Development on Nightdive Studios‘ System Shock remake was cut short last month, with CEO Stephen Kick explaining that development had drifted away from their early plans. He announced on the game’s Kickstarter page that he was putting the game on hiatus “while we reassess our path so that we can return to our vision”. Now at GDC 2018, Kick has updated us with news that development on the game has started up once again.
At the event, he told PC Gamer that the team had made an effort to get back to the concepts behind the original System Shock, which was what fans and backers wanted:
“We understood based on the backer feedback, especially, that we weren’t going in the right direction with the game, what we promised to them. That’s what really caused the shift in what we’re doing now, which is going back to what we’d established and represented with the Unity demo.”
Nightdive’s business development director Larry Kuperman also shed some light on how their excitement to breathe life into an old favourite led to production getting away from them:
“As we geared up and started moving forward with it, we began to run into feature creep… All of those things like ‘you know what would really be cool, how we might reinterpret this’. Various people wanted to put their imprint on it. As this process evolved over a period of time, it grew in complexity, and it veered away from this original representation. That doesn’t mean that interpretation would’ve been bad, but it wouldn’t have been true to the System Shock vision.”
He also gave out a new expected release date, which will sadly leave us waiting a while for the new and improved version:
“Our intention is to ship exactly the game that was promised, with as much of the features that were promised as we can, in a timeframe that will get it out as fast as we can. Our expectation is probably Q1 of 2020.”
Kuperman seems as aware of just how much time this is as the rest of us, as he apparently gave out the 2020 release date with a resigned shrug.
While many are indignant at this two year wait, we at least do have the game to look forward to, one that’s back in line with the original. When the hiatus was first announced, it seemed there was good possibility of it being indefinite, as no date at all was given. Knowing that production is back on track, with an end-goal in sight, is actually a bit of a relief.