Starbreeze to Publish System Shock 3, May Bring Game to Consoles

Starbreeze to Publish System Shock 3, May Bring Game to Consoles

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The newest installment in the System Shock franchise will be published by Starbreeze, and may even find its way to consoles.

Old school PC gamers know the name System Shock. The original game was developed by Looking Glass Studios, and published by Origin Systems in 1994. Produced by Warren Spector, and drawing heavily on cyperpunk influences, the game tossed you onto a space station in the year 2072. There, you end up going head to head with a malevolent AI named SHODAN. SHODAN returned in System Shock 2 in 1999, but the series had laid dormant for years until System Shock 3 was announced in December of 2015.

System Shock 3 is in development at Otherside Entertainment, a studio boasting a number of veterans from Looking Glass Studios. Of course, the development is under the direction of Warren Spector.

Yesterday, Starbreeze Studios announced it will be publishing System Shock 3 , and will be investing $12 million to bring the game to "PC and other platforms." Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson-Klint said of the announcement, "System Shock is one of those iconic franchises in the history of games that still gets my blood going and Mr. Spector is one of the founding fathers of the modern action RPG. We're greatly looking forward to bringing System Shock 3 to players world wide in our collaboration with Otherside Entertainment and Warren Spector's team. I'll be first in line to play"

Under the terms of the agreement, Starbreeze will be able to recoup 120 percent of its full investment including marketing costs. Once that amount has been recouped, the publisher's share of revenue will drop to 50 percent. Otherside Entertainment will retain 100 percent control of the System Shock 3 IP.

That "PC and other platforms" bit has led to some speculation that the game might eventually make its way to consoles, but for now, there's been no elaboration on just what those "other platforms" might be. System Shock 3 has no set release date, and is said to be in the "early concept" stage. You can find more information on the game's official site.

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A release of System Shock Trilogy would not go unnoticed in the Playstation Store or my local Gamestop, I think.

If SS3 truelly lives up to the IP's name, I won't have any qualms with it coming to ps4.

Poetic Nova:
If SS3 truelly lives up to the IP's name, I won't have any qualms with it coming to ps4.

I really hope it does. Bioshock was billed as its "spiritual successor", but I was seriously underimpressed- it was a nice enough game, but it lacked the depth and decision-making the System Shock series was known for.

Well, call me a cynical, elitistic (is that a word?) bastard, but that bit about the console versions worries me a lot. The game will probably be developed with consoles in mind first and foremost, as is the norm nowadays, and as a result the PC port will be much, much less than it could be.

I really hope I'm wrong here...

The Rogue Wolf:

Poetic Nova:
If SS3 truelly lives up to the IP's name, I won't have any qualms with it coming to ps4.

I really hope it does. Bioshock was billed as its "spiritual successor", but I was seriously underimpressed- it was a nice enough game, but it lacked the depth and decision-making the System Shock series was known for.

How weird it may sound, but I'm kinda happy to see someone with similar thoughts about Bioshock. The only diffirence is that I was never able to finish it for that reason.

investing $12 million to bring the game to "PC and other platforms."

And here's me thinking that the point of kickstarter project was not to have a publisher getting involved.

You've all wasted your money for nothing. Congratulations.

Hopefully the minds behind it have learned a thing or two in the intervening years about game economies and playability.

The atmosphere of System Shock 2 was great; the gameplay left more than a bit to be desired. And if I never have to play another game of Minesweeper Lite to open a box containing a nickel or get shot by a respawning zombie with a broken shotgun again, it... Well, it might actually cause me to contemplate buying System Shock 3.

Now excuse me while I flee before I get burned as an apostate.

Well, I guess I'll be the one to say it: On the rather extreme off chance someone involved in making the game reads this post, let me note that console gamers are not inherently stupid. You can make a game on their chosen platform without removing so much that it's no longer worthy of the System Shock name. Indeed, I think many of them would appreciate something with a little more depth. And while it's true that their controllers flat-out don't have enough buttons, clever planning can let you get around that. We have faith in your intelligence and abilities; please return that favor. Thank you.

