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Nightdive Clarify "RPG Stuff" In System Shock Remake

Nightdive’s System Shock [official site] remake will be coming to Mac and Linux, with the project having passed the $1.1m mark on Kickstarter and hitting the relevant stretch goal. In announcing the additional platforms, the developers have also taken the opportunity to alter one of their other stretch goals. The $1.4m target had initially read “RPG elements” and Nightdive have acknowledged that “it was vague and misleading”. Now, they’ll be adding more maps if they reach $1.4m and those RPG elements will be included whatever the final figure. Here’s what that means.

I’m very pleased to see recognition that the original stretch goal was not only vague but “pretty dangerous”. Having core systems be a possibility rather than a fundamental part of the development process seems like a very risky route to take. Everything from the level design to the AI and weapon balancing should be informed by any RPG elements so leaving them uncertain and vague seemed like a way to hold back or disrupt development.

With that said, here’s what the RPG elements involve:

Stats are boring – Instead of letting the player feel stronger with stat boosts and level identification, we’re more in favor of ability and skill depth. As the player progresses, they will get more abilities/weapons, which will take skill to master (player skill, not skill points)

Things should make sense – We want to have vending machines, but they’re mainly for food/drinks that the player can get to help heal themselves or provide a slight boost to their abilities. You won’t hack a vending machine to get a gun, since why would a vending machine on a space station have a gun?

Upgrades are good in moderation – Throughout the game, the player will find upgrades to their abilities and find better weapons. We’re not going to get crazy with this one since the point of the game is to have fun, and not noodle around in your inventory. If something is tedious, don’t expect us to do it.

Multiple ways to solve a problem – We’re going to assume our players are smart and want to find creative solutions to problems/enemies. We’ll provide the tools/weapons/abilities, and the player will decide how they want to solve the problem given their playstyle.

Nightdive say that everything is in the early stages, so these shouldn’t be taken as definite or specific feature-lists. They’re plans rather than promises. They’re all answers to the most important question a developer can ask of themselves though:

At the end of the day, we always ask ourselves “What would Looking Glass do?” and strive to carry on their tradition of innovation and quality while being as faithful as we can be to the original game.

With the Linux and Mac versions confirmed, a demo for OSX will be coming soon as well. There’s no release date but they’re aiming for next week. You can play the pre-alpha demo for Windows and Linux by following the links on the Kickstarter page.

And that $1.4 stretch goal will now focus on the following:

It’s to add content in the form of more maps such as Groves, floors of Citadel Station, and Cyberspace content. This will make it better for us to properly execute on our core vision of the game, while still being able to offer some more awesome content if we hit the stretch goal.

There are six days left on the Kickstarter clock.

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Adam Smith

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