The Rat, the Laser, and the Holy Gib.
Way back in the summer of 2016 Nightdive Studios, the company behind countless abandonware PC re-releases including the likes of Putt-Putt and Harvester, took to Kickstarter with the promise of “a complete remake” of the original System Shock.
Nightdive had been responsible for the “Enhanced” editions of System Shock and its sequel, and also released a playable demo alongside the beginning of their funding campaign, so at the time there seemed to be plenty of evidence that this would in fact be a real game that would definitely actually for reals exist this time. Thanks to this evidence, the company was able to rake in over 1.3 million dollars from over 20,000 backers during its 30 day campaign and with plenty of communication and the expected ease of the project it seemed all was well.
News stories hardly ever get written about Kickstarters that go well unfortunately, and now almost two years later Nightdive has announced that they’ll be taking a hiatus from System Shock development in order to “reassess” and “return to their vision.”
According to CEO Stephen Kick, the project continued to grow and grow throughout development, and between things like switching engines and pushing more and more new ideas, they started to feel like they were getting too far from the “concepts that made System Shock so great.” Kick also promised that this hiatus would not spell the end of the project, and that he gives his “personal assurance” that all of their promises would be fulfilled.
While I’m personally hesitant to trust the words of a CEO, or trust the quality of a project largely made by a studio that works solely on ports of incredibly old games, this sort of letter is at least a lot better than so many other Kickstarters have pushed out. Don’t get me wrong I’m still absolutely worried about whether or not backers will actually end up getting the game they wanted, but compared to the things we’ve seen out of Kickstarters like Project Phoenix, or the rough as hell Mighty No. 9, this is at least a little more hopeful than most.
While things might seem dreary right now, with no scheduled release date or timeline, I’ll still hope against hope that everyone excited for this remaster will be trudging through their cyberpunk dreams sooner rather than later.