September 25, 2020

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Game preview: System Shock 2020

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One of the most influential games of all time is System Shock from 1994. Developed by LookingGlass Technologies it had big names such as Warren Spector attached. Unlike other first-person 3D games it focused more on RPG elements and complex storyline. A mixture that has become a staple of nearly all non-twitch shooters. That said, System Shock is not an easy game. Players will have to be mindful of ammunition, health and collect emails and discs to advance the plot. In fact, this is not unlike Deus Ex and BioShock though I think the latter two are easier to play.

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Upgrade after 25 years

After more than 25 years the graphics are in a bad need for an update. The game is currently being reworked by Night Dive Studios. They have made a number of re-releases for older games, including System Shock 2 in 2012. In 2015 they did the same with the original System Shock ensuring it can run on modern platforms at acceptable screen resolutions. This version of System Shock we are discussing today goes beyond and it is in fact of a remaster. Now the it runs on the Unreal Engine 4 and it features updated in-game assets.

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That said, this remaster had its development briefly halted in 2018 when scope creep threatened to turn it into a full-blown remake. Despite a successful Kickstarter program that would be beyond the small studios means. And so it is that a few days ago over 87 minutes of the game was live-streamed on Twitch. Understand this is pre-alpha demo. That means there is a long way to go before all the features and assets are completed. In fact, despite an official release date for 2020 it is well possible this title will slip into next year.

System Shock 3

For those who cannot get enough of System Shock will happy to know that Night Dive Studios issued a license to OtherSide Entertainment to develop System Shock 3. OtherSide was founded by Paul Neurath who also founded Night Dive Studios and Looking Glass Technologies. However, that sequel has had its fair share of development problems, though I hope will get an update some time this year.

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