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Kickstart and Burn: System Shock Remaster Put on Hold After Collecting $1.3M

Raevenlord

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Kickstarter has had some amazing success stories; but it's also had quite the number of unbelievable fails. And the failures to deliver are usually much more impressive, and generate much more press, than the actual success stories - that's just the way of the beast. Now, gamers waiting for the eventual remaster of what this editor has been told is one of the most groundbreaking games of its time - System Shock - have been left in a somewhat spacey environment, as the developer has come out to say that the game has been put on hold - but not cancelled. Nightdive Studios sold its vision to 21,625 Kickstarter backers, which collectively donated more than $1.3M - and some 21,331 extra backers on Backerit, which donated $107,199.83 more to the cause.

Nightdive Studios' CEO Stephen Kick, in a campaign update, revealed that at some point along the way, the vision for the game veered from a remaster to what would essentially become a whole new game. The decision to also change the development engine from Unity to Unreal Engine 4 - which the developers say they don't regret - has also shaved much time and resources from the original intended development effort. Here's hoping this isn't a full 180 on the game's development, and that we do see the light of day for this project - in a way that makes all the backers feel as if their hard-earned money - and the journey they've gone to to see the remaster come to fruition - hasn't been in vain. I, for one, would love to play a modern rendition of System Shock. Look after the break for some of the core ideas in Nightdive Studios' CEO Stephen Kick message to backers.





"As our concept grew and as our team changed, so did the scope of what we were doing and with that the budget for the game. As the budget grew, we began a long series of conversations with potential publishing partners. The more that we worked on the game, the more that we wanted to do, and the further we got from the original concepts that made System Shock so great.

Ultimately the responsibility for the decisions rests with me. As the CEO and founder of Nightdive Studios, a company that was built on the restoration of the System Shock franchise, I let things get out of control. I can tell you that I did it for all the right reasons, that I was totally committed to making a great game, but it has become clear to me that we took the wrong path, that we turned our backs on the very people who made this possible, our Kickstarter backers.

I have put the team on a hiatus while we reassess our path so that we can return to our vision. We are taking a break, but NOT ending the project. Please accept my personal assurance that we will be back and stronger than ever. System Shock is going to be completed and all of our promises fulfilled."


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That's a convoluted way of saying "we ran out of money".
 
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As a matter of reassurance, maybe they could provide a list of spending so that people can get a grasp of what happened. I think not :)
 
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Honestly, their explanation sounds plausible. Stopping to try and figure out what to do about feature creep and about moving (way) out of original scope seems healthy.

As far as money goes, Kickstarter never is a full promise anyway. Everyone who gave them money has only themselves and their risk assessment to blame if Nightdive just spent the money on coke and hookers as someone put it in one of the previous posts. That includes me, I am a backer of their System Shock thing.
 
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In my point of view a full-fledged reboot is always better than remake, but in this case I'm a bit scared...
So far the progress is there, ideas are there, new engine is awesome and the artwork is cool, but overall it starts to look more and more like a rehash of Prey (which in its turn is a spiritual descendant of System Shock). The only thing that can make it stand out is a good story, not graphics or game mechanics.
 

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I bet they'll take the money and run. Personally, I will only pay for a finished product, because of the trust factor.
 
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I'm not surprised. During process they realized that just remaking it will not be enough. System Shock 1 was ahead of its time back then, but for today's standards, it's a bit archaic quite frankly.
 
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In my point of view a full-fledged reboot is always better than remake, but in this case I'm a bit scared...
So far the progress is there, ideas are there, new engine is awesome and the artwork is cool, but overall it starts to look more and more like a rehash of Prey (which in its turn is a spiritual descendant of System Shock). The only thing that can make it stand out is a good story, not graphics or game mechanics.
I think the opposite. If a game was good once that doesn't change. Clean up gameplay mechanics and controls, improve graphics and audio, and leave the core unchanged.

