Warren Spector has talked a bit about the story in System Shock 3, a game in development at a new studio he's in charge of, OtherSide Austin. More on that later.
He told Polygon that System Shock 3 will explore why Shodan, the evil artificial intelligence from the other two games, wanted/wants to destroy humanity - what motivates her/it. Polygon also has a couple of concept pictures from the project.
"She'll be at the centre of the game," Spector said, "but I also want to put her through some changes. [It's] going to be interesting and different from what people expect. I expect it will infuriate some people but definitely get people talking."
Obviously, then, Shodan returns - with original voice actor Terri Brosius no less - and does so alongside five other characters from the original System Shock games. They are Rebecca Sutton, Tommy Suarez, Rebecca Lansing, and the hacker from SS1 and the soldier from SS2.
"We are going to be picking up all of the loose threads of System Shock 2," said Spector. "There are a lot of questions that went unanswered in those first two games and we have an obligation to fans to fill in the blanks."
System Shock 3 takes place in the same futuristic year of 2114 as System Shock 2, and will be as grounded in realism and real research as possible - research that has come on a long way since the '90s and the original System Shock games. There will be levels set in real locations and levels in virtual worlds.
But whether the style of System Shock 3 will be closer to SS1 or SS2, Spector wouldn't say. "The second game was a much more traditional role-playing game than the first one," he said. "It's a mental struggle for me about which direction I want to go in. I will admit that."
Much of Spector's time has been spent, so far, on fitting out an OtherSide Austin team. OtherSide has another studio in Boston that's making Underworld Ascendant for PC, a crowdfunded successor to Ultima Underworld. Spector's hire and mandate was announced in December.
The team Spector has put together have all worked with him before, on either the original Deus Ex games or his more recent Disney's Epic Mickey foray. In other words, they've all got years and years of experience. Doesn't sound like a big team, though.
No platforms are mentioned for System Shock 3 nor any timelines for a likely release. I expect it's a long way off and could appear on Kickstarter at some point.
There's a separate System Shock reboot in development at Night Dive Studios, by the way, which looks rather fetching.