Otherside Entertainment is working on a new entry in the venerable System Shock series. The new game has been teased but we have absolutely no idea what the game will be like, whether or not it will be a first-person shooter, a third-person RPG or anything in between.
The only thing we know about System Shock 3 is that it's coming and that Otherside Entertainment is working on it according to their teaser website. The new game could definitely benefit from some really cool and necessary features, some returning and some new. So we thought we would take the opportunity to explore the seven things System Shock 3 needs to have.
Weapon DegradationWeapon degradation was featured in System Shock 2 but it definitely needs to make a comeback for System Shock 3. This feature would make the game more strategic and scarier to boot.
While most gamers might assume weapon degradation could end up being tedious like in Far Cry 2, it can also keep the gameplay fresh by ensuring players don't become too comfortable relying on just one weapon for too long. Some games have a tendency of giving you an overpowered weapon and so much ammo that there's no reason to switch. A properly implemented degradation system could keep the game feeling tense as players will need to monitor how often they use a weapon and when to repair it. It also forces players to run rather than fight in some cases.
Horror ElementsOne of the highlights of the second System Shock was the mystery and intrigue of the game world. First-time players had no idea what was going on or why certain mutants and creatures were inhabiting the ship. The fear of the unknown is always a great primer for horror games and it would make System Shock 3 stand out as more than just a standard shooter or action-RPG title.
The first few hours of BioShock were riddled with great horror moments. It would be nice to see Otherside Entertainment tap this kind of feeling for System Shock 3. The second game already had a lot of those eerie moments when players could see the remnants of the specters moving around or hear the footsteps of enemies in the distance. With today's technology they could make System Shock 3 seriously creepy.
MicromanagementOne of the key selling points for the first two games – even though they didn't sell all that well – was the micromanagement for the player character. The ability to choose between different skills, items and weapons made System Shock 2 in particular the kind of game that inspired the open-ended, emergent gameplay structure found in later games like Deus Ex or Fallout 3.
This kind of customization is a must-have for SS3. It lets players come up with their own strategies for getting through the game's challenges. Plus, the more options that players have, the more replayable the game will be.
Fixing Enemy RespawnsIn order to keep System Shock 2 entertaining and engaging, the game had a consistent flow of enemies popping up and popping out every time you left an area and returned. Given that a large part of System Shock's design was centered around backtracking, the developers obviously thought to keep things fresh by having enemies constantly respawn.
For the new game it would be cool to find a balance between between keeping the enemies as a constant threat to players, while also limiting the amount of enemies actually respawning. BioShock managed to find a nice balance between leaving some areas empty and sparsely occupying them with some returning enemies. That's probably what would help give System Shock 3 some replayability without it becoming tedious.
VR Headset SupportWith today's gaming sector set to embrace consumer-oriented virtual reality support in 2016, it only seems like it would be a common sense thing to consider VR support for the third System Shock game. I mean... why not?
One of the core elements of the first two games was the focus on the first person experience and the mystery and intrigue of exploring these foreign, unknown environments. What better way to pay homage to that kind of gameplay than with the ability to literally immerse players into the game world via virtual reality? A lot of games coming up seem like they add in the VR support just for the kicks, but a game like System Shock could be taken to a whole new level with proper VR support.
Full Multiplayer SupportThis is definitely going to be a very controversial entry on the list, but the multiplayer mode in System Shock 2 was one of the more favored features of the game. The problem is that a lot of people felt as if it dampened the feeling of horror. But what if they took a different approach?
Some of the cool elements of Left 4 Dead 2 was that players could take on the role of zombies and it didn't diminish any of the game's tension or fun. Heck, just recently Techland's Dying Light allowed players to take on the role of a really dangerous zombie in an asymmetric PvP mode. System Shock 3 could allow for players to play in co-op or as villains in the game, creating a tense situation where gamers may not know when they're going against another player, similar to those special PvP story missions in Resident Evil 6.
SHODANSHODAN is the acronym for the Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network. It's the main antagonist of the two System Shock titles, working as a HAL 9000 villain in the first game and more as a Frank Fontaine-style villain in System Shock 2.
The character has always been well regarded as one of the greatest AI villains ever created. It was calculating, cold and deliberate in the kind of objectives it had in mind. The interesting thing about it is that we've had AI in other games like Portal's GLaDOS that appeared to be of similar ilk to SHODAN, but with far less philosophical wit and a bit more metaphysical snark. It wouldn't be System Shock without SHODAN. With today's tech it would be pretty cool to see how the character is brought to life in the newest game.