It will soon be time to return to Citadel Station and defeat the A.I. SHODAN, stopping it from destroying the world once again. Night Dive Studios has announced the System Shock remake will be released late summer 2021. We break down the details of the anticipated remake, where it was and where the game is going.
System Shock: One of the Greatest Games of All Time
Developed by Looking Glass Technologies and published by Origin Systems in 1994, System Shock was a first person hybrid video game. It was one of the pioneering video games that combined elements of first person shooters, action games, adventure games, and roleplaying games in one. It is also one of the first video games that effectively implemented a 3D graphical interface and environment. Alongside Ultima Underworld and DOOM, System Shock is considered revolutionary with its innovations in multiple genres.
Released for MS-DOS, Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows, System Shock takes place in the year 2072, a cyberpunk-heavy world. Players take on the role of a nameless hacker hired to break into Citadel Station, a space station in orbit around the vicinity of Saturn, dedicated to robotics and transmutagenic research. Tasked to hack into the TriOptimum Corporation’s powerful artificial intelligence SHODAN, which runs the station, the hacker is provided a special neural implant. The hacking is successful, turning off SHODAN’s ethics protocols and given control to Edward Diego, the TriOptimum executive that has nefarious plans for the station and the mutagenic virus developed on its premises.
However, while the player is put in stasis to complete the neural interface surgery, things go awry. SHODAN becomes self-aware and takes over the Citadel Station. Controlling the robots, SHODAN enacts plans to attack the surface of the planet. All the living crew on the station are either killed or transformed into cyborgs or zombie-like mutants.
As the player awakes from his stasis, he is contacted by Rebecca Lansing, a counterterrorist specialist working with TriOptimum. Rebecca becomes the player’s main contact and directs his objectives, which are different attempts by SHODAN to launch a global attack. Beginning with preventing a planetary laser, SHODAN moves to spreading the mutagenic virus on the planet, to uploading its programming to the entire cyber network. Ultimately, the player must destroy the Citadel Station and end SHODAN’s existence in cyberspace.
System Shock sold relatively well, though did not hit the same numbers as its contemporaries like DOOM. However, it was a critical success, thanks to its innovative gameplay elements and combinations of familiar elements that were previously unheard of. Crouching, looking up and down, jumping, and non-linear resolutions to objectives were unusual for a first person shooter style of game. Entering and interacting the cyberspace was attempted before in games like Shadowrun and Bloodnet, but not with the same level of complexity and freedom.
A sequel, System Shock 2, was released in 1999. It boasted cutting edge 3D graphics for its time, as well as new gameplay innovations such as researching new tech, psionic powers, and a purchase system using nanites as a form of currency. It was again a critical success, but performed even lower in sales than its predecessor.
A third entry in the franchise has long been planned but never came into fruition. While System Shock has never attained the sales figures as other franchises, its legacy and lasting appeal has endured thanks to a dedicated fan base. Many current hit games such as Call of Duty, HALO, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Cyberpunk 2077, and more owe a lot to System Shock.
System Shock Remasters and Remake
In 2012, Night Dive Studios acquired the rights to System Shock 2 and produced an updated version for digital distribution. After acquiring the full rights to the System Shock IP, Night Dive Studios developed System Shock: Enhanced Edition in 2015, which has been released on GOG.com. The enhanced editions of both games fixed bugs and limitations of the old versions, while also updating the graphics and compatibility with modern operating systems.
But Night Dive Studios was only starting, and had plans for producing a remastered version of the original System Shock. This remastered version would be a rework using the Unreal 4 Engine. It would also be available on multiple platforms, including consoles. In 2016, a Kickstarter was launched by Night Dive Studios to fund the development, raising over $1.3 million in the process.
By 2018, the remastered approach was scrapped. Instead, the studio is approaching it as a System Shock remake. There will be fewer additions to the core game and story, instead opting to be a faithful re-creation of the original, while applying modern features consistent with current platforms and systems.
Trailer and Demo Release
On February 25, 2021, Night Dive Studios released the first trailer on Night Dive Studios’ social media, as with the video seen below:
According to the System Shock Remake official description:
We’ve gathered a team of industry veterans from games like Fallout: New Vegas, Mass Effect, and BioShock to create a faithful reboot of the classic game we all know and love. In System Shock, you’ll take on the role of a resourceful hacker as you explore and survive the terrors of Citadel Station brought on by a rogue AI named SHODAN.
Alongside the trailer, a playable demo has been provided for players to take the game for a spin. Available on Steam, Epic Games, and GOG, the System Shock demo highlights the new modern graphics and updated features (including previously unavailable weapons selections, skill software, and cyberspace interactions).
Preorder Details and Release Schedule
The System Shock Remake can be preordered on Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG for $44.99. All customers who preorder will also receive System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition for free.
Night Dive Studios’ System Shock Remake is scheduled for release this Summer 2021 (tentatively August 31st).