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System Shock 3’s writer & director, lead programmer, design director and more have all confirmed their exit from OtherSide in the past 5 months, following the company’s year-long search for a new publisher.
But according to one anonymous developer, the entire team is now “no longer employed” by OtherSide.
In Brief: System Shock 3 team ‘let go’
- Senior leads have listed their departure from OtherSide
- Anonymous developer claims team is ‘no longer employed’
- Developer has been searching for a new publisher for a year
In February 2019 System Shock 3’s then-publisher Starbreeze – which was experiencing financial troubles – sold the publishing rights for the game back to the developer, in a deal which saw Starbreeze recoup the finances it had invested in development.
The game’s creative director, Warren Spector, told VGC in May of the same year that talks were progressing with “a lot” of interested publishers.
He claimed that OtherSide had enough capital to fund itself for “quite a while” and didn’t rule out the studio self-publishing the game itself, if it had to.
However, it’s since emerged that at least a dozen senior System Shock 3 developers have left the studio in the past five months.
That includes System Shock 3’s writer & director, senior designer, lead programmer, QA lead, senior environment artist and more, who have all updated their LinkedIn profiles to reflect their exit from OtherSide.
This week the game’s design director, Chase Jones – a long time collaborator of Spector’s – also revealed he has left OtherSide on his profile.
In December 2019, the studio’s former community manager, Sam Luangkhot confirmed there had been layoffs at the studio and expressed worry for its future.
“I know people are concerned about the state of the studio. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried as well,” Luangkhot said.
“Having played the internal SS3 demo, I know the Austin team worked their asses off and made some stunning progress in the past couple of months. It hurts to see many of these developers out of a job on a project they worked so hard on.”
Luangkhot linked to an anonymous developer post on site RPGCodex and confirmed its legitimacy. The anonymous user recently claimed that the System Shock 3 development team “is no longer employed” at OtherSide and that it was “critically behind” in content creation.
“The only reason I’m posting is because I saw so much confusion about the state of the company and the project I thought some first person information would be welcome,” the user wrote.
“If Starbreeze hadn’t gone into crisis I think we would’ve delivered something interesting with some fresh and innovative gameplay, but a much smaller game than what people were expecting and inevitably disappointing for a sequel to such a beloved franchise.”
The post continued: “Those high expectations drove a lot of expensive experimentation. We were a small team and knew we couldn’t compete with current immersive sims in production quality and breadth, so we had to be creative and clever and weird.
“And we were on our way to make something unique and possibly fun, but probably not what the audience was hungry for.”
System Shock 3 was most recently shown at GDC in March 2019, when Spector confirmed it was being made with the Unity engine.
VGC has reached out to OtherSide for comment.
The System Shock remake from Nightdive Studios remains in development and is due out this year.