The sci-fi shooter series System Shock is about to make a comeback. OtherSide Entertainment has launched a website promising a third game in the long-dormant franchise.
Right now, there's not much to the website. It's limited to a minimalist, black-and-white logo for System Shock 3. There's also a link to sign up for a mailing list. Still, even the mere confirmation of SS3 is bound to get fans excited.
Many shooters released in the wake of DOOM tried to ape that game's style. System Shock, released a year after id Software's hit, went in a completely different direction though. Players were able to explore large, non-linear levels with logs that revealed the story. Enemies had different immunities and vulnerabilities so players had to choose their weapons carefully. These features, along with the RPG-like progression of the game, are now prevalent in many modern-day shooters. The developers of Deus Ex and BioShock both cited the System Shock series as major influences on their games.
While the System Shock series inspired some "spiritual successors," there hasn't been a game in the series since 1999's System Shock 2. Looking Glass closed its doors in 2000 and the series has collected dust since then. However, Nightdive Studios showed that there was still interest in the series when they re-released System Shock 2 three years ago. It seems like it was only a matter of time before someone decided to make an all-new chapter in the series.
OtherSide Entertainment seems like a fitting developer for the project. The team at OtherSide includes former members of System Shock creators Looking Glass Studios. Paul Neurath, a co-founder of Looking Glass, is CEO of OtherSide. Art Director Nate Wells was a level designer and artist for System Shock 2. OtherSide lead designer Tim Stellmach also served as designer on the first System Shock.
Earlier this year, OtherSide announced Underworld Ascendant. Ascendant is another revival of a classic Looking Glass franchise: Ultima Underworld. Ultima Underworld: Stygian Abyss and its sequel Labyrinth of Worlds were some of the earliest first-person action RPGs. It's easy to see the seeds of System Shock in those games.
OtherSide funded Underworld Ascendant through Kickstarter so it's easy to imagine them doing the same for System Shock 3. Revivals of classic game series are often very successful on Kickstarter. Their long-time fans are willing to pay big money to bring back their old favorites. Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns are two of the most prominent examples of this trend.