Things seemed to be going well for the Nightdive Studios‘ System Shock remake. It was only in November that the team released an update video showing off the sleek new environments, as well as their plans for the future. However, the latest update is not a happy one, as the studio has announced that the game is being put on hiatus.
Nightdive’s founder and CEO Stephen Kick explained on the game’s Kickstarter page that development had lost focus and had “moved from a remaster to a completely new game.” He also announced that work on the game had ceased while the development team regroup and reassess the path they want the game to take.
After the team made the game engine switch from Unity to Unreal, Kick states that they began to stray from the “core concepts” of the original game:
“As our concept grew and as our team changed, so did the scope of what we were doing and with that the budget for the game. As the budget grew, we began a long series of conversations with potential publishing partners. The more that we worked on the game, the more that we wanted to do, and the further we got from the original concepts that made System Shock so great.
Ultimately the responsibility for the decisions rests with me. As the CEO and founder of Nightdive Studios, a company that was built on the restoration of the System Shock franchise, I let things get out of control. I can tell you that I did it for all the right reasons, that I was totally committed to making a great game, but it has become clear to me that we took the wrong path, that we turned our backs on the very people who made this possible, our Kickstarter backers.”
Nightdive is a small studio shouldered with the arguably weighty task of bringing an old, beloved game back to life, so it’s fairly understandable why they might get distracted by bigger budgets and collaborations. Kick is at least transparent about what’s happened in his post and seems willing to do what he can to bring the game back to what the backers want, even if that means halting production for a while:
“I have put the team on a hiatus while we reassess our path so that we can return to our vision. We are taking a break, but NOT ending the project… System Shock is going to be completed and all of our promises fulfilled.”
This news comes as a huge disappointment to many System Shock fans, not to mention all the backers, looking forward to the release. While Kick promises the hiatus is temporary, there’s no time-frame or future release date mentioned, and it’s not that unheard of for games in production to become delayed indefinitely. The most we can do at this point is hope for more updates soon.