The official Irrational Games website has been updated with the first of the team's promised behind-the-scenes articles. As "a window into the different ways that BioShock and System Shock 2 might have turned out", we're provided with a list of five features that were removed prior to their release. On SS2's missing log:
(One of the most controversial design decisions in Shock 2,) says designer Dorian Hart, (was to have the weapons degrade with use, and so be in regular need of repair. From a pure design standpoint, the goal was to ratchet up the feeling of constant tension. Part of what made Shock 2 such an emotional experience was that we never let the player get comfortable; having players know that their guns could jam in the middle of a fight played straight to that goal. The Internet had already caught on well before System Shock 2's release. Why not release the audio log in a patch?
(There was, and continues to be, backlash from the fans about that system and a majority of that criticism comes as complaints about the realism of the system. In real life, weapons don't noticeably degrade with each shot fired, and so it angered players that the Shock 2 weapons had that behavior.
(The maddening truth about that was, at least once during development, we talked about having an audio log in the game that talked about why that was happening enough so that some people on the team thought we actually shipped with it. The log would have explained that as part of their takeover, the Many had released a special corrosive gas into the Von Braun that damaged weapons but was harmless to organic creatures.
(Of course, in hindsight, the team has been kicking themselves for not including that audio log. In one fell 30-second swoop, we could have prevented about 80 percent of the complaints, or at least redirected them toward Xerxes and the Many, and away from the development team.)