The crafting system isn’t that bad of an idea, but of course, it’s really subjetive what their crafting system may be. SS1 already had some things I would call progression, therefore, RPG elements. You were always upgrading your hardware/software with better versions that aided in moving forward with the game, but they weren’t an option you could choose when to upgrade, you just found them lying around, and it was practically dictated to you which upgrades you were going to get, and when.
With this reboot, the RPG elements they talk about could be something leading to options for those upgrades, you get an upgrade unit and use it to upgrade one of your hardwares. You still would have to find the hardware somewhere, but then upgrades would be an option. But there’s room for a lot of ideas to what RPG elements could be, like, some kind of progression by action, you run, you gain stamina and becomes better at running, you aim, your aiming becomes less shaky, and so on, which adds to the experience of a simulation.
Thinking about the upgrade system, you know, in System Shock you would always come through a lot of items with no function, and some of them you could think “there should be a use for that”, even though none of them looked much like something to upgrade a weapon, or whatever. But I think the upgrade system they’re looking for may go this way, some items you find lying around in the station would become usable for upgrading your weapons or amor (would be nice to be able to get armor, the station must have some, would be dumb to walk around using just your Watchmen t-shirt).
Other thing that comes to mind is, what if instead of new weapons you find lying around, you just upgrade your weapons to their respective better ones? Like, you upgrade the Sparq Beam to the Blaster, then the Blaster to the Ion, and then the Ion becomes the Plasma. It’s a good way to implement such system.
An idea that came to me when I played System Shock, and got really bothered by how much energy the weapons consume, is that, instead of the weapon draining directly from your energy bar, you charge it with some of your energy, pretty much like System Shock 2 does, and then you use this like a clip, not consuming directly from you, only when needing to recharge it. That would turn those weapons much more enjoyable to use. But then again, with the RPG elements they may be trying to bring, we may have upgrades to increase how much energy you can carry around, which is VERY needed.