There’s bad news ahead for Shodan fans – System Shock 3 might be in trouble after numerous members of the development team have parted ways with OtherSide Entertainment. Rumours suggest that the entire development team might have been laid off. At the very least, several senior devs have confirmed they no longer work at the company.
According to a report on VGC, System Shock 3’s writer and director, lead programmer, and design director are amongst those who’ve departed OtherSide Entertainment. It’s unclear whether they’ve all been laid off or some left willing but signs point to trouble. We’ve contacted OtherSide to find out more and not yet heard back.
Since December, an anonymous poster on the RPG Codex forums who claims to have previously worked on Shock 3 has been posting supposed insider information. They said in January: “I don’t actually know what’s going on, but the team is no longer employed there.”
“The only reason I’m posting is because I saw so much confusion about the state of the company and the project I thought some first person information would be welcome,” they continued.
“If Starbreeze hadn’t gone into crisis I think we would’ve delivered something interesting with some fresh and innovative gameplay, but a much smaller game than what people were expecting and inevitably disappointing for a sequel to such a beloved franchise.”
Sam Luanhkhot, a former OtherSide community manager who split before all this, has linked to that Codex thread — lending credence to the source — in a comment of her own on the OtherSide forums in December.
“I know people are concerned about the state of the studio,” she wrote. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried as well.
“I wish all of our fellow former- and current-OSE employees the best of luck with their endeavours. I imagine the studio felt similarly a few years ago, when [Underworld Ascendant] was floundering for funding. They pulled through, somehow. I hope OSE can pull off the same, while still maintaining the quality and lessons learned.”
In the last five months many of the game’s developers have changed info on their LinkedIn pages revealing they’re no longer at OtherSide – including the game’s director.
Shock 3 has been without a publisher for almost a year, leaving OtherSide to rely on their own resources. The previous publisher, Starbreeze, sold publishing rights back to OtherSide at the beginning of 2019 to recoup some cash while struggling with their own financial problems. Creative director Warren Spector told VGC in May that OtherSide were courting interest but thankfully were “flush enough that we’re funding ourselves and can continue to do that for quite a while.” That while might have ended.
We don’t know what any of this means for System Shock 3, but it certainly doesn’t bode well that there are potentially no lead developers remaining. The last we saw of it was this pre-alpha footage in September:
While we’re waiting to hear back about SS3, the remake of the original System Shock is still in development with Nightdive Studios. Nightdive’s Larry Kuperman told GameWatcher the other week that they “are continuing to make great progress.”
Starbreeze are a bit better now after all their dramas last year, with the court approving their proposal to complete their reconstruction process. Now they’re focusing on Payday, with a third game Payday, with due sometime in 2022 or 2023.
OtherSide have been pretty unlucky with their games over the last couple of years. Underworld Ascendant can’t have helped their financial situation seeing as it was, well, pretty awful according to John: “I’ve no idea what happened here, but to me it looks like Otherside just released an alpha build of a long-from-finished game, and called it done.”