Look At You, Backer: System Shock Remake Kickstarted

Just when you thought there was one retro-remake that was simply gonna get itself made rather than sing for its supper first, System Shock Remastered [official site] has dropped an upside-down hat on the ground and is fixing passers-by with an anxious smile. NightDive Studio’s remastering of SHODAN’s first adventure is happening in parallel with OtherSide Entertainment’s Warren Spector-assisted System Shock 3, but going on the impressive alpha footage earlier this year is likely to happen first. Presuming the newly-announced Kickstarter works out, anyway.

This is not to be confused with System Shock Enhanced, which added some more graphical options and much-needed full mouse controls to the original spaceship-bound horror FPS: instead it’s a ground-up remake of one of the grandaddies of immersive sims. Here’s the footage, in case you missed it:

NightDive, who are working with a bunch of people from the original Looking Glass team, promise that they will be “true to the classic experience”, with a focus on graphical and UI modernity. However, seems they need a bit more cash to do so, having announced on Facebook over the weekend that there’ll be a Kickstarter next month. Target announce, pledge rewards unknown, exact purpose unknown, but we do have a date, which is the 29th of June.

There’s also a teaser vid on Facebook, but ol’Zucks doesn’t let other websites embed videos hosted there, as he wants the whole wide web to live inside his blue border. The video’s just a logo anyway, though.

Unless it asks for an astronomical sum, I’m pretty confident this one will work out. But will they offer SHODAN bobbleheads and plushies for higher-end backers? A perfect, immortal licensing opportunity.

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29 Comments

  1. Kefren says:

    I’ve never used Kickstarter. Too many excellent games already exist, unplayed, to get my interest. But this … I think I’ll make an exception.

    I used to fantasize about being rich enough to buy the rights to System Shock (back when no-one knew who had them), and hire an expert team to rebuild System Shock 1 and 2 in a new engine, then create System Shock 3 in it too. Release them all in one package.

    And now some of that work is being done for me, how can I not support it when it saves me having to go to all the trouble of becoming a millionaire?

    • Gordon Shock says:

      Completely Ditto here.

      As a young filmmaker I wouldn’t mind getting the rights (or the job) to adapt the games into movies/tv series.

      • Kefren says:

        That would be interesting. I’m all for adaptations, such as Free Radical link to shamusyoung.com
        (I once made a printed and bound copy of that along with the System Shock manual and all the logs from the game and had vague plans of writing my own version too).

  2. Amake says:

    I just want to congratulate you on that headline. Funniest thing I’ve read all day.

  3. dethtoll says:

    Yeah count me in for the “well shit I have to donate to a kickstarter now” crowd.

    Also A+ headline.

    • banana says:

      Same here!
      Although I slightly burned my fingers with the notorious Double Fine Kickstarter debut, I simply cannot ignore how goddamn hyped I am about all the brilliant System Shock news in 2016… I just need to support them!

      A new dawning of Cyberpunk will be upon us, mark my words!

  4. yhancik says:

    I think I had somehow missed the alpha footage when it was first posted! I love how they seemed to try to update the graphics, but sticked to the (dated and at times ridiculous) aesthetic of the 1994 version. I really hope they’ll keep it that way <3

  5. Darth Gangrel says:

    This might sound sacrilegious, but going on what other people have said about System Shock’s terrible interface and whatnot, I think I would like to play this remake instead of the original game.

    I once played a demo of System Shock 2 and it felt quite good, so now I have it on Steam and GoG (only gonna play the GoG version, the Steam one came from a bundle).

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      I don’t think that’s sacrilegious, that’s pretty much the whole point. That’s why they call it a “remaster” rather than a “remake”, after all.

      • Premium User Badge

        Thirith says:

        This isn’t meant as criticism, but I’m often puzzled by the way people use terms such as “remaster”, “remake” and “reboot” with respect to games as if they had commonly agreed meanings. Perhaps they do, but I’ve often found them rather nebulous. “Remaster” makes most sense to me when talking about something like the Uncharted Collection on PS4 or the Metal Gear Solid Collection on PS3, upping the resolution and tweaking controls and the like. Looking at the System Shock alpha footage, the game doesn’t just tidy things up, at least to my eyes. Perhaps I’m influenced too much by what “remaster” means for films and music, but to my mind what this game purports to do goes beyond a remaster.

        • Premium User Badge

          basilisk says:

          It’s definitely beyond the standard meaning of “remaster”, but the released footage seems to be a strong statement that they intend to keep most aspects of the game intact – the most obvious case being the very angular level design, which seems to be a 1:1 copy. A “remake” would probably touch up the environment with a lot more added objects and decorative pipes and whatnot, which this seems to be deliberately not doing.

          It’s a fuzzy area, though, that’s for sure.

