The original pitch document for System Shock 2 revealed that the game was once known as Junction Point (a name later used by another Looking Glass alumni, Warren Spector, for his own development studio).

Read the pitch: "Part of Shock's unique appeal is the fact that it brought the vibe of the Underworld dungeon crawl into a science fiction setting. Primarily, Shock was at heart a real role-playing game, not an action shooter.

"However, certain members of the press and the gaming public mistook it for a Doom clone, somewhat limiting the product's commercial success.

"With Junction Point, we are clearly setting out to make a role-playing game, not only embracing the sense of role-playing that Shock provided, but expanding on it."

art
A piece of System Shock 2 concept art.

Key topics covering the game's design included catchy statements like, "Junction Point is paced like an RPG, not a Quake deathmatch," and, "The player character grows, not just their gun collection."

"Most PC shooters," the pitch went on to explain, "are essentially games of attrition. Players can take dozens of rounds of shotgun shells, grenades, and BFG fire before they even start feeling woozy.

"The gunplay in Shock was a much more decisive affair; it was crucial to get the drop on your foe and fire on him before he knew you were there. Junction Point will adhere to this style of gunplay."

The tone of the game was described as "a moody cross between System Shock and Apocalypse Now".

"Junction Point tells a dark tale set in a very dark place," proclaimed the pitch. "Shock provided players with a unique tension and suspense much more akin to Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil than Doom.

"Junction Point also is set in a suspenseful futuristic horror setting and introduces a number of themes and game mechanics that support this vibe. The storyline is a moody cross between System Shock and Apocalypse Now."

It's a short pitch all-in-all.

Also included with the GOG.com System Shock 2 purchase is a radio interview with Ken Levine from 1999. The radio hosts are very excited about the game and actually know a bit about their topic, which I found surprising. They're really pumped about co-op in System Shock 2.

And audio, which prompted this crucial question: "Is the engine going to support environmental audio extensions by any chance?"

"We're supporting EAX," confirmed Ken Levine.

"You set the four speakers up, it sounds amazing. It's just so creepy. I was playing it the other night; I've got this set-up here and I just got so creeped out I had to stop playing it!"

"Ha ha ha ha ha I love that, man!" blurted one of the radio hosts. "I love pushing everything off my desk in fear, ha ha, when I'm playing games, ha ha ha ha ha ha!"

System Shock 2 is available now on GOG.com for 10 bucks.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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