Changing the name, I suspect that Nightdive’s remake of System Shock could launch a whole new game in 2022. There are some hints of its origins in 1994 PC gaming, like the hotkey bar at the bottom of the HUD filled with gear and grid-based inventory. The pipe hacking minigame might be a dead giveaway. On the other hand, the pump action on the pulse rifle’s reload animation makes System Shock look like a whole new shooter, arcing its head as the robot explodes with a terrifying headshot. It’s a good game, somewhere between the new big-budget shooter and the return of pixels and polygons like Prodeus.
It’s still a long way from its Kickstarter in 2016, but in the words of Nightdive’s Larry Kuperman, System Shock is now “very complete” and into its final months of polish until its release later this year. “Every level is here, every enemy is in place, every weapon is in place,” Cooperman told me during a presentation at this year’s Game Developers Conference. It’s playable from start to finish and is now going through QA.
“Bug fixes are a last-ditch attempt at the depths of hell,” Cooperman said.
The System Shock remake’s six-year journey included a U-turn in 2018, when Nightdive felt it had changed too much from the original game. “We try to stay true to the classics. That’s very important to us, our core audience is the fans of System Shock who can see this and say ‘yes, this is what I want. This is the game I know, but To polish.'”
Where Nightdive touches on the System Shock design, the changes are minimal: reducing the number of grenades to a multipurpose grenade, for example. “Everyone on the team put in hours of work on how the original game worked, but we also wanted to make sure it was modern,” Cooperman said. This meant adding touches like multiple reload animations for each weapon, as well as flashing messages on the CRT monitor screen at Citadel Station.
Nightdive plans to release a beta version to Kickstarter backers once it is stable and goes through a thorough QA process. Now, let’s take a look at some nice gifs of the weapons.
A classic pistol, nothing fancy, but look at how sticky that splattered blood was. This game can get messy.
The pumping action of the shotgun is excellent, but I especially like the way it re-chambers.
Pulse rifles pump more fluidly than shotguns, right? I love how your hand tilts it upright as if you need the help of gravity to get ready for the next shot. But what ultimately stole the show was the particle effect of the explosion.
There are plenty of lightsaber worshippers out there, but I love the way the laser rapier bends as you swing it. The risk of a system hitting the fences in the universe must be high.