We had reported on Nightdive Studios coming clean on System Shock Remake’s trouble development. But did you know the reasons that Nightdive decided they could and should do this remake in the first place? We now have the answer to that question.
Video Games Chronicle’s Jordan Middler held a podcast interview with Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick, alongside their director of business development, Larry Kuperman, to talk all things System Shock Remake. You can listen to that podcast here, but we’ll talk about a very interesting tidbit from this conversation.
Jordan asked about the very raison d’etre for making a System Shock Remake. Any casual fan would question the reason a remake was necessary, especially when Nightdive also worked on System Shock Enhanced Edition.
But in fact, it was when working on System Shock Enhanced Edition that Stephen and company realized that they could go for a full remake of this game, the first such project Nightdive would endeavor, after a long line of smaller, but very well respected, enhanced editions of many classic 2000s and 1990s shooters.
So here’s what Stephen shared about that:
“Well, when we started working on the Enhanched Edition, we had been working with a modder that we found off the System Shock dot org community. And, they had implemented a simple mouselook mod to the original.
It doesn’t get any more simple than that, and it allows you to look around the environment using the mouse. I mean it sounds crazy saying it out loud, but in 1994 there weren’t really any conventions as to how to control your character in a video game.
And System Shock did not have a mouselook feature. And so, when we were playing the game again with this mod – I don’t know why it took so long for somebody to put something like that in there – we discovered that the game really opened up.
And it felt more like a game and less like, you know, an Excel spreadsheet with pretty visuals.”
And so, surprising as it sounds, the original System Shock did not have mouselook. If you wanted to look around the room, you had to turn your character’s entire body left or right, by moving the left and right keys on your keyboard, or the left and right buttons on the d-pad.
For those of you who can’t even possibly imagine what that’s like, you can try playing Wolfenstein in browser in the Internet Archive here. Don’t click your mouse in, and just move and play using they keyboard.
As you can see, it was possible to play fully 3D games this way, but it certainly doesn’t hold up compared to the dual analog system we are used to today.
It’s a reminder that even these little things that we take for granted in modern games, can “open up” the classics that paved the way for them.
System Shock Remake will be releasing in May 20, 2023, on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on Windows, Linux, and MacOs, via Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG.