System Shock 3 had spent several years in development at Austin, Texas-based Otherside Entertainment – the studio helmed by original SS developers Paul Neurath and Warren Spector – before disappearing from the public arena completely in 2020.
Eventually, a statement was published on Otherside’s website claiming that Tencent would be “taking the System Shock franchise forward”.
System Shock - Trailer - Future Games Show Gamescom 2022
However, there has been no clarification in the two years since on what exactly this means for the future of Otherside’s game, despite an analysis of LinkedIn suggesting that virtually all of System Shock’s development team has long since left.
Speaking to VGC at Gamescom, Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick claimed that the rights to the third game, which it had originally granted to Otherside, had subsequently been sold on to the Chinese conglomerate.
It’s now up to Tencent whether a third game gets made, he told VGC.
“When we originally acquired the rights to the franchise, we licensed the rights for the third game to Warren and Paul [Neurath] at Otherside. They then subsequently sold their rights to Tencent,” he explained.
“So Tencent currently has the rights to the third game, and we have the rights to do the remake of the first game and potentially a remake of the second game. That’s pretty much where it stands right now.”
Kick clarified that it’s currently down to Tencent if the third game gets made at all, and claimed he did not know if either Spector or Neurath were involved in such a project. “I honestly don’t know. I know Paul and Warren are still making games, but that’s as much as I know right now.”
Tencent could also make additional System Shock sequels in the future if were to develop the third game and decide to continue, he said. “I think they technically could do 4 and 5 as well, but they’d have to do 3 first. So, we’ll see.”
Nightdive is currently developing its long-coming System Shock remake, which has been in development since 2016 and still has no release date. The game was, however, playable at Gamescom this week.
According to CEO and game director Kick, both Warren Spector and Paul Neurath have been providing regular feedback on the remake, so both men are involved in the franchise in that capacity.
“They’ve been wonderful,” he said. “We’ve been providing builds to them periodically and getting their feedback, and they’ve been giving us a lot. This was their baby, and it’s been entrusted to us. We’re just lucky to have them as a sounding board to let us know when maybe we’ve gone too far or maybe not far enough. We’ve definitely been applying that feedback.”
Despite uncertainly around Tencent’s ownership of the sequel rights, Kick said there are “definitely” plans for more System Shock from Nightdive, “whether that be a remake of the second game or some cross-media stuff” such as a planned live-action series from streaming platform Binge.