Remastered System Shock on Hiatus

A Kickstarter update from Nightdive Studios has bad news for backers of their planned remastered version of System Shock, the seminal action/RPG. They admit to losing their way, and say the project is on hiatus while they attempt to get their mojo back. The project raised over $1.3 million in crowdsourced funding, and they confess that taking in more money than they anticipated actually set them on the wrong path. CEO Stephen Kick takes responsibility for this in his explanation. Here's the update:
In March of 2016, Nightdive Studios released our video of our vision of System Shock Remastered. Done in Unity it was an immediate hit with almost a half million views on YouTube. In June of 2016 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the vision into a reality. It was tremendously successful with over 21,000 backers contributing over $1.3 million to the campaign. We put together a development team and began working on the game. But along the way something happened.

Maybe we were too successful. Maybe we lost our focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a Remaster to a completely new game. We shifted engines from Unity to Unreal, a choice that we don’t regret and one that has worked out for us. With the switch we began envisioning doing more, but straying from the core concepts of the original title.

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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54.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 19, 2018, 14:44
Kxmode
 
54.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 19, 2018, 14:44
Feb 19, 2018, 14:44
 Kxmode
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 18, 2018, 03:27:
Kxmode wrote on Feb 18, 2018, 00:54:
Prez wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 07:00:
Kxmode wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 05:17:
Prez wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 00:42:
Kxmode wrote on Feb 16, 2018, 21:34:
Unity is the McDonald's of game engines. And just like McDonalds, the products produced in that engine are mostly garbage. It also gives unfocused dingalings the ability to quickly produce a dazzling demo and then beg for money. Kind of like the fancy signs homeless people create asking for money.

Clearly you have not seen the pre-alpha build they gave to Jim Sterling to run through some time back. It looked fucking fantastic and was more than just a slapped -together demo. Unity is a fine engine for developers with actual talent and skill. It's not Unit's fault that so many talentless hacks pretending to be ddevelopers use it to throw no effort garbage on Steam to make a quick buck.

That's the point. They are talent-less hacks pretending to be developers. Otherwise they wouldn't have, in their own words, lost their "focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a Remaster to a completely new game."

I think you're mistaking a lack of discipline, maturity, and business sense with a lack of talent.

They are one and the same. All the talent in the world is meaningless if the person doesn't know how to make a profitable business out of their talent. That's besides the fact that people gave them money for a promise that they broke. That's the purest example of no talent.

You're making generalizations. A game studio is comprised of many developers, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with marketing, PR or business decisions. Gameplay programmers, engine programmers, gameplay designers, level designers, riggers, concept artists, environmental artists, character artists, VFX artists, animators, sound designers, etc. It's not their job to manage the budget or scope of the project.

You're correct. Except in this case, the studio is small indie label. The CEO issuing the apologies is likely one of the main developers and also has insight into the budget.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
Avatar 18786
53.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 12:23
53.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 12:23
Feb 18, 2018, 12:23
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 18, 2018, 00:04:
wtf_man wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 21:52:
Pretty much done backing games on Kickstarter. Not that I have backed very many, but every single one has been mismanaged or turned into something that wasn't what I originally backed.

I've had the opposite experience. The majority of my backed projects have turned out successfully. Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity: Original Sin 1 & 2, Broken Age, Consortium, Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Overfall, Banner Saga, Sheltered, Hard West, Diluvion, Dex, A Hat in Time, Unrest, Road Redemption, Torment, Dreamfall Chapters, Dead State, Carmageddon: Reincarnation, etc.

Not all projects ended up being as good as I'd hoped but that's true of all games regardless of funding model. Overall, I've been happy with crowdfunded output and have no issues continuing to support it.

How to have good results with crowdfunding:
- Don't back projects by people that have never shipped a game before (or haven't shipped one in over a decade).
- Understand how much games actually cost to develop (hint: they're really, really expensive).
- If you back something because of nostalgia, recognize that what you loved so long ago may not quite hold up anymore.
- Don't pledge more than $30. Those higher tier rewards might look enticing but if the project fails, you won't get anything at all. The riskier the project, the less you should pledge.
- Realize that the release date estimates are almost guaranteed to be wrong and development will take an additional 1-3 years.
- Don't get too attached to specific features or content described in the initial pitch. Game development is an iterative process and features/content will inevitably be changed or cut.

Wasteland 2 was the only exception for what I backed.
I consider Broken Age in the "mismanaged" category... I won't give Tim another Dime, crowdfunding-wise.

