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System Shock 3 first trailer: she's back (and so's he)

SHODAN, sho'nuff

Devil's advocate: I'd have been even more excited about Otherside's System Shock 3 if it didn't have revered murder-computer SHODAN in it. 'Shock, traditionally, has been about pushing things forwards, not looking to the past, and what stronger statement could there be than to ditch its godhood-seeking figurehead? Make the big bad a disgruntled janitor named Susan instead, maybe.

But I won't pretend that I didn't experience a multitude of teenage kicks when I heard the returned voice of original SHODAN actor Terri Brosius, in this first teaser trailer for the belated third System Shock.

This teaser came as part of Unity's trumpet-blowing about their shiny new features in last night's GDC keynote, as demonstrated by Wozza Specs hisself. I'll share his Shock jabber further down the post, but let's start with the trailer itself.

This is a "pre-alpha state", apparently, and obviously it's very carefully curated micro-scenes on top of that, so there's only so much we can interpret about the final game from it.

Cover image for YouTube video

Thar she blows. Does it look like System Shock 2? I mean, I guess so: darker, moodier, but Shock 2 was never the most visually distinctive game in the first place. It was the original Shock that had a more defined aesthetic, with its per-zone colour palettes and the simple shapes and textures of the era.

That's certainly a high-end-lookin' Shock 3, though, showing off as it does some of the next major Unity update's new wizardry (they're also planning on ray-tracing support, as Katharine reported yesterday).

System Shock 3 creative director Warren Spector - he of the original Shock, Deus Ex, Ultima Underworld and a bit of Thief - presented the trailer at GDC last night - his bit starts at around 1hr 28m into the video below.

Always a treat to hear Wozza say "immersive simulations".

If you can't or won't watch the video, I've transcribed the few details he gave away for you:

"We want players to feel alone in a strange and dangerous place, a station on the outskirts of our solar system. It's a world which was once alive with activity but is now controlled by a rogue AI named SHODAN. Living on this station, or unliving on this station, are only robots, mutants and the dead.

"We've got a bunch of gameplay systems in mind that we're absolutely not going to talk about today. But from a visual standpoint, we needed a setting that was noir-like, dominated by deep, dark, problematic, disturbing shadows, and punctuated by areas of intense, focused light."

No word of a release date yet, so the jury's still out on whether we'll see this or Night Dive's sporadically-troubled remake of the original System Shock first.

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Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about video games.