Stephen Kick posted an update on Kickstarter announcing the end of the hiatus and explaining the reasons behind it as well as the future direction the game will be taking.
We had a brief respite, and took the time necessary to make some tough decisions which included saying goodbye to some of the developers that you’ve come to know through past updates. What we’re left with is a concentrated team that consists of the original developers who worked on the Unity demo. With that said, let’s take a look at the work we’re doing.
So what does this mean?
It means we’ve gone back to the original vision we shared with you at the start of our Kickstarter campaign - this time with more reliable performance and higher fidelity visuals thanks to the Unreal Engine.
Are we starting over, is this all that’s done?
No, we’re not starting over. We have been able to re-use the majority of work we’ve done over the past year and we’re making significant progress in a very short amount of time. With that said we’ll be inviting our highest tier backers to privately test the game beginning in September at which point we estimate that the game will be fully playable, from start to finish. The majority of the art won’t be finished, but we’ll be ready to start high-level testing.[/QUOTE]
He also answered some backer questions posted on Discord.
[QUOTE]At this current moment in time, how many things are you planning to change within the game in regards to story, gameplay, and level design?
The story is going to remain unchanged but with the additional logs/emails added in from the backers of the CITADEL CREW MEMBER pledge. Gameplay will be very similar to what you experienced in the original game with the largest difference being the UI which is a hybrid of Shock and Shock 2.
What changes do you think NDS will be making with the remake’s direction in terms of its style and feel?
We’re going to be re-visiting the style and feel of the original game. I personally feel as though we hit the mark the first time and by applying what we’ve learned while working in Unreal we can achieve a similar look and feel but with enhanced performance. Our intent with the art direction so far is to bring more of the vibrant colors of the original game while keeping the oppressive atmosphere of a rundown Citadel Station. We’re even incorporating some old school techniques like using sprite sheets for the animated computer screens.
While the remake is certainly getting made, I had the sense that it will be somewhat pared back compared to the original expanded-upon-the-original vision we heard about in earlier updates. Will this mean a game more akin to the original - closer to a 1:1 remake, or will there still be some expansion on the original System Shock’s story and concept?
This will be closer to a 1:1 remake with updates to the weapon/character designs but without altering the core gameplay of the original. Expect to see something resembling the direction of the Unity demo.
Has the KS funding pool been toasted, if it has, can you sustain the investment required to get to the end 2019 timeline from your residual revenues (or will this potentially mean the project takes longer as funds have to trickle in)?
We still have the funds necessary to complete the game, but the timeline will inevitably move back with our shift in direction.
Is there prospectively more risk of slippage past 2019 (if so, best brace for it nice and early)? What is the exit plan if the project becomes non-viable?
Yes, at this stage the game could slip past 2019. Our only plan is to finish the game and deliver on the promise we made to our Kickstarter backers.
Which people still work on the SS1 reboot, as of now?
I’ve personally taken over as game director and I am now leading a team of developers, some of who worked on the original System Shock and the Unity demo.
Are you willing to share some details on why/how no successful publishing deal has been achieved yet, and how do you guys think you will still be able to get a publishing deal going in the future?
I am, but those details will be part of an exhaustive Post Mortem I’ll share once the game has shipped.
At what point in time, roughly, had NDS realized scope creep had hit the project?
It was soon after the Kickstarter when the team offered many suggestions that seemed great on their own, but in aggregate represented too much of a departure. However, I approved the proposed changes in scope after receiving positive feedback and a verbal commitment from a publisher to fund the game and the new design we submitted. We promised a bigger, better game and we were told that the game was going to be funded beyond the amount we raised on Kickstarter. Unfortunately, that deal fell through 7 months later for reasons we are still not clear on. To put it bluntly, we were left high and dry after making crucial, consequential changes in staff and scope.
My question is whether you have considered or looked into doing physical releases of any of your re-released PC games? If you have considered it, is there anything that made it not worth doing or prohibitively difficult to do? My understanding is it’s a real pain to get physical games published on Xbox, but are physical console releases something you have considered or would consider for future console game releases? I’m guessing most of this is stuff you probably don’t want to discuss publicly until it happens, but it would be very cool to see some physical Nightdive releases one day.
We’ve considered it! We have to find the right partner to help us achieve that goal, but for some of our PC-Only releases I’d love to have classic “Big-Box” copies re-issued. We’re currently looking into releasing physical editions of Turok & Turok 2 for Xbox One.[/QUOTE]