And yes... I mostly follow those guidlines.

I have System Shock, Squadron 42, and Shroud of the Avatar left to go. Kingdom Come... even though I backed it I will probably get the GOG version since I'm trying to get off Steam completely.

Like I said... I haven't backed many... but if you look at the ratio of my results... it ain't good.
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!
Avatar 19499
52.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 11:32
52.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 11:32
Feb 18, 2018, 11:32
 
RedEye9 wrote on Feb 18, 2018, 11:25:
...hopefully it will help those that have zero self-control and don't understand game development or human nature.

LoL!!! Perhaps you can educate everybody, I'm sure we can all learn something from you
Avatar 55702
51.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 11:25
51.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 11:25
Feb 18, 2018, 11:25
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 18, 2018, 00:04:
How to have good results with crowdfunding:
- Don't back projects by people that have never shipped a game before (or haven't shipped one in over a decade).
- Understand how much games actually cost to develop (hint: they're really, really expensive).
- If you back something because of nostalgia, recognize that what you loved so long ago may not quite hold up anymore.
- Don't pledge more than $30. Those higher tier rewards might look enticing but if the project fails, you won't get anything at all. The riskier the project, the less you should pledge.
- Realize that the release date estimates are almost guaranteed to be wrong and development will take an additional 1-3 years.
- Don't get too attached to specific features or content described in the initial pitch. Game development is an iterative process and features/content will inevitably be changed or cut.
These are all common sense rules.
Thanks for listing them, hopefully it will help those that have zero self-control and don't understand game development or human nature.
A mask is not a political statement.
It's an IQ test. It's a compassion test. It's a decency test. It's a social responsibility test.
Cover Your Eyes for even more protection.
Avatar 58135
50.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 11:09
50.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 11:09
Feb 18, 2018, 11:09
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 18, 2018, 00:04:

How to have good results with crowdfunding:
- Don't back projects by people that have never shipped a game before (or haven't shipped one in over a decade).
- Understand how much games actually cost to develop (hint: they're really, really expensive).
- If you back something because of nostalgia, recognize that what you loved so long ago may not quite hold up anymore.
- Don't pledge more than $30. Those higher tier rewards might look enticing but if the project fails, you won't get anything at all. The riskier the project, the less you should pledge.
- Realize that the release date estimates are almost guaranteed to be wrong and development will take an additional 1-3 years.
- Don't get too attached to specific features or content described in the initial pitch. Game development is an iterative process and features/content will inevitably be changed or cut.

Really good rules to go by, well said.

This was my first pledge, I jumped into it with my nostalgia tinted glasses, full go ahead, well won't be making that mistake again, that is for sure.

Perhaps it will be completed one day, perhaps it will not, however the way things are going I'm not very optimistic, I can't even log into Night Dive forums, for some reason their authentication does not send out any verification codes anymore.

In any case, their lack of involvement with their backer community, scarce presence on their forums. It's hard to stay optimistic.

Their involvement with Starbreeze was the final nail in the coffin, I will take the game, if it ever sees the light of day, but doubt I will ever support Night Dive again.
Avatar 55702
49.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 09:46
49.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 09:46
Feb 18, 2018, 09:46
 
I have the same outlook as Jeryk.

My backed projects to date and not all of these are games:

Delivered/Successful
Torment
Divinity Original Sin 2
Wasteland 2
Shadowrun: Hong Kong
Wasteland Playing Cards
Numenera: Into The Ninth World
Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000
Riding Bean High Octane Edition Anime Blu-ray

In Process/Dev
Battletech
System Shock
Copper Dreams
Arcadian Atlas
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove
The Bards Tale IV
The Arthurian Playing Cards
Simulacra Games: The Wilson Wolfe Affair

Usually I'm confident the product will deliver for what I backed, but at the same time I understand the risks - in general I still support KS as a platform.

This comment was edited on Feb 18, 2018, 10:15.
Avatar 37119
48.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 03:27
48.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 03:27
Feb 18, 2018, 03:27
 
Kxmode wrote on Feb 18, 2018, 00:54:
Prez wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 07:00:
Kxmode wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 05:17:
Prez wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 00:42:
Kxmode wrote on Feb 16, 2018, 21:34:
Unity is the McDonald's of game engines. And just like McDonalds, the products produced in that engine are mostly garbage. It also gives unfocused dingalings the ability to quickly produce a dazzling demo and then beg for money. Kind of like the fancy signs homeless people create asking for money.

