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Fresh cyber-hell awaits in new System Shock remake vid

System Shock

Back in March, we reported that the successfully-crowdfunded System Shock remake was rebooting development with a new central aesthetic. We’re starting to see that decision bear fruit, as the latest update for Kickstarter backers features a good chunk of new footage showing off the refreshed visuals, some new concept art, and a peek at some of the improvements they’re bringing to combat.

After the jump: A generously-portioned developer vlog video, giving us a broad peek at how development on the game is progressing, adorably presented in official Citadel Station audio-log format.

The biggest change from the last time we saw System Shock in action is a broad tonal shift towards more modern sci-fi. While parts of Citadel Station still look vaguely familiar, it no longer feels like they’re adding greebles to the original blocky environments in order to dress them up as convincingly human-inhabited environments. The new medical deck lobby shown in the video looks just close enough to a real-life hospital to make the blood-splattered children’s play area especially chilling.

The concepts for the new and revised cyborg enemies look significantly more intimidating than the original designs too. Rather than just being TriOptimum grunts with some robot bits slapped on, they look more like the result of Shodan’s casual disregard for humanity, repurposing whatever pieces of flesh she has seen fit to preserve while replacing the rest with pieces of salvaged robotics still bearing the company branding, giving them a vaguely improvised look. I can’t wait to see what they’ve done with Edward Diego’s design.

We also get a look at some interesting test-room footage demonstrating the new geometry-shattering technology and its applications on flash-frozen mutants. They’re also working on a gore system allowing enemies to be picked apart limb from limb. Possibly a little much, but my brain tingles pleasantly with the potential for picking apart cybernetic enemies one dangerous component at a time.

Adding all that up, I’m suddenly reminded of Dead Space, which seems strangely appropriate considering that Visceral’s sci-fi horror trilogy began life as a spiritual successor to System Shock, before diverging from the design after Resident Evil 4 left its mark on gaming. After all these years, it’s funny to see that we’re still closely orbiting the same thematic touchstones, iterating, tuning and refining.

The current plan over at Nightdive Studios is to complete a Vertical Slice of development – a single, fully-featured segment of game – and then build outwards from there. The originally planned December release for System Shock’s remake is now well out of reach, but you can keep up with development via the updates panel on the Kickstarter project page, which is fully open to the non-backing public.

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Dominic Tarason

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