System Shock reboot launches Kickstarter campaign, offers free demo

UPDATE: It's a success with 17 days to spare.  

UPDATE 11TH JULY: It's done it, the System Shock remake has raised the $900,000 it was after on Kickstarter - with 17 days to spare.

In a "Thank You!" update post, developer Nightdive expressed its gratitude to all the people who pledged.

"There's no possible way I could convey how grateful the Nightdive team is to the 14,000+ backers who put their trust in us - we're having a lot of fun remaking System Shock and we owe it all to you!" wrote CEO Stephen Kick. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!"

ORIGINAL STORY 28TH JUNE: The System Shock remake - which is now being billed as a full fledged "reboot" - has now launched a Kickstarter campaign, complete with a free pre-alpha demo.

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"We want to demonstrate our commitment and passion for System Shock by providing a fun and exciting experience to potential backers," developer Nightdive Studios stated. "This demo represents the look and feel that we want to achieve with the final version we'll deliver to you, our backers. Please be aware, this is a proof of concept; the PERFORMANCE, FEATURES, and VISUALS are subject to change. We hope you enjoy your time aboard Citadel Station! SHODAN eagerly awaits your arrival..."

While this is Nightdive's first time taking on full development duties (it previously only ported lost classics like Turok, Strife, The 7th Guest, and System Shock 2), the Vancouver, WA-based studio significantly staffed up the place with an impressive pedigree of industry veterans.

To wit, legendary RPG designer Chris Avellone (Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2) is on board, as is the original System Shock concept artist Robb Waters (who also worked on BioShock and Thief). Beyond that, Fallout: New Vegas project director and senior producer Jason Fader is serving a leading role.

"This is a full-fledged reboot of a classic game into something new" said Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick. "As well as including members of the original team, such as famed concept artist Robb Waters, we have been expanding to include a number of industry veterans with years of AAA development experience having worked on games such as Fallout, Tomb Raider, Skyrim and Wasteland."

For the uninitiated, System Shock was a 1994 horror-tinged stealth action-RPG about waking up on a space station wherein an insane AI has wreaked havoc. Cyborgs and mutated crew members want to kill you, so you've got to use your wits to survive this sci-fi take on a haunted house tale.

This remake is developed in Unity and brings about vastly improved graphics and music with mechanics, enemy AI, puzzles and UI reimagined for a modern audience.

Should the developer vastly exceed its $900k Kickstarter goal (and based on how things are going so far, it almost definitely will), Nightdive has a whole host of additional features it would like to add. If it raises $1.7m, the developer would like to add a limb dismemberment system, additional puzzles and weapon settings, a more complex crafting system, further character customisation, and more difficulty modes. VR support is also being explored.

The System Shock reboot is currently in development for PC, Mac and Xbox One, though additional platforms may be announced in the future.

You can reserve a copy of the new System Shock on Steam, GOG, or Xbox One for $30 (or your local equivalent). Nightdive is shooting for a December 2017 release. This could slip of course, but the Nightdive noted that it's already 25 per cent of the way through development, so it has a better estimate than a lot of developers that predict their launch window years in advance.

After less than two hours the System Shock reboot has already raised $122,160 towards its $900k goal. It has until 28th July to make the rest.

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Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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