Clearly you have not seen the pre-alpha build they gave to Jim Sterling to run through some time back. It looked fucking fantastic and was more than just a slapped -together demo. Unity is a fine engine for developers with actual talent and skill. It's not Unit's fault that so many talentless hacks pretending to be ddevelopers use it to throw no effort garbage on Steam to make a quick buck.

That's the point. They are talent-less hacks pretending to be developers. Otherwise they wouldn't have, in their own words, lost their "focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a Remaster to a completely new game."

I think you're mistaking a lack of discipline, maturity, and business sense with a lack of talent.

They are one and the same. All the talent in the world is meaningless if the person doesn't know how to make a profitable business out of their talent. That's besides the fact that people gave them money for a promise that they broke. That's the purest example of no talent.

You're making generalizations. A game studio is comprised of many developers, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with marketing, PR or business decisions. Gameplay programmers, engine programmers, gameplay designers, level designers, riggers, concept artists, environmental artists, character artists, VFX artists, animators, sound designers, etc. It's not their job to manage the budget or scope of the project.
Avatar 20715
47.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 00:54
Kxmode
 
47.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 00:54
Feb 18, 2018, 00:54
 Kxmode
 
Prez wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 07:00:
Kxmode wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 05:17:
Prez wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 00:42:
Kxmode wrote on Feb 16, 2018, 21:34:
Unity is the McDonald's of game engines. And just like McDonalds, the products produced in that engine are mostly garbage. It also gives unfocused dingalings the ability to quickly produce a dazzling demo and then beg for money. Kind of like the fancy signs homeless people create asking for money.

Clearly you have not seen the pre-alpha build they gave to Jim Sterling to run through some time back. It looked fucking fantastic and was more than just a slapped -together demo. Unity is a fine engine for developers with actual talent and skill. It's not Unit's fault that so many talentless hacks pretending to be ddevelopers use it to throw no effort garbage on Steam to make a quick buck.

That's the point. They are talent-less hacks pretending to be developers. Otherwise they wouldn't have, in their own words, lost their "focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a Remaster to a completely new game."

I think you're mistaking a lack of discipline, maturity, and business sense with a lack of talent.

They are one and the same. All the talent in the world is meaningless if the person doesn't know how to make a profitable business out of their talent. That's besides the fact that people gave them money for a promise that they broke. That's the purest example of no talent.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
Avatar 18786
46.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 00:12
46.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 00:12
Feb 18, 2018, 00:12
 
Yeah, tons of great games only exist because of Kickstarter, either the actual campaign or the proof of market. Jerykk's list is a great example.
Avatar 54622
45.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 18, 2018, 00:04
45.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 18, 2018, 00:04
Feb 18, 2018, 00:04
 
wtf_man wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 21:52:
Pretty much done backing games on Kickstarter. Not that I have backed very many, but every single one has been mismanaged or turned into something that wasn't what I originally backed.

I've had the opposite experience. The majority of my backed projects have turned out successfully. Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity: Original Sin 1 & 2, Broken Age, Consortium, Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Overfall, Banner Saga, Sheltered, Hard West, Diluvion, Dex, A Hat in Time, Unrest, Road Redemption, Torment, Dreamfall Chapters, Dead State, Carmageddon: Reincarnation, etc.

Not all projects ended up being as good as I'd hoped but that's true of all games regardless of funding model. Overall, I've been happy with crowdfunded output and have no issues continuing to support it.

How to have good results with crowdfunding:
- Don't back projects by people that have never shipped a game before (or haven't shipped one in over a decade).
- Understand how much games actually cost to develop (hint: they're really, really expensive).
- If you back something because of nostalgia, recognize that what you loved so long ago may not quite hold up anymore.
- Don't pledge more than $30. Those higher tier rewards might look enticing but if the project fails, you won't get anything at all. The riskier the project, the less you should pledge.
- Realize that the release date estimates are almost guaranteed to be wrong and development will take an additional 1-3 years.
- Don't get too attached to specific features or content described in the initial pitch. Game development is an iterative process and features/content will inevitably be changed or cut.

This comment was edited on Feb 18, 2018, 00:14.
Avatar 20715
44.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 21:52
44.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 21:52
Feb 17, 2018, 21:52
 
Pretty much done backing games on Kickstarter. Not that I have backed very many, but every single one has been mismanaged or turned into something that wasn't what I originally backed.
Get your games from GOG DAMMIT!
Avatar 19499
43.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 18:30
43.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 18:30
Feb 17, 2018, 18:30
 
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
42.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 16:57
42.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 16:57
Feb 17, 2018, 16:57
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 08:21:
With the System Shock remake they surpassed their target and then decided to change from a remaster to a a new game, then shackled themselves to a publisher because they didn't have enough funds for that. That's pretty sleazy.

