The editors at Diehard GameFAN have wrangled up another "Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over, or Stay Dead?" feature, and this time they offer input on the potential future of the System Shock franchise. Given the fact that BioShock was supposed to be the franchise's "spiritual successor", their feelings are pretty mixed:
On the one hand, System Shock was a pretty outstanding series. SHODAN was a compelling villain, the games featured some interesting mechanics, and the first person shooter meets action RPG concept was well designed and executed. The game was everything Marathon wanted to be, only better, and the man in charge of the whole concept, Warren Spector, pretty much made this thing happen. As Thief and Deus Ex have shown, Spector has by no means run out of steam post System Shock, so lining him up to make a sequel would not only be awesome, but pretty much mandatory, and in an era where first person shooters have by no means lost steam popularity-wise and western RPG's have become somewhat popular, a sequel could easily be a big seller if designed and marketed correctly. The original BioShock was pretty good, but System Shock 2 was light years better. Give us a true System Shock 3, EA.
On the other hand, I've never been a big fan of Bioshock as a franchise, and while it's considered to be the spiritual successor to System Shock, the only thing it nails from its predecessor is the ambiance. Bioshock is fine for what it is (its sequel, somewhat less so), but it's essentially a dumbed-down System Shock that trades on its atmosphere and does nothing to improve on the formula. While there will inevitably be a third Bioshock, if the corporate suits have anything to say about it, I would sooner see a third System Shock, not only because it would be equally interesting and less contrived as a sequel, but also because it would more than likely end up being an overall better game.