PAX West 2022: System Shock Remake

By Published On: September 5, 2022Categories: Gaming, Interviews

Welcome to the Next Station…

Many titles as of late seem to be getting remakes, and the beloved title System Shock has finally made its way clear in 2022. After a stunning trailer earlier this year, an appearance at GamesCon, and at PAX West 2022, there is no doubt that System Shock is chugging along nicely. Its strong approach to staying true to the source material while providing solid updates to movement and gameplay shows a clear direction. Nightdive Studios had plenty to share with us about this title at PAX West 2022 so let us hack our way to freedom.

Shocking Audiences at Pax!

Nightdive Studios had their booth near some of the biggest in the convention this weekend, including Nintendo and Bandai Namco. In between these titans, I was humbled by the smaller horror title System Shock and the conversation I was able to share with Larry Kuperman. Being the Director of Business Development, he had plenty to share about the remade title and how it compares to its original version.

Firstly he wanted to address the game’s difficulty since the original title was a rather difficult survival game. The remake doesn’t hold your hand as well. Instead, the game relies on the player’s need to explore and search to find the next step in the story. He then continued to share about the world of the game and the need from the creators to stress the dangers of living in the world of System Shock. “One of the themes that went through the original System Shock that we have preserved in our game, is that you are always being watched,” Kuperman shared during the new intro sequence where I watched a drone span a complex cyberpunk city. The drone then locks onto a single person through a window, instantly changing the perspective of the player into that person.

Media Provided by: Nightdive Studios.

All hands on Deck!

Here, my demo begins. The hacker’s perspective reveals a bit of their lifestyle. Opening boxes of pizza and loose cables on the ground reveal quite the casual comfort. That is, until a group of heavily equipped soldiers capture the player. Transporting myself to a darkened figure, who quickly pulls a bag off my head revealing the position I was in. Getting caught by Trioptiumum to make a deal and deactivate the ethical controls on an AI. This reveals the classic story of the game that those familiar with the original will know. A rogue AI captures a giant citadel in space, causing unimaginable horrors when the player wakes up 30 years later and has to explore to escape. My short demo of the game reveals this commitment to the original title, the skin-crawling ambiance, and design of the station made some corners quite hard to pass. The Station was interesting to explore, giving me nostalgia for my original experiences with the franchise. Only reinforcing this fact are the enemies, designed with large camera lenses for eyes or having mutilated limps for Psy amplification (the magic of the game).

I was heavily impressed with the designs of the enemies and the simple need to reserve information from the players to add their effects. Opening one of the doors revealed a big ugly mutated human, he immediately attacked my character but the pipe I had collected earlier stopped that limited thought process. There also are a collection of old security bots that have been hacked and converted for Shodan’s use, these bots contain deadly attacks such as lasers or a classic beating. The look of the game in the Unreal Engine is fantastic with beautiful color shifts in the ship or displays of gore meant to keep the player on edge. The last thing I was able to enjoy in the demo was a small puzzle involving the physical movement of a box to another location. I was able to stand on this object to reach a camera—the same cameras Shodan uses for observing the player during the game.

A Hopeful Team

The development of System Shock has been in the works for some time now, leaving many fans and myself waiting patiently. The original game hosts some outstanding accomplishments for a truly classic RPG, and seeing Nightdive Studios reach for the stars with this title both in gameplay and art means something special. This isn’t a failed product to forget about because it has been in development for a long time; this is a solid project with a great team. Larry Kuperman really wants to stress to me that players interested in this game should keep their eyes on Steam or Epic to support this title while still possible. Development of the game is near completion and any day now players may find themselves boarding the ship once again to defeat Shodan.

About the Author: Hayden Nicholson