When I first heard the rumors of a System Shock 3 release I could not believe it. This coupled with the released fan video of the Shodan reveal done in Cryengine was almost too much. I thought it was just a day dream, wishful thinking on someones part. I saw the name Otherside Entertainment mentioned in reference to SS3 and I had no idea who they were.
I did some research and found out they are comprised of people from Looking Glass Studios. I felt a bubbling up of excitement. I had not played a lot of PC games. There was a huge gap were I had no computer. Roughly from the early days when I had a hand me down Atari 800XL some time in 1987. I remember my first exposure to the RPG/dungeon Crawler type game Gateway to Apshai and Lode Runner. I also had the pleasure of playing Below The Root on my cousins Tandy when I went to visit her on occasion.
Due to moving turbulence I lost access to those machines and was devoid of a computer at home until 1996 where I scrounged up a C64 and and an Apple 2. Prior to that I had some access to computer labs…but none of them had the most cutting edge hardware…but I did use the C64 periodically during that time. But, sadly, around 96 my computer interest had waned somewhat, in preference to the NES and SNES.
I then had another turbulent move and lost access to all my machines. I was 16 and ended up in a small town living with my father. We lived in a converted Bus with little more than an extension cord for power. It was definitely a few years of living in bush shacks left me totally out of the loop in regards to what was out there in regards to games.
Then along comes 2002…I enter a small community college, where I am taking the usuall first year university transfer courses. And my reintroduction to computers begins. Google just became a thing…standardized email access, and some friends are playing System Shock 2 (Sorry guys…it was a pirated copy from HOTU but it seemed to be the only way to get it. Games were not very wide spread in my town at the time)…and I immediately fell in love.
Looking Glass Studios became a name I knew very well. I managed to work enough extra side jobs to scrounge up the money to get a used computer from a friend. I then discovered Thief. So, needless to say LGS was definitely a studio name I have come to regard as giving me one of the best game experiences I have have ever had…particularly with System Shock 2. Almost no other game compares. I later discovered Interplay/Black Isle Studios and Planescape Torment and Fallout 2 are games I hold as in high regard as System Shock 2 and Thief.
There are no games quite like them.
So, not being as poor as I used to be back then I decided to back Underworld Ascendant. Not from any nostalgia based on previous Underworld games…or the Ultima games. I had never experienced any of those games. But from my love of System Shock 2. I have played many games since and while there being many good ones, none seemed to capture what SS2 had. A unique, powerful world…one that really had drawn me in. Everything from the atmospheric music, strange level design, and Shodan’s iconic voice…it really established the feeling of being lost in a game world.
Very few other games have been able to achieve that. And I sincerely hope that UA has it’s own unique thing to show us…and is as immersive as SS2 is.
It was then shortly after backing Underworld that I heard an announcement for a System Shock reboot/ re imagining…call it what you will. I am not hung up on labels. That bubbling of excitement was stirring again. I had read a bit of information about Night Dive Studios…but was not very familiar with them. I then found out they had bought the System Shock IP. I was ecstatic. I was just discovering Steam, GOG and DRM free games. I had another turbulent move to the far north and had yet another break from current internet gaming trends.
Steam was very new to me…but some of the DRM annoyances I had encountered with Dead Space and Bioshock (Of course I jumped on those games ) really stuck with me. I did not have internet at home at the time. I was, yet again, living in a very rural community…this time near Alaska. I had to go to the local community college and down load no cd cracks for both games. So, I really loved what GOG was doing with DRM free games. Anyway…enough of that aside.
I had just discovered Night Dive Studios had acquired the System Shock IP and immediately bought a copy of both System Shock games on GOG. And as soon as the crowdfunding for the SS reboot was announced I was there to support the project.
Somehow, through the good grace of NDS staff I ended up as one of their forum moderators. I love being a part of these reemerging games similar to that of the older games that really made an impact.
Games of the caliber of System Shock 2, Thief, Fallout 2, and Planescape Torment are definitely needed and wanted.
A few other studios have done good jobs. Arcane, Visceral, and a few others. But often new games have been marred by current trends of MT and other major studio trends like QT events. Two particular things I do not care for in games.
In closing, It is great to see this current revival and especially seeing game creators such as Warren Specter, Paul Neurath, Bryan Fargo, and Feargus Urquart…to name a few, as well as the many emerging indie studios making interesting games.
Keep it up.