System Shock 3 hit a rough spot about a year ago when its developer, OtherSide Entertainment, ended up parting ways with publisher Starbreeze. OtherSide proceeded to openly search for a new partner, hoping to avoid the self-publishing route—now, OtherSide has announced that Tencent "will be taking the System Shock franchise forward," but OtherSide's continued involvement with the sequel remains unclear at this time.
The announcement of a deal with Tencent comes after months of silence regarding System Shock 3 from OtherSide, with a report from VGC in February indicating that several members of the development team had quietly left OtherSide or been let go, stalling the project. In April, OtherSide's VP of marketing and business development Walter Somol posted a message affirming that OtherSide still exists and is working on "a new concept" using Unreal Engine 4 mere days before announcing his own departure from the company. System Shock 3's Creative Director Warren Spector has not been publicly active on social media since January.
"As a smaller Indie studio, it had been challenging for us to carry the project on our own," reads a statement from OtherSide. "We believe Tencent's deep capabilities and expertise as a leading game company will bring the franchise to new heights."
Starbreeze, OtherSide's original publishing partner on the project, sold the publishing rights back to the developer after it ran afoul of financial troubles. Months later, Spector said that both he and OtherSide founder Paul Neurath wanted to focus its staff on development and not publishing, hoping to find a new partner to steward System Shock 3.
It remains unclear whether or not OtherSide is moving ahead on System Shock 3 development with Tencent's support. Early last year, OtherSide revealed that System Shock 3 was being developed on Unity, suggesting that the Unreal Engine 4 concept Somol mentioned is either something of a restart on the project or something else entirely. OtherSide released a pre-alpha gameplay teaser of System Shock 3 in September, giving us some sense of how far along the project was on Unity.
Nightdive Studios, the team behind the upcoming remake of the original System Shock, informed PC Gamer that it still retains the rights to the System Shock series. Tencent, China's leading games conglomerate, owns Riot Games and has made significant investments in publishers and developers ranging from Activision Blizzard to PlatinumGames.