Callate:
Now excuse me while I flee before I get burned as an apostate.

Don't be silly; an apostate is one who abandons the faith. If you were never that impressed to begin with, you'd be burned as a heathen.

And while the hacking minigame left something to be desired, well, show me a hacking minigame that doesn't. Deus Ex's was just a progress bar. Also, being constantly attacked by mutants armed with weapons you couldn't immediately pick up and use against their friends was an important part of the atmosphere you claim to appreciate; there's no tension when you remove the tension.

Recusant:
And while the hacking minigame left something to be desired, well, show me a hacking minigame that doesn't. Deus Ex's was just a progress bar. Also, being constantly attacked by mutants armed with weapons you couldn't immediately pick up and use against their friends was an important part of the atmosphere you claim to appreciate; there's no tension when you remove the tension.

The thing of it is, I can envision both more interesting hacking and non-scarcity-dependent tension- by going back to System Shock 1.

The "VR" system used to invade systems in the original SS was a bit cumbersome to navigate, largely because 3D navigation was in its very early infancy in 1994. But it was used sparingly, and made for a significant change in feel from navigating the station.

And while I rarely recall lacking for ammunition in SS, I still felt plenty of tension, because having some ability to defend myself never caused me not to feel vulnerable. I could still round a corner and have a polite robot blow up in my face. I could still be cornered or caught in the open and overwhelmed. I could have a grenade bounce wrong, or be attacked from a direction I didn't expect, or be blindsided by an enemy that I didn't know the best way to counter. And through it all, the AI who was running the damn station seemed to be one step ahead of me.

I recognize that of late a lot of recent horror/survival games have focused on the idea that scarcity was the best way of achieving helplessness, and through that, fear. But an infinitely respawning enemy that's allegedly using the same means to attack me that I use attack it- yet doesn't give me so much as a single piece of ammo in compensation for unavoidably fighting it- doesn't inspire fear or helplessness in me, just aggravation. I'm already friendless, vastly outnumbered, don't know the scope of my opposition, and on unfamiliar ground- if the designers can't craft that into a disturbing experience without also stacking the economy against me in a way that belies belief and potentially renders the game unwinnable, I begin to feel that maybe my expectations aren't the problem.

There is ground between "fight through the legions of hell with a pea shooter and one bean" and "Doom Guy with fifty rockets in his backpack"; we ought to be doing more with that ground.

Truehare:
Well, call me a cynical, elitistic (is that a word?) bastard, but that bit about the console versions worries me a lot. The game will probably be developed with consoles in mind first and foremost, as is the norm nowadays, and as a result the PC port will be much, much less than it could be.

I really hope I'm wrong here...

I know Starbreeze - and I can say that you are wrong. If they develop for PC or let develop for it, they put that as their primary platform.

Callate:

Recusant:
And while the hacking minigame left something to be desired, well, show me a hacking minigame that doesn't. Deus Ex's was just a progress bar. Also, being constantly attacked by mutants armed with weapons you couldn't immediately pick up and use against their friends was an important part of the atmosphere you claim to appreciate; there's no tension when you remove the tension.

The thing of it is, I can envision both more interesting hacking and non-scarcity-dependent tension- by going back to System Shock 1.

The "VR" system used to invade systems in the original SS was a bit cumbersome to navigate, largely because 3D navigation was in its very early infancy in 1994. But it was used sparingly, and made for a significant change in feel from navigating the station.

...And that's why it wouldn't work now, providing that hacking had the same frequency it did in the second game. I suppose I should've added that caveat; it had occurred to me that equivalent in the first game was better. But it was also much rarer; it wouldn't've had the same effect if it was as common as hacking was in the second game.

