I think you have explained the situation fairly eloquently. I have seen a lot of posts on the kickstarter stating “How hard is it to make a game” and “Can’t Night Dive Studios just reskin the assets…The game is already made.” IE…just slap a new coat of paint on it and roll it out. I cant count how many times I have said it is not so easy as that…
Even to go so far as to give concrete examples of other games doing similar things and showing comparison development times. Sadly it has not made a difference with the people who have their minds made up with the preconceived notion of how game development works. It is saddening but, despite a lot of the rumblings, I still see a bright future ahead for the System Shock reboot.
Was mutant dismemberment a part of the original Looking Glass vision for System Shock? There was a lot of mixed feelings among the backers about some of those mechanics. Actually there was a lot of mixed reviews about a lot of the current SS reboot direction. It felt…and still feels fairly divided equally on the two directions…with a bunch of people sitting in the middle liking aspects of both. I do feel, however that NDS going back to the original core design will please a lot of the backers on all sides.
I feel like the System Shock development team has undertaken a challenging game to reboot. It is of a very complex nature and with modern engine capabilities it can become even more so. There are also a lot of expectations from backers. Some from players of the original game, some having never played any of them…and this can lead to a lot of mixed ideas about how they envision the game to be.
This was reflected in the comments, mini polls, feedback, and the Kickstarter questionnaire that was sent out. The results of which where that a lot of people liked a hybrid game of the original System Shock with elements from System Shock 2. A lot of questions were also asked on what people thought of Prey’s level design and there was a Discord and forum feed back section to get peoples ideas. Sadly, a lot of people on the Kickstarter, the Discord, and the NDS forums (some very active members) did not take the survey, or did not really put as much thought into it. The people that spoke up when I asked commented as such. This presents a problem as some of the current direction is based on that feedback.
I am one of those backers that was sitting in the middle. I liked aspects of both directions and think they can take the best of both and make something really good. This has just been a part of the development process. However it was the fabulous Unity demo that drew me in. But the same effects can be done in Unreal. Of that I am sure.
I think Nightdive studios has to follow their gut on this one. It is good to take feedback but in the end of the day…they are the ones making the game. Stephen Kick, Daniel Grayshon, Karlee, and other NDS and SS dev team staff generally have a passion for System Shock.