Nightdive Studios has outlined its plans for the future of its beleaguered System Shock remake, which is now back in development following a brief hiatus earlier in the year.
Prior to launching on Kickstarter in 2016, Nightdive's System Shock project was touted as remaster of the seminal sci-fi horror. Plans grew increasingly ambitious, however, and the project was already being referred to as a "remake" by the time the Kickstarter rolled around. That then ballooned into a "reinterpretation" of the game as development on the successfully funded project continued.
In its latest Kickstarter update, Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick revealed that after "spending more and more time with the community", the studio has now "gone back to the original vision we shared with you at the start of our Kickstarter campaign".
"The vast majority of you agree that we are doing the right thing," the update continued, "and that what you want is a high quality game that adheres closely to the vision of the original System Shock rather than the reinterpretation that we were previously working toward".
To that end, Nightdive has made some "tough decisions which included saying goodbye to some of the developers that you've come to know through past updates. What we're left with is a concentrated team that consists of the original developers who worked on the Unity demo".
It's this well-regarded demo, released as part of the original Kickstarter campaign, that will inform the revised direction of the project. However, Nightdive notes that System Shock will continue to be developed using the Unreal Engine (the game was delayed to switch engines from Unity early last year) to ensure "more reliable performance and higher fidelity visuals".
Despite Nightdive's change in direction, the studio has assured backers that it won't be necessary to begin development from scratch. "We have been able to re-use the majority of work we've done over the past year and we're making significant progress in a very short amount of time", it said. The team anticipates that its highest tier backers will be able to test the game - fully playable "from start to finish", minus the majority of art - from September.
As part of its latest update, Nightdive's has shared new screens (which you can see above) and music from its revitalised project. It also notes that it will be starting a regular series of streams on Twitch in order to "remain transparent throughout development". A complete schedule of broadcasts for April can be found toward the end of the update.
Speaking about the project in March, Nightdive's business development director Larry Kuperman said that the studio now expected its System Shock remake to release in "Q1 of 2020", almost two years after the game's originally anticipated launch.