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You may not know this, but BioShock is the spiritual successor to System Shock, a two-game series of similarly creepy sci-fi shooters with role-playing game elements. BioShock designer Ken Levine was also lead designer on System Shock 2 and he's enthusiastic about making another installment in the mothballed franchise.

The System Shock games were set in the future and both had the player fighting a horde of mutants and an insane AI known as SHODAN. The core gameplay, particularly for the sequel, was very similar to BioShock - a player trapped in a setting filled with psychotic, deformed people, character customization allowing you to gain technical/magical/physical abilities, audio logs revealing backstory, ammo conservation, random ghosts, etc. The biggest differences were that BioShock was less difficult, allowed you to change customization choices throughout the game, and actually sold well. System Shock was released a few months after Doom II and the sequel was released about a year after Half-Life - ouch.

Anyway, Levine was asked about the System series during an interview with VG247 and he said that he loved the series' universe and would certainly consider making another installment. “Would I turn my nose up at another round with SHODAN? No," he said, before pointing out that Take-Two Interactive doesn't own the rights to the franchise.

So who does have the rights to the series? Electronic Arts. As Levine said a couple years ago, he actually pitched System Shock 3 to EA and they "just didn't give a shit about that game". He added: "They didn't see it as big brand and I didn't want that uphill battle."

Of course, with the success of BioShock, now System Shock would be a pretty big brand - which is a barrier in of itself. Now that the brand has shown its potential, it seems unlikely EA would part with the license. Oh well. The BioShock series is a pretty faithful successor, anyway. Levine, meanwhile, is allegedly working on a series even more in need of a new installment: X-Com.
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