System Shock Devs Walked A Fine Line Between Old And New

The long-awaited remake of System Shock, one of the classic survival horror games, is almost here. It’s releasing in March, and in an interview with PC Gamer UK, Stephen Kick, co-founder of Nightdive Studios, went into detail on how the studio reconciled the original game with modern game mechanics and how it impacted development.

The game that we’re going to be launching soon, is the game that I think we were all dreaming of making, but that we didn’t initially set out to make.

Considering that the original System Shock game came out all the way back in 1994, there were bound to be some changes necessary in order to still make the game fun to play for modern audiences. However, showing those changes to fans caused a backlash that told the team that they still had work to do.

Unanimously, the feedback was ‘Hey, this wasn’t what we backed, it’s not what we wanted.’ We had to take a really long break, and we had built up to that point and what our goals are.

The team came back with a vengeance. They rebuild the game’s central setting, Citadel Station, from the ground up. They revamped the soundtrack, re-recorded the audio logs, brought back unused lines from the original game, and more. They even added in new weapons, according to Kick.

For example, there’s now a grenade launcher in the game. And that grenade launcher comes with benefits. But that grenade launcher also comes with a cost, it takes up room in your inventory.

At the same time, despite all of the changes, Nightdive Studios also went into detail on how they kept many of the immersive sim qualities that made the original game great. Whether it was enemy qualities, the atmosphere, or something else, there’s still enough recognizable old stuff in System Shock to really make it feel like a remake.

We have a lot of things going on under the hood. If you’re up against a cyborg, which is part machine part human, it can really depend on where you target a specific part of the body and the specific ammo you’re using. So if you hit the metal part with armor-piercing rounds that will do more damage.

While there’s no actual release date for when the System Shock remake will come out, hopefully when it does release sometime next month for the Playstation 4, Playstation 5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and MacOS, hopefully it will be able to recapture that same sort of horrific magic.

Hunter is a long time fan of strategy, RPG, and tabletop games. When he is not playing games, he likes to write about them.