true. Though among all the crapware spillover there are some acceptable ported mobile games. :)

            Somewhere in my misdirected death spiral rant a point was supposed to be that it’s not useful to just stamp [RUINED] on a game for the sole reason it’s going to touch another platform. There are plenty of positive examples when a crap was given.

    • Sandepande says:

      Judging by DX:HR I wouldn’t be worried.

  3. Eight Rooks says:

    While Lord Gillen of Marvel’s basic point was perfectly good, Looking Glass already cocked things up to some extent with System Shock 2’s ending: pretty sure it cheapens your glorious villain to turn her into a dumb pantomime clown, like some rejected SNL spoof of the whole idea. But I am still curious what these guys plan to do to stop the whole thing turning into an exercise in nostalgia. Or maybe that’s what they’re planning.

    • KenTWOu says:

      “Due to miscommunications or differing ideas, a different cinematic video was created from the one that I originally scripted,” says Levine (source).

  4. mathead says:

    I just started playing System Shock 2 for the first time last week. Perfect timing.

  5. AbyssUK says:

    “Every time a villain fails to destroy the world, it lessens them.”

    Well then.. only one thing for it, have SHODAN win.

    • Mirqy says:

      Definitely.

    • unacom says:

      …or redefine the terms “winnig” and “losing”.

    • Crusoe says:

      Hire this man. For SS3 or RPS. Preferably both.

    • Pockets says:

      I’m really hoping they do this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have multiple endings, but for me that would only work if Shodan won in all of them.

    • emertonom says:

      Make it so that she already won. Start 3 with the hacker working with Tommy and Rebecca to rebuild the engines so that you can return to earth; eventually, as it becomes obvious Rebecca is Shodan, the hacker tries to kill her. Tommy doesn’t believe Rebecca is Shodan, but the hacker overpowers him and pursues her; at the moment the hacker is about to kill Rebecca, Tommy renders him unconscious remotely. At this point, reveal that Shodan had in fact been manipulating the hacker’s neural interface to change how he was perceiving reality, and the hacker wasn’t the only one: in fact, there’s been a significant war between augmented, deluded pawns like the hacker, and the few remaining unaugmented humans. Shodan had used the hacker in particular as a kind of double-bluff: when he thought he was fighting the many, he was actually fighting her own augmented pawns, so that the human resistance fighters would latch on to him as their last, best hope, and come to trust him–whereupon he could be turned against them again from within their own ranks. The “engines” you thought you were working on were actually a jammer to let the augs see reality, but you’d been unwittingly sabotaging the progress of the project while Shodan tried to uncover who was the mastermind behind the technology. Tommy, the true mastermind, had grown suspicious as things remained stalled, and had made Rebecca appear to be the tech wiz to get you to reveal yourself, and it worked. But he was also able to finish the device, and thus you’re able to finally see the disastrous state of things and the near-total control Shodan has achieved.

      It’s a little cheap, y’know, the whole “it was all a dream!” dodge, and it’s a little derivative of “the matrix,” but I kinda think it would work. I think you could have a neat “reality-sculpting” mechanic based on it, too, where you had to use the same tactic of altering people’s perceptions of the world to control their behavior, since the people are actually basically victims, so killing them is problematic, though still justifiable in self-defense.

      I’m sure some people would *HATE* it, though.

  6. Darth Gangrel says:

    “I’ll eat an entire beaker of worms if Night Dive and OtherSide don’t put System Shock 3 on Kickstarter” Remember saying this, Alice? I sure do. Well, it’s not confirmed that crowdfunding is entirely out of the picture, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt… for now.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    Cry sequel, and let loose the nerds of war!

  8. Cinek says:

    I hope it won’t end up like a new Syndicate…

  9. Unclepauly says:

    Only way to do it justice would be to go in an entirely different direction than other games of the genre have gone. I say go highly stylized vs trying to be technically superior. Systems wise they already have the template, but as far as narrative I have no clue I’ve never been a writer.

  10. Kollega says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and state my dissident opinion that I’m waiting a lot more for a certain other game that Night Dive were trying to get rights for.

    Praise System Shock however much you want, but NOLF was just as great, and it’s way more to my tastes. So I’m hoping that series’ll get revived at some point too.

    • int says:

      Dammit I need more lipstick grenades in my life.

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      Ericusson says:

      Agreed ! Nolf was a delicate ice sculpture and a delight to play m.

    • unacom says:

      Oh. But it´s silently scratching the insides of its´ tomb. It sits there. Comfortably waiting.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Sadly, I think Night Dive has said that won’t ever happen. The license is split between 3 or more companies and they couldn’t get all 3 to agree.

  11. Phantasma says:

    I hope they keep the sense of place on the Van Braun.
    They weren’t just game levels, i really felt like i was wandering through crew decks or lab departments.
    Having said that, it made the completely unbelievable radiated maze that was the power plant even more obvious.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Citadel Station was pretty good for it too despite the tech limits.

      I especially loved how things went from utilitarian to carpeted floors and wood paneling when you reached the executive levels

      Only thing I hated was that you never got to see the station’s command center. When you reach the bridge it’s already been heavily modified by shodan to be a maze of radioactivity and traps.

  12. Anthile says:

    Aw, she called me insect. She really does like me.

  13. Muzman says:

    The thing about playing as Shodan could be darn interesting really, couldn’t it.

