After a length 17-year hiatus, the System Shock franchise may finally return with a complete remake of the original, but only if fans are willing.
Night Dive Studios announced earlier this year that System Shock 3 was finally in development 17 years after the release of System Shock 2. This new game would not be the long-awaited third chapter of the franchise, but a complete remake of the original, featuring new gameplay mechanics and a completely redesigned depiction of Citadel Station. Simply titled “System Shock”, the Kickstarter campaign for the remake will go live next Tuesday at 12pm/2pm PT/CST.
Night Dive Studios shed some light on reward tiers via Polygon, however their corresponding prices have not been revealed. Depending on the reward tier, Kickstarter contributors may receive a physical copy of System Shock, a collectible miniature and physical game manual, or a boxed Collector’s Edition of the game at launch. While it’s likely to be one of the most expensive contributor tiers, backers may also receive a System Shock-branded Razer Blade pictured below.
The ultimate reward for fans unwilling to wait until System Shock‘s potential 2017 release, a playable Alpha demo will release alongside the Kickstarter campaign through Steam, Humble Bundle and GOG; though the final product is expected to see a multiplatform release, the early Alpha demo will only be available to Windows users.
A spiritual precursor to the modern BioShock franchise, System Shock first graced PCs back in 1994 from developers Looking Glass and Night Dive Studios. Players assumed the role of a nameless hacker sent to the Citadel Station space station, where the malevolent “SHODAN” AI has full control of the station’s digital architecture. The hacker is tasked with preventing SHODAN from essentially becoming a god-figure; not only has “she” taken over all Citadel Station systems, security and sentry robots, but SHODAN also gained control over the crew through cybernetics and a mutagenic virus. Though she tried to escape into Earth’s computer networks, SHODAN’s final actions were thwarted when the hacker eliminated her within the Citadel Station mainframe.
System Shock returned with a sequel two years later under developers Looking Glass Studios and Irrational Games. 42 years after the events of System Shock, System Shock 2 thrusts players into 2114 with a cryogenically frozen soldier rudely awakened to havoc inside the damaged Von Braun ship. Through his illegally obtained cybernetic parts, the soldier is contacted and guided through the depths of the Von Braun by fellow survivor Dr. Janice Polito. After restarting the Von Braun’s engines and battling through the infected alien commune “The Many”, the soldier encounters the deceased Dr. Polito, only to discover SHODAN had been pulling the strings since his awakening. According to SHODAN, the original hacker from System Shock ejected her bio-engineering experiments into space, along with a fragment of her program; with SHODAN in forced-hibernation, her experiments evolved beyond her control, becoming The Many. The player is forced into a reluctant partnership with SHODAN, as the two must regain control of the Von Braun’s AI “XERXES”, and enter and destroy the organic core of The Many.
The System Shock trademarked was renewed by publisher Electronic Arts in 2006, however a new title never came, despite System Shock 2‘s stinger teasing a third game. Deus Ex, Dead Space and BioShock are all considered to be spiritual successors to the System Shock games, with the franchises each borrowing elements of world-driven story, surreal horror and transhumanism.
The System Shock Kickstarter campaign will go live on 6/28. If funded, the title is expected to release for PC in 2017, with other platforms to follow if Stretch Goals are met.