          • Wisq says:

            Yeah, I dunno, “remaster” to me makes me think “the exact same game” (and probably in the same engine) “but upgraded to look good on modern systems” (e.g. upgraded textures, higher resolution, maybe a revamped UI).

            This definitely does feel more like a remake, but just with a strong level of faithfulness to the original’s design. I feel like going from 2D (sprites) to 3D alone is enough to break the “remaster” aspect.

            But regardless, great that this is happening. Even if I’m probably too much of a horror game pansy to play the original ever again, despite loving it.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          Remaster and remake are split by subtle grades of meaning that I don’t fully grasp, but reboot is pretty distinct.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          “remaster”, “remake” and “reboot” with respect to games as if they had commonly agreed meanings.”

          Allow me, as it’s easier to tell the differences with movies/TV which is where the nomenclature comes from, and the same applies.

          remaster = the original, with a technological coat of paint. Maybe ‘cutting room floor’ stuff is added, but otherwise it should play/watch exactly as the original. (eg. Red Dwarf remastered, Star Wars trilogy remastered).

          remake = the original concept/design remade completely from scratch with the benefit of hindsight/newer tech. No longer bound by the original vision. (eg. Total Recall 2012, Robocop 2014).

          Reboot = A complete do-over of the concept and franchise, throwing away what came before. (eg The Amazing Spiderman, Batman Begins).

          If you see them being used any other way, then it’s being used incorrectly and probably just some marketing exec mouthing off trying to sound cool.

          • PancakeWizard says:

            In case it’s not clear, a remake and a reboot are distinct because the former refers to a single piece of work, while the latter concerns an entire IP/franchise.

          • manny says:

            In that case what we normally refer as a remaster in music is in fact a rerelease.
            A remaster in music implies a new master of the record is being made, which can only be justified if significant technical changes are made. So we are talking about perhaps the same singers performing again under newly recorded but otherwise identical instruments/backing track.

            It’s similiar to a directors cut. Whereby the film is not only technically enhanced but new scenes are added to significantly add to the film.

            Black Mesa for example should be seen as a remaster. Totally different but only in a ton of little superficial ways, to enhance the experience. And this system shock game is also a remaster.

  6. Lookatyouhacker says:

    Registered to say: awesome headline. Perfect.

  7. lupinewolf says:

    That headline deserves an award

  8. cannonballsimp says:

    That headline though

  9. Spacewalk says:

    Panting and sweating as you look over my stretch goals.

  10. Dudeist says:

    From few days I’m playing System Shock Enhanced first time. I played SS2 few times before but never started SS1 before known problems with non Enhanced version. I’m looking more for immersion and overall gameplay than visuals, but this remake looks very promising and I will play it for sure in future.

  11. cunningmunki says:

    Alec, did you beg or bribe NightDive to do a Kickstarter just for that headline? I’d like to think so.

  12. Memnarch1113 says:

    Looks good! I own the game on gog, but it’s one of the old games (like half life 2) that make me super nauseous when I play. I haven’t figured out what the deal with that is, since I never have problems with other shooters or anything else in my library. Any ideas what might be causing this? Anyway, hopefully This’ll be a way for me to finally play the classic.

    • theblazeuk says:

      Refresh rate decoupled from your monitor settings?
      This is some vague memory of a similar problem someone once had so IDK at all. But SS2 and HL2 are great, great games. SS2 has a lot of flaws in providing the illusion of choice when some options are just broken but is a wonderful game if you immerse yourself in the shattered corridors of the Von Braun.

      I would kill for SS2 to be remade with Alien Isolation level graphics.

    • yhancik says:

      System Shock 1 was the first FPS I played and of I have terrible memories of nausea! (which was somehow fitting the mood of the game, though :D).

      I tend to feel more easily sick with narrow corridors than open environments, so maybe that’s one possible explanation.

    • fearandloathing says:

      Wait, is HL2 old?It certainly doesn’t look like it, I’d go as far as saying that it (and source engine, naturally) was the last great break or leap in terms of graphics&physics, and it worked on everything man, I played that on geforce 2, how amazed I was!

      On a second reading I realized the issue was not about graphical fidelity, but still wanted to post some praises for hl2. Blah to those crysis and likes, that only feast the eyes of 1% of the gamers, viva la low-end gaming.

  13. Wisq says:

    I’m curious what the risk factor for this Kickstarter would be. On the one hand, a lot of the important stuff like level design and voice acting is all done already, and might just need some adjusting, and the engine doesn’t need to be anything crazy to handle it.

    On the other hand, it looks basically like a remake from scratch on what would definitely have to be a new game engine, so there’s plenty of development that’ll need doing to tie everything together correctly, and testing to make sure it works. Plus there’s so much stuff to 3D model, and we don’t know yet whether they intend to change the UI at all.

    I guess that puts it all at “medium risk”. But, let’s be honest, it’s not like I would never not back this, so.

  14. kosch says:

    A perfect, immortal machine does not need your filthy money insects!