Especially if funding is obtained on the promise of remaking it.
 
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I think the opposite. If a game was good once that doesn't change. Clean up gameplay mechanics and controls, improve graphics and audio, and leave the core unchanged.

Especially if funding is obtained on the promise of remaking it.
I think you'd be surprised how clunky a direct copy with better graphics would be in 2018 - take a look at Skyrim or Fallout 4 for evidence on using outdated engines. Also, you say clean up gameplay mechanics and controls... but that essentially means 'reboot' in case you missed what most other 'reboots' have done. Clean up = simplify/streamline = console standards of today.
 
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I think you'd be surprised how clunky a direct copy with better graphics would be in 2018 - take a look at Skyrim or Fallout 4 for evidence on using outdated engines. Also, you say clean up gameplay mechanics and controls... but that essentially means 'reboot' in case you missed what most other 'reboots' have done. Clean up = simplify/streamline = console standards of today.
When I say clean up I mean fixing problems or refining rougher mechanics rather than completely reworking game systems. Take Syndicate for example, the reboot is almost entirely different.
 
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As a matter of reassurance, maybe they could provide a list of spending so that people can get a grasp of what happened. I think not :)
Because that cant be faked. :rolleyes:
 
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When I say clean up I mean fixing problems or refining rougher mechanics rather than completely reworking game systems. Take Syndicate for example, the reboot is almost entirely different.
I get you, but that's just it, its not a black/white difference between the two. In fact, if all the remakes and reboots told us one thing, its that its entirely grey.

A really great example of this is how DOTA evolved - it started as a modded map in Warcraft 3 and turned into what it is today. Up until today you can STILL 'creep stack' which relies on a quirk of the Warcraft 3 engine where once you pull a mob off the spawn position, and the timer for respawns passes, it will spawn a new set of mobs. This quirk was deliberately built into future versions of the game on different engines, when in fact it was an undesirable piece of code in the original that turned into gameplay mechanic.
 
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I think the opposite. If a game was good once that doesn't change. Clean up gameplay mechanics and controls, improve graphics and audio, and leave the core unchanged.
Yet, reboots for some reason are always more successful than remasters, because core mechanics, storytelling and human mentality from 20 years ago does not always apply to today's world. Most of the stuff that was "cool" back in a day could be considered cheezy or lame even by the same people who enjoyed that stuff back in a day.

Doing the same exact game on a new engine won't make a great gaming experience, just like painting the house and patching holes in the roof won't make it a luxurious condo. You need to overhaul the whole thing from ground up.
 
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Night Dive Studios' expertise lies in re-releases. Anything that expands beyond that is largely uncharted territory for them. When you move from a template to a clean slate, you need a good project manager to make sure the project stays on the straight and narrow. That clearly didn't happen. NDS realized there was a problem and moving to rectify it but the question always is: "was it caught soon enough?" If no, game could be doomed. If yes, there's still hope.

I hope NDS learned from the experience.


Honestly, their explanation sounds plausible. Stopping to try and figure out what to do about feature creep and about moving (way) out of original scope seems healthy.
That's terrible project management. Features that are not critical are supposed to be at the bottom of the to-do list in the first place. Further, they're announcing publically what should be an internal process. It sounds to me like they're out of operational revenue and are shelving the project for other projects that are less risky to pay the bills (likely re-releases).

When crowdfunding, they never ask for the full amount that is needed to fully produce the product otherwise it won't meet the funding goals to get any funding whatsoever. Games that ask for $300,000 really need closer to $2 million to fully produce. Why do they do this? Because that $300,000 is enough to build a demo they can show to publishers and get it on Early Access to raise more money to finish production. This is why so many crowdfunding/Early Access games end up abandoned.

There really aren't any publishers willing to take on new games. There's a ton of fish in the sea but there's only a handful of fisherman casting lines into it. The rise of indie (crowding of the market) has made it very risky to publish games.
 
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