We who bring back the golden classics from the dead
Night Dive Studios has gone from a pretty unknown studio and publisher to a very well-known and liked company in a rather short period of time (the studio was founded by Stephen Kick back in 2012). However, Night Dive´s big breakthrough came in February, 2013. So, what happened in 2013 then? Well, that was the year when the studio got the digital distribution rights for “System Shock 2” (the game had been none available for over 13 years before Night Drive released the game). And that resulted in a huge success as “System Shock 2” was the most user-requested game on GOG.com (SS2 landed on Steam a couple of months later, in May to be exact).In other words, Night Dive Studios made themselves a name in the games industry, and among Gamers (I got a chance to do a Q and A interview with them just recently. So I hope to publish the interview as soon as possible!).
And good thing that, because thanks to the success with “System Shock 2”. Night Dive has digitally re-released games such as:
The 7th Guest
The 11th Hour
Tex Murphy (pretty much the whole series)
Bad Mojo Redux
Turok 1 and 2
With many more!
Not to mention their own releases:
Strife: Veteran Edition (2014)
System Shock: Enhanced Edition (2015)
System Shock Remastered (TBA)
System Shock 3 (TBA)
So I think it´s safe to say that Night Dive lives up to their slogan and ambition:
“Night Dive Studios believes that classic video games should never be abandoned or forgotten. They should be available to play at any time, run out of the box without the hassle of installing outdated drivers, or using obsolete hardware. Movies are restored, Books are digitized, and Art is preserved to be appreciated for all time. Why should Games be any different? We know there are countless games that are still unavailable, and we’re doing our best to bring them back from the depths to be treasured once more. Night Dive Studios consists of top tiered industry veterans passionate about developing original and innovative games with a strong emphasis on fun and rewarding experiences.” – Night Dive Studios
System Shock 1 memories
With that said, it´s time for me to focus on the only title (besides “System Shock 3“) that I want more than “Half-Life 3” (just make it happen Gaben!). And that´s “System Shock 1 Remastered”, which would be a full-blown remake (Unity Engine) of Looking Glass classic FPS/acion/adventure/RPG cyberpunk game “System Shock” from 1994 (Warren Spector and Doug Church were the key people of the SS1 project).
And…Well, I don´t know about you, but 1994 was a very important year for me. Because that was the year that I found out about “Ghost in the shell“, Bullfrog´s “Syndicate“, BlueSky Software´s “Shadowrun” and William Gibson´s “Neuromancer“. Long story short, I became a cyberpunk fan over a night pretty much. And although those titles are some of the most awesome cyberpunk creations to date. I still have to say that it was Looking Glass Studios “System Shock 1” that blew me away, because the game changed and challenged me as a person on many levels (my perception of things and life changed once I started to play SS1). You see. SS1 is full of deep philosophical thoughts and ideas (SS1 is the kind of game that makes you think outside of the box). And even though I was just 11 years old at the time. I was very stubborn to advance in the game (my understanding for written and English speech wasn´t the best, and SS1 is a rather hard game as well), and that stubbornness paid-off big time.
Not only that, thanks to SS1 I also got really interested in hardware and software (“System Shock 1” made me curious about technology and code in general). Other than that, I would soon discover that it´s most definitely possible to combine sci-fi and cyberpunk with horror in a video game. And that was something which I had never experienced before. So “System Shock 1” offered me a truly unique gameplay experience. In the matter of fact, most of the time I had no idea what was waiting for me just around the corner. And when you mix “the unknown“, “adventure lust”, “curiosity” with an interesting plot (you play as a nameless hacker whose mission is to hack SHODAN. Which is an artificial intelligence that controls the Citadel Station) and entertaining gameplay mechanics. Then you have a really awesome game on your hands.
However, “System Shock 1” was released way back in 1994 (that´s 22 years ago). So it´s been a very long time since the game was on top of the line (if you know what I mean?). Well…Let´s just say that the game doesn´t exactly live up to today’s graphical standards. I´m of course aware of the enhanced edition of “System Shock 1, which adds higher resolution (up to 1024×768, and 854×480 widescreen mode), bug fixes and some other neat stuff (Night Drive Studios released the Enhanced Edition of SS1 last year. Even so, let´s be honest. “System Shock 1” is very outdated when it comes to graphics.
What I hope and expect of the System Shock remake
And that´s also why I got very excited when I watched Night Dive Studios alpha gameplay trailer for “System Shock 1 Remastered” (which I did one week ago), as the game looks freaking awesome! (the game runs on the Unity Engine). And since Night Dive has already proven themselves to be worthy of working with the “System Shock” IP (“System Shock: Enhanced Edition” received some really good grades and user feedback). I really felt like the remake of “System Shock 1” would be in safe and professional hands with Night Dive. Especially since Night Dive brought in System Shock’s original concept artist, Robert Waters. And not only that, Waters and Nigh Dive has the following ambition for “System Shock 1 Remastered”:
“After 20 years, we are remastering and re-imagining the original System Shock. We will keep the new game true to the classic experience, keeping all the things you loved, while updating the user interface and graphics to use a modern-day engine (Unity).” – Night Dive Studios
And based on what I´ve seen from the alpha gameplay video of “System Shock 1 Remastered”, I am very satisfied with the graphical aspect of the game. And it seems like Night Dive has nailed the creepy sci-fi/cyberpunk environment as well. It also appears as if Night Dive has taken full advantage of all the awesome Unity Engine, when it comes to shadow and lighting effects (check the trailer and the pictures in my article). Well, I find those graphical effects to be really cool at least. Any ways, besides that I got the impression that the in-game physics engine is pretty advanced as well (when you hit enemies, pick-up, drop and move stuff around).
Well, I don´t know about you, but the “System Shock 1 Remastered” trailer made me think about a mix of “Bioshock“, “Deus Ex“, “Aliens” and old-school “System Shock” (but with today´s graphics). And even though the trailer is based on alpha in-game footage. I think it´s quite clear that Night Dive intends to stay very true to the original “System Shock” formula. So I truly hope that the System Shock remake project will become the “Resident Evil Remake” of “System Shock” (in my opinion, RE Remake is one of THE best video game remakes ever made). However, as you might already know.
Night Dive plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign for “System Shock 1 Remastered” (there is no launch date at this time, but it´s said that the campaign will kick-off very soon). So that means that SS1 RE needs to reach it´s Kickstarter goal in-order to become a reality (if SS1 RE gets fully funded, then the game will be released to PC and Xbox One sometime during 2017). Well, I´m going to pretend that SS1 RE does indeed reach it´s Kickstarter goal on time. Especially since I´ve put together my own wish list for SS1 RE (you will find the list down below!).
So here we go!
My SS1 RE wish list:
1. The soundtrack is very VERY important to the System Shock universe. So it would be great if Night Dive brought in either SS1 or SS2´s composers for the SS1 RE soundtrack.
2. Tons of sci-fi/cyberpunk horrors and creepy environments
3. There should be plenty of hacking moments in the game
4. Full virtual reality support
5. A less buggy version than the original game would be nice
6. It would be awesome if the annoying aspects of SS1 could be resolved in the remake (dated controls, for example)
7. More weapon upgrades, items, etc.
8. It would be great to have some more possibilities and options for character development
9. Less running, more fighting and exploring, thank you (you´re always on the run in the original game)
10. A PS4 version of SS1 RE (why shouldn´t the PS4 owners get a chance to play the SS1 Remake
With that said, what are your hopes, expectations and wishes for “System Shock 1 Remastered”? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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