System Shock Interview

Taking a break from their normal digital download service responsibilities, the team at GOG sat down with Nightdive Studios for an interview about their forthcoming remake of System Shock, the success if its Kickstarter campaign, and more. You can also score up to 80% off the entire Nightdive Studios collection while you're over there, so it's definitely worth a visit:

Apart from the visual and technical upgrade, what element of System Shock are you most excited to re-touch?

I think the greatest obstacle new players have when first experiencing System Shock is the amount of information thrown at them from the very start. You enter your name, select a difficulty level and bam! You’re hit with all these red boxes covering the screen with descriptions of each area of the UI which is also taking up 75% of the screen. Going back and streamlining that experience and introducing the player to each of those elements in meaningful ways that’s conducive with the overall design is what I’m really excited about. It’s going to be a huge challenge to make all the various systems that are integral to the experience easy to understand and access, but once we solve that problem the player will be able to focus on the game itself from the outset instead of that initial feeling of being overwhelmed with information. I’m also very excited at the potential of adding new, never before seen areas to Citadel Station and re-working and modifying existing areas to make them more believable. I think that’s one advantage Shock 2 has over the original. Many of the decks on board the Von Braun feel like lived-in spaces where the crew existed and went about their duties before tragedy struck. I really want to bring that sense of depth and atmosphere to the many locations on board Citadel Station.

Gamers are concerned that the ambitious stretch goals will add stuff to the game which will somewhat change the original's DNA. What's your take on these additions, as well as the feedback?

These proposed changes to the existing foundation of the game won’t alter the experience in a dramatic way - for example we want to make sure that the roleplaying aspect of the game comes naturally to the player and that we don’t force them to choose a role from the outset like in Shock 2 and have that dictate the experience. They should feel free to experiment with the mechanics in the game and not feel penalized for a prior choice should their play style evolve and change throughout the game. If you want to take a more stealthy approach and focus on hacking and avoiding combat our system will reward you for that and make you more proficient in those skills. It’s more of a behind the scenes approach that won’t take you out of the game for an extended period of time, forcing you to think about where to put skill points. As for the feedback, it’s justified. As soon as you start talking about messing with the formula of a beloved franchise you can see the torches being lit in the distance. We want to add our own unique touch to the game, but it won’t in any way violate what’s been established or change the basic foundation of the game.