Callate:

I recognize that of late a lot of recent horror/survival games have focused on the idea that scarcity was the best way of achieving helplessness, and through that, fear. But an infinitely respawning enemy that's allegedly using the same means to attack me that I use attack it- yet doesn't give me so much as a single piece of ammo in compensation for unavoidably fighting it- doesn't inspire fear or helplessness in me, just aggravation. I'm already friendless, vastly outnumbered, don't know the scope of my opposition, and on unfamiliar ground- if the designers can't craft that into a disturbing experience without also stacking the economy against me in a way that belies belief and potentially renders the game unwinnable, I begin to feel that maybe my expectations aren't the problem.

Oh, I agree, that would be awful- but that wasn't what happened. Every shotgun an annelid dropped could be repaired and used against them- it just cost you nanites (and required a minimum repair skill). Every single one had a shell you could pop out and use in your own gun- it just cost you time. They wielded said guns in such a way that they had a minimum firing range- charge in and wail on them and they'll have to back up to shoot; adapt to their strategies and they're not hard to bring down untouched. Do they keep respawning? If you leave and come back to an area, yes, but not if you stick around. It's not about never letting you feel safe, it's about never letting you besafe.

The only way the game could be rendered unwinnable was if you needed modules to learn the research skill on deck 3 and didn't have enough (only a factor on Impossible, and only if you'd found and spent all available before) or if you needed them to learn the hacking skill on deck 6 and didn't have enough to spend- and that could be circumvented with an ICE-pick. Neither of these have anything to do with ammo. Unless you're firing off bullets like it's a Miami New Year's party, you'll rarely run out- you'll just never have much. System Shock 2 wasn't Misery.

The first System Shock didn't use the same techniques; it also wasn't a survival horror game.

I'll take this over 'Spiritual Successor' Bioshock any day! I hated how those games dumbed down the whole franchise into little more than an FPS with trimmings yet fed off the name and legend

mad825:

investing $12 million to bring the game to "PC and other platforms."

And here's me thinking that the point of kickstarter project was not to have a publisher getting involved.

You've all wasted your money for nothing. Congratulations.

I'm pretty sure that System Shock 3 hasn't had a Kickstarter. You may be confusing it with the remake of System Shock 1, which as far as I know does not have a third-party publisher involved.

Might want to make sure you're informed before you start criticizing people for what they spend money on.

Callate:

Recusant:
And while the hacking minigame left something to be desired, well, show me a hacking minigame that doesn't. Deus Ex's was just a progress bar. Also, being constantly attacked by mutants armed with weapons you couldn't immediately pick up and use against their friends was an important part of the atmosphere you claim to appreciate; there's no tension when you remove the tension.

The thing of it is, I can envision both more interesting hacking and non-scarcity-dependent tension- by going back to System Shock 1.

The "VR" system used to invade systems in the original SS was a bit cumbersome to navigate, largely because 3D navigation was in its very early infancy in 1994. But it was used sparingly, and made for a significant change in feel from navigating the station.

I definitely enjoyed cyberspace more than the minesweeper hacking, but the latter fit in with SS2's RPG gameplay more than cyberspace would have. Since actual success comes down to luck if you don't have enough skill points, players with certain builds won't be able to open most locks, leading to more diverse gameplay options. Bioshock's pipe puzzles are conceptually closer to cyberspace (albeit much, much worse) in that they're "skill" segments, but since you can grind through the no matter your build there's no reason to waste plasmids on hacking abilities.

Callate:
And while I rarely recall lacking for ammunition in SS, I still felt plenty of tension, because having some ability to defend myself never caused me not to feel vulnerable. I could still round a corner and have a polite robot blow up in my face. I could still be cornered or caught in the open and overwhelmed. I could have a grenade bounce wrong, or be attacked from a direction I didn't expect, or be blindsided by an enemy that I didn't know the best way to counter. And through it all, the AI who was running the damn station seemed to be one step ahead of me.

