System Shock 2 Remaster?


I was just watching the Twitch stream of Night Dive playing Thief, hosted by the SS1 Reboot’s audio lead, Jonathan Peros. Casually interested in the guy, I looked up his website and read his resume. And what did I see?

[b]Other Audio Work[/b] Undisclosed System Shock 2 work - TBA

I haven’t followed the kickstarter that closely, but I haven’t heard of the reboot including any audio from SS2. And if it were part of the reboot, why would it be listed separately and as TBA?

Here’s hoping it means what I think it means. If so, sorry for getting you in trouble, Jon.


I think that means that System Shock 2 remake is to be announced.


They’ve said they don’t really want to make a SS2 remake, though. They think it still holds up pretty well, especially with mods.


I’ve actually read otherwise, if I’m not mistaken. If I remember right, they said that a remake of SS2 was to be expected if the remake of the first one was a success. But I can’t back this up with any links, sadly, just throwing some things from memory alley, things that could actually be a creation of my, eager for a SS2 remake, mind.


I agree. A few months ago I replayed it with the GOG version plus SHTUP and Vurt’s mods, and it’s fantastic – completely playable and no worse on the eyes than the original Half-Life appears today.


Stephen Kick talked about it recently on the Matt Barton show. He said something along the lines that if they are going to do it, then it might be in 10 years or so when/if the advancements in technology warrant it:


One thing would have been a simple denial until they were ready, but I find it hard to imagine Kick giving that kind of a reason to say no all the while they were preparing a demo for a rainy day. Hopefully he is not as manipulative and dishonest as that.

But if no remaster is coming, what possible intent could Night Dive have with SS2? By his own reasoning, there is no further modification needed, and as a game company games are presumably the extent of what they would do with the IP. Make System Shock Infinite an official product?

I have no clue. Nor real interest outside of a remaster, for that matter.


Well, I would guess it has something to do with remixes.


So far, they have never said they are interested a SS2 remaster/-make/boot. But they have said that they have discussed the matter, and the probability of it happening would increase if the SS1 reboot performs well. So, don’t expect any news on this for quite a while yet.


After trying to play co-op on Twitch, they really wanted to remake the multiplayer, though :smiley:


Good. Shock 2 holds up just fine. It could always be better, but remaking it in Unity 5 would hardly be worthwhile.


System Shock 2 was an incomplete game, you can really see this at the final parts. It didn’t had a cyberspace, nor a refined soundtrack (even though it was still really good). I would like to see a remake just to mend those cracks. It wouldn’t be the old System Shock 2, of course, but rather something else and probably something more.


Why do you think not implementing a cyberspace minigame made SS2 “incomplete?”

I’m not trying to defend SS2 or its developers. I’m just curious why you think it was faulty for not copying features of the original game.


I’m not tying cyberspace to the fact it’s incomplete, it’s just a part of everything. They actually wanted to implement cyberspace, but were unable to because of limits the Dark Engine had, even though those limits could have been worked on, had they more time. And cyberspace is not just a minigame, it was actually relevant to SS1’s gameplay in general and a defining part of it.

System Shock 2 ran into time constraint problems during production, being owned by EA at the time, they fell to the corporate bureaucracy and couldn’t finish the game as they intended. The last parts of the game (the Rickenbacker and The Body of the Many) show this by their map design that was more linear, less focused on exploration. There may have been other things they wanted to implement in the game, but lack of time deprived them, and those things could be put on a remake. Also, Robotkid was still working on testing the music and had only prototypes that were used, being remixed by Eric Brosius to fit the game.

That’s basically it.


So it lacks polish. Figures, as the game annoys the heck outta me. Knowing that a remake would have that sort of excuse to modify mechanics and design really makes me want to see one.


wut? System Shock 2 is pure game design excellence. Like many games it does lack polish in some respects, though nothing demanding a remake out of necessity.


For what it’s worth, I’d dig a remake with cyberspace. Just keep the original mechanics.


+polish and expand upon them where it is logical to do so. If we must have a remake that is. I personally don’t see much point. The game can always be better, but it holds up just fine and I doubt many have the informed perspective, talent and financial standing to be able to faithfully make the game better in the form of a remake. The work of modders will do just fine when it comes to SS2 advancement.

We’ll see how NightDive fare with SS1 though, maybe they have what it takes, maybe not.


I think a remake would be great. I know many who won’t play System Shock 2 because of its outdated mechanics, comparing it with Bioshock even. And really, when it comes to how well implemented some mechanics were, Bioshock is light years ahead (even System Shock 1 had some things that worked better there, most of them puzzles). All skills, or at least many of them, feel useful and have tactical depth, something System Shock 2 lacked when it came to Psionics. Not only this, but System Shock 2’s gunplay was pretty rudimentary (even though I don’t feel it is that bad, it’s so much better than Deus Ex for instance), if you compare it to Half Life, that came even earlier, it is just bad. Not to mention the horribly implemented degradation mechanic that could have been left out of the game as it doesn’t make that much sense, disconsidering some fan theories. All in all, I think a remake would be good as in updating the game’s graphics, some of its mechanics such as Hacking, Cyberspace, any other puzzle solving (anything dependent on luck is BS), balancing out everything stat-related and also some of the guns that were lackluster, making psionics relevant and tactical, working on the last levels of the game so that they’re non-linear, just like the rest, and maybe adding some more things, if possible, like a bigger roster of enemies.

A System Shock 2 remake would be really good in my view, those who didn’t play it back then and aren’t up to play it nowadays would have an option to go to, and it would be an awesome experience to those who have already played the old one, pretty much like it will be with System Shock 1’s remake. In the end, we’ll still have the classic one should a remake not come up to our expectations.


This is kind of an off-topic ramble, but I dunno if you can say Half-Life’s gunplay was better than SS2. I mean degradation aside (did anyone like that mechanic?), I don’t see how you can compare the two as better or worse. This is because Half-Life was built off of Quake, while System Shock 2 was built off Thief, and those are two fundamentally different styles of gameplay with different pacing. A large part of SS2’s appeal comes from its pacing I think, that is tied to its atmosphere. Someone will suggest the point of having different classes for differing gameplay styles. OK, but would you want an SS2 that lets you play it as a Quake style game? From a development view, how would you cater for radically different playstyles and have each done excellently while also fitting into the same game world? That would end up with the game having an identity crisis. At some point it’s better to just have different games rather than one big game trying to execute a bunch of different playstyles and ultimately coming up with something a bit compromised and overstretched. Even something as open ended as Deus Ex won’t play like Quake, or at least be as good a game of Quake as the real thing. Maybe from a business sense you’d want to appeal to as many gamers as possible, but I don’t think System Shock should try and be like Half-Life in any way just to get more people playing it; there needs to be a good creative reason for that, not just “lets appeal to those gamers who won’t touch this game because it’s not like that other game they like.” A little bit of variation is nice, but with SS2 it’s basically all the same game no matter what class you play as, the different classes are just minor changes and I think that’s a good thing because it spices up the same basic game.

On topic of remastering: a remaster should primarily be a remaster, not revisionism. Otherwise it’s that George Lucas type mentality that ends up annoying fans.