It's one of gaming's most terrifying introductions. You awake in a cryotube on the medical deck of the spaceship Von Braun. Illegal cybernetics have been implanted into your brain, and your memory has been wiped like a hard-drive. You're contacted by Dr. Janice Polito, who summarises the situation. Nearly everyone on the ship is either dead, or infected with a strange organism that mutates them and turns them hostile. There's an explosion, and Polito tells you to get out of cryobay, because soon there'll be another explosion, and then everything in the area will be sucked into space.
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.
Classic sci-fi horror adventure System Shock is getting a reboot by Nightdive Studios. Though it's currently in its embryonic pre-alpha phase and still raising money on Kickstarter, there's a demo of the remake available so we decided to give it a spin and see how it compares to the Enhanced Edition of the original adventure (which was also spruced up by Nightdive Studios).
Remaking a classic video game is an intimidating prospect. Stick too close to the original and you run the risk of releasing an archaic project that maybe doesn't hold up as well in modern times as it did in its day (see Doom 3: BFG Edition). Change too much, however, and purists will complain that the feel or tone is too far afield from what they remember (see Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes). Heck, even the best remakes still fall shy of their source material in at least some minor way. Wind Waker HD is a more vibrant spectacle than its 2003 GameCube forbear, but its new bloom lighting occasionally robs Link of some of his charm. Likewise, Resident Evil's remake (and ReRemake) are easy on the eyes, but the "better" voice acting is bad in a generic, boring way, whereas it used to be indescribably bad in a hilarious way.
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!!!"
The GOG.com summer sale has begun and for the first 48 hours you can get System Shock 2 completely free.
Warren Spector is joining Boston-based developer OtherSide Entertainment to work on as a director on successors to two of his most beloved titles: System Shock and Ultima Underworld.
2007's BioShock blew everyone away with its momentous second-act twist. The scene in which you finally encounter Andrew Ryan, your body buzzing with adrenaline after the rigmarole you've gone through to find this megalomaniac, only to be delivered the debilitating narrative gut-punch that you've been guided like a puppet the entire time, is often considered one of gaming's greatest feats of storytelling. In fact, so successful is this scene that it ends up hurting the remainder of the game. The flurry of half-baked ideas that follow - your plasmids don't work, you're sort of a Big Daddy - fail to rebuild the momentum which leads up to that clarifying moment.
UPDATE 14th DECEMBER: The countdown has ended and OtherSide has revealed the name System Shock 3 with a little bit of art and an audio clip featuring the voice of, presumably, AI villain SHODAN. There aren't many clues to go by but there is mention of virtual reality in a survey you're prompted to fill out if you want to receive updates about the game. The survey asks you to rate your interest in VR gaming on a scale of one to 10. There are only six questions so its inclusion does heavily hint at System Shock 3 involving VR, which is... interesting.
Classic sci-fi horror FPS System Shock is getting a remake by Night Dive Studios, the company responsible for releasing the Enhanced Edition of Looking Glass Studios' original 1994 game earlier this year on GOG and Steam. It also re-released System Shock 2 a couple of years back.
The GOG Big Fall Sale - autumn sale - has begun, and again offers free games at certain spending thresholds. At £3.29 you get the revered System Shock 2; at £9.79 the solid Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena; and at £19.49 Banished (which presumably has had a lot of work done since we looked at it).
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).
Scream your face off it's System Shock 2 back from the dead and available on Good Old Games.