Troubled publisher Starbreeze won't be associated with the upcoming System Shock 3 anymore, as they've sold the rights to the game back to developers OtherSide Entertainment. The publisher have announced that "Starbreeze fully expects to be reimbursed for costs the company has had in connection with the development of the game". Both companies have had their share of trouble recently, with Starbreeze filing for administration and being investigated for insider trading. OtherSide are busy putting out the fires caused by the disastrous launch of Underworld Ascendant.
While one potential silver lining to this news is that the game is no longer tied to a publisher possibly facing bankruptcy, I can't imagine that this was a cheap move for OtherSide either. Starbreeze had apparently invested $12 million into System Shock 3's development, and they're talking about being "fully reimbursed". While I'd like to stay optimistic, I can't help but feel that Shodan's future might be in peril once more. This is all completely unrelated to Night Dive's remake of the original System Shock, which has been rebooted and de-rebooted despite its meagre budget.
Starbreeze's acting CEO Mikael Nermark at least sounds vaguely positive about the license changing hands, saying “I believe this is the best solution for us, although it is sad that we cannot complete the project with OtherSide. System Shock 3 is a fantastic title developed in cooperation with the industry legend Warren Spector and I am looking forward to seeing the game released”. I do wonder what the publisher's next move is, especially as they still hold publishing rights for Double Fine's upcoming and rather nice-looking Psychonauts 2.
With Starbreeze apparently washing their hands of System Shock 3 entirely, I'm hoping that OtherSide can either find another publisher and investor, or otherwise finish the production of the game themselves. Fortunately the System Shock 3 team is separate from the Underworld Ascendant crew, according to an OtherSide community manager. Still, it's hard not to worry given that all we've seen of System Shock 3 so far is some early concept art (thanks, IGN), and the last development blog post was a brief update in May 2017. Fingers crossed that this works out somehow.