System Shock Remake

The big Origin news in recent weeks has been the launch of the System Shock Remake Kickstarter. I’m late enough to get around to looking at this that it’s already funded but with only 3 days left some more money certainly wouldn’t hurt the cause. It’s not all that far into the stretch goals which is a clear sign of the reduced enthusiasm for Kickstarter these days if you ask me. I’m as jaded as any by certain previous Kickstarter experiences but there have certainly been some notable successes. This is one project I was always going to get behind as soon as I heard about it.

The remake is being done by Nightdive studios who have been responsible for several old PC games getting GOG releases, including the enhanced version of the original System Shock which most of us thought would never get a rerelease before it happened. They are already far enough along to have produced a demo which I thought I should have a go on before forking over my cash.

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The demo comes with all the usual pre-alpha warnings but is surprisingly polished. What I really didn’t expect from this was how it’s instantly recognisable as System Shock. It’s an entirely playable first portion of the original game remastered into Unity. All of the rooms and environments are all the same yet at the same time massively enhanced. The pitch talks about producing System Shock as you remembered it, rather than as it actually was. It’s quite the trick to pull this off but I’d say the demo excels – it’s quite a bit better than I remember it in truth. If the rest of the game carried on in this vein, it would be well worth the asking price.

The demo doesn’t go very far of course and is over in about 10 minutes. This is perhaps a little unfortunate as anyone who hasn’t played the original might wonder what all the fuss is about. I’ve little doubt the demo is mainly going to appeal to those of us who were around for System Shock the first time around but that was always going to be the people putting in the lions’ share of the funding.

The stretch goals include all sorts of extra content which is something I’d really like to see. I can go back and play the original System Shock any time I like.  I would love this to add something new to the mix so I’m hoping for a last minute rush of backers. It strikes me that the pitch has done everything right at any rate so I’d heartily recommend anyone to give it a look before the time runs out. I won’t get too excited about it yet as I know how long these projects always take to come to fruition but I’m really looking forward to playing a new System Shock and with System Shock 3 also on the way we now have two of them in the works.

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