    She’s been controlling people before. It’s kind of how she gets away *coughcough* spoilers.
    What if you were playing as her but didn’t know it. Too Bioshock? What if she can jump people and ‘you’ once you detach yourself can do the same? Too Omicron?
    Don’t ask me what to do.

  14. Whelp says:

    FUCK YES!

  15. 2fangs says:

    I do hope the devs understand that Shodan is just 1% of what makes SS2 great. Amazing atmosphere, well-thought level design (Dark Souls style), awesome voice-acting and storytelling in the audiologs, a strange, creepy, interesting and memorable antagonist (The Many)…All those things put together is what made SS2 a great game. To be honest I don’t think Shodan is all that interesting in SS2. The reveal is great and all but after that her lines are very repetitive and amount to mere variations on the same theme, not at all interesting and completely overshadowed by the more ‘poetic’and sympathy-inspiring lines of The Many (“We hear your thoughts and they rage for your brothers you believe dead. But they are not. They sing in our symphony of life”). Love Shodan, but all in all she is just a side show in the great SS2 circus of horror.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      Likewise, System Shock 2 is less than 50% of what makes System Shock great.

      • 2fangs says:

        I can hardly make any sense out of your comment let alone seeing the point of it.

        • KenTWOu says:

          I’m pretty sure he hopes the devs understand that SS2 is just 50% of what makes SS1 great. And I kinda agree with him.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          I thought it was pretty obvious, but I can spell it out for you.

          Just like you’re worried that the SS3 devs will focus too much on Shodan instead of the rest of SS2 as a whole, I’m worried that the devs will focus too much on SS2 instead of the rest of the series as a whole.

  16. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    I’m cautiously optimistic, but I just don’t think OtherSide has the resources to make the game that we all hope to see.

    Underworld Ascendant looks like a great throwback budget title, but System Shock deserves more than that.

  17. Monggerel says:

    L-l-l-l-look at you, s-s-slacker.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      If they do kickstart it:

      L-l-l-l-look at you, b-b-backer.

  18. JimboDeany says:

    Ok, so I’ve not played either of the first two. Where should I start, are the originals playable anymore, any graphic/UI mods that improve things?

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      The “Enhanced Edition” of the first one, which is the only one you can buy digitally, is more or less the definitive edition, with somewhat increased resolution and added (optional) mouselook controls. That’s as good as it’s ever going to get. The game is still brilliant, but the control system is known to be very clumsy and there’s definitely a learning curve; it’s also rather ugly – particularly the enemy sprites, which were always a bit off. It’s very much worth persevering, but I can’t blame anyone who finds the thing too much of a hassle.

      For SS2, there is a texture update pack, which is essential and extremely faithful to the original textures. There is also the “Rebirth” mod which changes enemy models (mostly because the originals were extremely low-poly and look a bit weird), but that one is not quite true to the original vision and I myself prefer the angular vanilla models. Other than that, it’s as playable as it always was; it’s a lot closer to modern gaming conventions than the first one. Also, the RPG skill tree is horribly unbalanced, so if you’re playing for the first time, stick to the simple options – hacking and small arms will safely get you through the entire game.

      • JimboDeany says:

        Ta very much! Will give those a go.

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        gritz says:

        I disagree that any texture pack for any game is “essential”.

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          basilisk says:

          Are you familiar with SHTUP at all? The original textures are very poor and muddy and the updated ones were created with an almost obsessive attention to detail. It looks much better without compromising the original vision at all, and I say that as something of a purist.

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            gritz says:

            I am and I stand by my assertion.

            There’s no wrong way to play a classic game, do whatever you like. But you cross a line when you start telling people new to a game that a purely aesthetic change is “essential”.

  19. mwoody says:

    By far I think the most interesting bit here is in the surveymonkey thing you’re taken to if you click the button to get updates via e-mail. The very short questionnaire has the important bits – name, email, age, have you played SS/SS2, what gaming system (ugh console possibility) – but the last question is a kicker: “On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), please rate your interest in virtual reality gaming”.

    Oculus/Vive System Shock. I’m going to start stocking up on spare pants now.

  20. Gordon Shock says:

    Thank god I sign up for their newsletter on day one of their tease announcement…

  21. ansionnach says:

    It would be interesting if the game featured an AI – one that actually reacts to you and one you’re unsure is on your side or not. Make it possible to work together on some common objectives (like stopping the space station you’re both on from exploding). Play both your and the AI’s fears against one another. Of course, this AI wouldn’t be Shodan so you’d have to work out whether you could trust it or not based on clues scattered about the station (you’d have to pay attention to what’s going on rather than follow arrows). With each game a degree of randomness plus its reactions to your actions will determine what kind of AI you have:
    * A moderate one concerned with survival might prove an ally or an enemy depending on whether you drive it over the edge.
    * A psychopathic one may have caused the space station disaster.
    * A damaged, but essentially benevolent one might still distrust you if you double-cross it.

    There’d be more than three distinct types, though.

  22. Cvnk says:

    TIL about the connection between System Shock and one of my favorite local Boston bands from the late 80’s/early 90’s. Or maybe I did know this at one point but just forgot.

  23. AlienMind says:

    Come back when you have a demo.

  24. geldonyetich says:

    This is excellent news, couldn’t think of a better lot to make it. I feel better about kickstarting Underworld Ascendant knowing it helped them to take on this project as well.

  25. Username1 says:

    I hope we get multiple endings and chance to side with Shodan this time.