When it comes to classic horror video games on consoles, we have our Resident Evils, Silent Hills, and the like. On PC, you had horror games like Alone in the Dark. Out of all the horror game releases, one seemed to pop-up a lot in the last 20 years … and that is System Shock, which didn’t start as a horror game. When the original System Shock was released on PC in 1994, its 3D engine, physics simulation, and complex gameplay have been cited as both innovative and influential.
Today, the game and its sequel (which was a horror game) have been re-released and updated. Then in November 2015, Night Dive Studios (after acquiring the rights to the System Shock franchise) stated they are considering developing a third title in the series. In December 2015, OtherSide Entertainment (a studio founded by former Looking Glass Studios designer Paul Neurath) announced they were developing System Shock 3 with rights granted to them by Night Dive Studios.
Since then, things have not been looking good for System Shock 3. Originally, Starbreeze Studios was planning to provide a $12 million “publishing-only” investment in System Shock 3, allowing OtherSide to retain all rights while seeking a 120% return on investment followed by equal shares of revenue splitting. Starbreeze’s investment will allow the game to be developed for consoles in addition to the planned personal computer versions. However, in the wake of several financial problems in late 2018, Starbreeze has given back the publishing rights of System Shock 3 to OtherSide and separated itself from the project.
According to a former developer, the original team responsible for this third entry in the System Shock series is no longer working on it. Therefore, we can safely assume that we won’t be playing this immersive sim game anytime soon.
One RPG Codex member named “Kin Corn Karn,” a former developer of System Shock 3, said:
“The only reason I’m posting is because I saw so much confusion about the state of the company and the project. I thought some first person information would be welcome. I never suggested we were halfway done, core systems are a great foundation for a game but most of the work is content development which we were critically behind in, both in real assets and in tool support for an efficient pipeline.”
According to the former developer, System Shock 3 would be able to offer something interesting with some fresh and innovative gameplay. That is, of course, if Starbreeze hadn’t gone into a crisis itself.
“Those high expectations drove a lot of expensive experimentation. We were a small team and knew we couldn’t compete with current immersive sims in production quality and breadth. So, we had to be creative and clever and weird. And we were on our way to make something unique and possibly fun, but probably not what the audience was hungry for.”
What’s also interesting to note is that everyone on the content side is no longer with the studio.
But what about that in-engine trailer that Otherside released awhile back? According to the developer, the in-game scenes showed real gameplay, and while System Shock 3 had its main core systems, it did not have enough content.
Otherside has not issued a statement at this time. Hopefully we will see System Shock 3 … someday.