I recognize that of late a lot of recent horror/survival games have focused on the idea that scarcity was the best way of achieving helplessness, and through that, fear. But an infinitely respawning enemy that's allegedly using the same means to attack me that I use attack it- yet doesn't give me so much as a single piece of ammo in compensation for unavoidably fighting it- doesn't inspire fear or helplessness in me, just aggravation. I'm already friendless, vastly outnumbered, don't know the scope of my opposition, and on unfamiliar ground- if the designers can't craft that into a disturbing experience without also stacking the economy against me in a way that belies belief and potentially renders the game unwinnable, I begin to feel that maybe my expectations aren't the problem.

I don't think I've ever seen anybody say the original System Shock was particularly scary. I've always seen it as a fairly upbeat cyberpunk game, actually.

Limited resources are basically a necessity in horror games. Atmosphere can only go so far, and resource management provides a way of actually conveying the "fight or flight" feeling to the player. I think that's one of the reasons why the GameCube remake of Resident Evil is still seen by many as the pinnacle of the horror genre, and why horror fans still look fondly upon '90s games like Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, SS2, etc. despite there being a ton of (much better looking) horror games that give you plenty of ammo since then.

That said, I do agree that SS2 didn't pull it off exceptionally well. Infinitely respawning enemies was a pretty silly design choice.

Callate:
There is ground between "fight through the legions of hell with a pea shooter and one bean" and "Doom Guy with fifty rockets in his backpack"; we ought to be doing more with that ground.

I think there are plenty of games here. Resident Evil 4, FEAR, Doom 3, Dead Space, etc.

Recusant:
snip

This approaches thread resurrection at this point, but I just wanted to bring up a few things.

One, I played the game relatively early, though not when it first came out, and it's possible that later patches changed things. It's also very much the case that there weren't FAQs readily available online when I played it. It's been more than a decade since I've played the game.

When I did play it, running across zombies with broken shotguns containing no ammunition was not only a common occurrence, it happened significantly more often than not.

I didn't use ammo profligately when I played it; I used enough modules to upgrade to the better melee weapons, and used them when I could.

But the one place I felt compelled to cheat was the fight against The Many- just to give myself more ammunition. It's the kind of spot where other games of the time (and even later games, like Half-Life 2) would have given the player a stock of ammunition and let the big bad fight against the big bad monster play out in skill rather than conservation, and SS2... didn't. It gave the big bad monster without the equipment to deal with it. After a certain number of runs, I conceded that I was just going to keep coming back to that fight less equipped to handle it, and I haven't forgotten that. That's the moment that stands out in my mind when I say the word "impossible". I don't think it's possible to take on the Many without a healthy stock of long-range firepower. Or if it is, it's not within the capabilities of most players.

Did I use the optimal route through the ship, and the optimal build to best use what was available to me? No... But neither did anyone else who was playing the game through for the first time without a guide.

The people who defend the game almost inevitably seem to have played through it multiple times, and may have forgotten just how frustrating it can be when you do have to go back through those respawning areas multiple times. When you squander nanites on special items you can get later for free (or never do, because you never find them.) When you blow nanites trying to open a box and discover its contents weren't worth what you lost opening it. When you buy a recycing unit and it never pays for itself. When you fall into a spider pit a second time and die for lack of an anti-venom potion, having already blown significant resources on restoring yourself to health from the last time you got poisoned. All the travails you experience getting the knowledge how the system works, all of them costing you the resource you need to succeed within it.

Add in that certain things were left to the mercy of a random number generator, there's just no good way the designers could fully understand how much the scarcities would hamper the first-time player. For my money, they came down on the wrong side. Which, given the infinite free respawns in Bioshock, I have to suspect that at least some of the people on that team would agree with.

It's not a bad game, and I'm not disputing your right to love it as it is. But I think there are real reasons that System Shock 2 was a "sleeper" hit, and Bioshock was just a hit. Critics loved it. Some fans loved it. But I suspect a fair number of people's exposure to it was more like mine.

 

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