This one was never in doubt, but it’s nonetheless a relief to see that, yes, the world still cares about System Shock and, yes, Kickstarter can still drum up a ton of cash for videogames. Just so long as those videogames are related to videogames we loved when we were kids, I guess. With $970,000 of its requested $900,000 in the bag and 16 days left on the Kickclock, we can expect Nightdive’s System Shock Reboot to handily pass the $1m mark.
Sadly most of the stretch goals are pretty dull unless you’re a Macker, a Linuteer or prefer non-English dialogue, but if it makes it all the way to $1.3m they intend to add new locations and dialogue. Heresy! Delightfully intriguing heresy!
System Shock Reboot sits somewhere between remaster and remake. Levels, enemies and story remain more or less as-was, but there’s a complete graphical and UI overhaul, and dialogue is being rewritten, as well as all manner of edges being smoothed here and there. If Reboot drums up $1.3m though, then we get brand new stuff, including new crew members and audio logs. At $1.4m, the changes become even more ambitious – a promise of “true RPG character levelling”, as well as weapon crafting and upgrading, vending machines and – let’s not judge too soon – ‘minigames’. I.e. System Shock will move closer to its more revered sequel, System Shock 2. I have little doubt that this stuff will be an option rather mandated, mind you.
From $1.5m – $1.9m we get a full orchestral score and new death animations, and then there’s a bunch of currently-hidden stuff over the $2m mark. I’m not convinced it’ll make it that far, if I’m honest, but if the last month in British politics has taught me anything, it’s that everyone should work on the assumption that nothing is predictable anymore.
I like the idea of an expanded System Shock, as for all its landmark status the original is not a hugely complex game – more about mood and detail than mechanics, as such. It’s a huge chance to take though, isn’t it? Origin and Looking Glass fans are devout, and unlikely to take well to expansive change unless it’s done expertly.
Anyway: Reboot is definitely happening now, which is good news. Here’s Nightdive’s thank you note to the 14,000+ backers so far. If you’re not one of them, don’t forget that the Kickstarter put out an alpha demo to demonstrate their intentions for Shock. Here’s my own compare and contrast with the original.