System Shock Reboot's Alpha Demo Is About Building Kickstarter Trust

The remaster has become a "complete remake" and Chris Avellone is pitching in.

News by Mike Williams, .

A planned remaster of System Shock from Nightdive Studios has launched on Kickstarter. The funding drive has a goal of $900,000 and if successful, the game is planned for release on PC and Xbox One. The game was originally intended to be a straightforward remaster of the original title, but has since been expanded into something much larger.

The new game hopes to recapture the feeling of the original System Shock's Citadel, but with improvements and overhauls to the overall game. The distinctive voice of villain SHODAN, Terri Brosius, is returning and she will be recording new dialogue for the game.

"This is a full-fledged reboot of a classic game into something new," said Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick in the press release. "As well as including members of the original team, such as famed concept artist Robb Waters, we have been expanding to include a number of industry veterans with years of triple-A development experience having worked on games such as Fallout, Tomb Raider, Skyrim, and Wasteland."

One of those industry veterans is former Obsidian writer Chris Avellone, who has a long list of credits, including Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Planescape Torment, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Avellone will be working with Kick and project director Jason Fader to craft the updated plot for System Shock.

"Chris has been a long-time fan of the System Shock series, and we're very eager to work with his design expertise to improve Citadel Station," says the campaign page.

As a proof of concept, Nightdive has released a pre-alpha demo of the game. Built in Unity, the alpha demo can be downloaded on Steam, GOG, and Humble Store.

"We want to demonstrate our commitment and passion for System Shock by providing a fun and exciting experience to potential backers," says the campaign page. "This demo represents the look and feel that we want to achieve with the final version we'll deliver to you, our backers. Please be aware, this is a proof of concept; the performance, features, and visuals are subject to change. We hope you enjoy your time aboard Citadel Station! SHODAN eagerly awaits your arrival..."

Kickstarter has taken a bit of a beating lately. Mighty No. 9 didn't turn out as many backers hoped, but at least that game was finished. Godus, a Populous-style game from Peter Molyneux's 22Cans, launched far below fan expectations, eventually resulting in a second title, Godus Wars. Today, Eurogamer reported that development on Godus might have halted completely. In March, the developer behind the successfully Kickstarted Bear Simulator abandoned that project. Fans are understandably reticent to back Kickstarter games these days.

With Kickstarter you have to be willing to see no return on your money. A project may be cancelled or launch far below fan expectations and developer promises. That's not to say there aren't Kickstarter games with successful launches: Wasteland 2, Shadowrun, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Pillars of Eternity, and Elite: Dangerous count among their number. Even the Castlevania spiritual successor, Bloodstained, is looking pretty good. But the system is not without its risks and failures.

Nightdive is attempting to alleviate backer fears with this demo. It's about building trust. "If our beginning is this enjoyable, imagine what we can do with more money!" the demo says. And Nightdive has further plans. Stretch goals include Mac and Linux versions, French, Italian, German, and Spanish language support, more locations, and a full orchestral score. As of this writing, the funding drive is at $217,144, making a solid start to the campaign.

And if it doesn't work out, there's still more System Shock coming our way. Otherside Entertainment is busy working on System Shock 3, with a team led by Warren Spector.

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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #1 Monkey-Tamer 2 years ago
    I'm glad to see this happening. A lot of old classics could use some retooling with modern hardware. Unfortunately I don't trust anything on kickstarter, and will wait until a proper release is done on Steam.
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