Confirming reports circulating earlier this week, developer OtherSide Entertainment has announced that Chinese corporation Tencent has assumed control of System 3 and will be "taking the System Shock franchise forward" from this point on.
System Shock 3 was initially announced in December 2015, and the project, with Warren Spector onboard as creative adviser, seemed to be making good progress as development continued. However, things began to go awry in 2018 when original System Shock 3 publisher Starbreeze found itself in dire financial straits.
OtherSide eventually announced it had parted ways with Starbreeze last February, but pledged to continue on with development, said to be at the halfway mark by that point, regardless. Then, following the release of some promising pre-alpha footage in September, worrying reports began to circulate in February this year that not only was development "critically behind" schedule, but that the System Shock 3 team was "no longer employed" at OtherSide.
Two months went by before the developer was ready to officially respond, at which point marketing and business development VP Walter Somol (who has since left the company to join Epic Games) offered the community rather vague assurances that Otherside was "still here".
All of which brings us to earlier this week, when VGC spotted that ownership of System Shock 3's website had been transferred to Tencent. Last year, Warren Spector suggested a number of publishers had expressed interest in the project, leading many to speculate that OtherSide had finally found a new partner in Tencent, with whom it would complete the highly anticipated, and long-in-the-works game.
1/2 We are happy to announce that Tencent will be taking the #SystemShock franchise forward.— OtherSide Entertainment (@OtherSide_Games) May 20, 2020
2/2 As a smaller Indie studio, it had been challenging for us to carry the project on our own. We believe Tencent's deep capabilities and expertise as a leading game company will bring the franchise to new heights.— OtherSide Entertainment (@OtherSide_Games) May 20, 2020
However, following today's official announcement that Tencent would be "taking the System Shock franchise forward", it's not entirely clear if OtherSide will continue to be involved in the project. In a follow-up tweet, the developer simply wrote, "As a smaller Indie studio, it had been challenging for us to carry the project on our own. We believe Tencent's deep capabilities and expertise as a leading game company will bring the franchise to new heights."
Although Tencent will now shepherd System Shock 3 in its new direction, NightDive Studios - which is currently working on the equally beleaguered System Shock remake - has clarified in a statement to PC Gamer that it remains the owner of the System Shock IP, and that only the "certain rights" licensed by OtherSide to make sequels have been transferred to Tencent.