People (developers included) really need to stop referring to this as a remaster. This was never a remaster. A remaster is when you update existing code and assets. There's already a System Shock remaster on Steam. No, this was always going to be a remake. All code and assets were going to be created from scratch, with inspiration being the only link to the original game.

Remaster: Update existing code and assets.
Remake: Create new code and assets that are heavily inspired by the original game's.
Reboot: Create new code and assets that are loosely inspired by the original IP.

This was a remake that turned into a reboot. It was never a remaster.
Avatar 20715
41.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 16:29
41.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 16:29
Feb 17, 2018, 16:29
 
HorrorScope wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 16:17:
It is pretty funny, no? I think multiplayer is where the main masses are at these days, sure exceptions. This game though once most play it, well after first release, agree it's pretty darn good.

Multiplayer and big open world games. Not much market out there for smaller scale single-player right now, which is what EA said about a Star Wars single-player game and were lynched for. They're just looking at the numbers though, they are what they are.

I'm eager for smaller scale projects to move forward from Baldur's Gate/Metroid homages to Morrowind/Deus Ex homages. That has to happen eventually right?
Avatar 54622
40.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 16:27
40.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 16:27
Feb 17, 2018, 16:27
 
El Pit wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 01:53:
Also, Prey (2017) feels a lot like a modern System Shock 2 to me. I LOVE it and am surprised that it was not a success. Like many other good games (e.g. Thief 1/2, Dishonored 1/2) it just did not make big money. It seems, most gamers love their loot crate games too much.

Naming it Prey did absolutely no help for the game.
39.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 16:17
39.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 16:17
Feb 17, 2018, 16:17
 
El Pit wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 01:53:
Also, Prey (2017) feels a lot like a modern System Shock 2 to me. I LOVE it and am surprised that it was not a success. Like many other good games (e.g. Thief 1/2, Dishonored 1/2) it just did not make big money. It seems, most gamers love their loot crate games too much.

It is pretty funny, no? I think multiplayer is where the main masses are at these days, sure exceptions. This game though once most play it, well after first release, agree it's pretty darn good.

As for crowd funding, I think most get it... if you are putting money into a first timer, it is risky, don't spend what you can't afford to lose. I didn't put money here, but am absolutely behind this getting out some day. I've really leasoned my buy in to crowdfunding or EA and the main reason isn't about what they represent, it is that I have more games already than I need, genre's are covered plenty, I can wait now for release. I'd say a Wizardy 8 style attempt could still get me. But there aren't too many pitches out there these days that can.
Avatar 17232
38.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 13:48
38.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 13:48
Feb 17, 2018, 13:48
 
VaranDragon wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 04:51:
RedEye9 wrote on Feb 16, 2018, 19:52:
This must be a first.
I can't think of one other KickStarted game where too much money has hampered its development.

Are you serious? How about the huge fucking "Star" elephant in the room?

They sure as hell are not running out of money though
Avatar 54727
37.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 12:43
37.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 12:43
Feb 17, 2018, 12:43
 
I wanted to see this finished so bad, but just wasn't confident in the developers enough to contribute, glad i didn't. never heard of having too many resources....what a clusterfuck. Enjoy your vacation!
Avatar 8514
36.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 12:26
36.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 12:26
Feb 17, 2018, 12:26
 
"I take full responsibility. Please take my personal assurance. I apologize. etc etc etc."

Everyone is still out of all their money, asshole.


This is why I never give money to total unknowns who promise the world. And as I said at the time when this kickstarter went live, who are you to "remake" System Shock?
Avatar 15604
35.
 
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus
Feb 17, 2018, 10:42
35.
Re: Remastered System Shock on Hiatus Feb 17, 2018, 10:42
Feb 17, 2018, 10:42
 
El Pit wrote on Feb 17, 2018, 01:53:
Also, Prey (2017) feels a lot like a modern System Shock 2 to me. I LOVE it and am surprised that it was not a success.

In my opinion System Shock 2 is overrated due to System Shock 1 nostalgia of many players. Games like Half-Life had already shown that you can have a great story without endless respawning enemies, playtime prolonging backtracking and always dead NPCs. While Prey 2017 did indeed remind me a lot of System Shock 2, it still had all it's faults so without nostalgia bonus it failed!
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