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The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Nightdive Studios' System Shock remake has received a new update focused on the game's audio. In the update, developer Jonathan Peros, the man in charge of the game's audio, explains the studio's approach to the game's revamped soundtrack and responds to the concerns of backers who are scared the game will lose the original atmosphere.
There are a few samples of the work done so far too, which sound promising but might not be enough to convince the purists who would prefer for the soundtrack to closely match the original's. An excerpt from the update:
Just so you guys know where we are coming from, I'd like to start by posting the "Purpose" section for the audio from our own internal audio design documents that we refer to when making decisions:
The Shock series’ greatest strength was always the intense atmosphere present in the game; the isolation, the tension, even the outright horror. The purpose of the score of System Shock is, more than anything, to strengthen the immersion and atmosphere of the game. Secondary goals of the score are to structure the narrative and represent characters/environments, increase tension in extreme stress (such as combat), and using diegetic music in the world to tell the story of Citadel Station through its own environment.
Plenty of restraint will have to be used on the score, to keep the atmosphere of the game intact. It is important to avoid a more arcadey, extreme approach like other games (see DOOM), but there are points in the game in which it could fit, if used sparingly.
We have received a lot of feedback when it comes to the balance of electronic and orchestral elements in the soundtrack, and fans who feel very strongly about both directions. I'd like to clear things up and put fans' minds at ease. We are planning to have many more electronic elements in the score for the final game than we have in the demo. While we feel that porting the original music over would run counter to our vision, we don't intend to lose the Cyberpunk feeling of the game by neglecting to reflect that Cyberpunkness in the music. We believe it is possible to retain a strong atmosphere, while incorporating many synthetic elements in the soundtrack.
The full Kickstarter update also includes mentions of the studio's approach to sound effects and VO. It also confirms that System Shock 2 music team member Josh "Robotkid" Randall will be helping on the remix of the original's soundtrack if the appropriate stretch goal is met. While Peros can't confirm this is doable, the developers are also exploring the possibility of offering an alternative mode that integrates this remixed soundtrack into the game, in an attempt to offer an experience that is closer to the original title.