Night Dive Studios last summer launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the reboot of System Shock, the 1994 genre-defining classic from developer Looking Glass Technologies and publisher Origin Systems.
The campaign managed to raise more than $1.3 million and development seemed to be going swimmingly but alas, things weren’t as great as they seemed.
According to game director Jason Fader, the community made it clear that they really wanted console support. Unfortunately, Unity proved not to be a great engine to use for a FPS on consoles and after researching alternative engines for a few weeks including Unreal and Lumberyard, they ultimately decided to pull the trigger and go with the former.
When Polygon asked why the change was necessary, Fader said it had to do with a combination of cross-platform support, fidelity, content-creation pipelines and performance. Ultimately, he said, Unreal was the smarter direction to go.
At the Game Developers Conference this week, Night Dive published a pre-alpha teaser trailer showing what the game currently looks like on the new engine.
Given the new approach, Polygon asked if the game was still being called a remaster like it was when it was a Unity title or if it’s something else entirely. Fader said they’re making a “faithful reboot” which means the spirit of the game is the same but how they present it may be different.
They’re not touching the overall story (other than fixing plot holes) and all of the familiar characters will be present although with more refined dialogue. Most of the classic creatures, weapons, items and areas are being kept, Fader said, adding that they will be applying modern game design principles and visuals to better introduce System Shock to current gamers that might not have had the chance to appreciate the original.
System Shock is expected to arrive in mid to late 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well as Windows, Mac and Linux.