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The original System Shock was hurt by the close launch of Doom 2, explains Nightdive

In their recent livestream, the Nightdive Studios devs explained some of their reasoning behind focusing on System Shock, especially regarding its proximity to Doom 2's original launch.


Nightdive Studios has launched a new demo of System Shock remake on the GOG Summer Sale today, and in celebration, we got to have Nightdive Studios devs come on the Shacknews Twitch channel in a special stream. As we watched gameplay from the new System Shock Medical Bay demo, Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick and other crew from the System Shock dev team were on hand to answer various questions, one of which was why Nightdive Studios was approaching the System Shock remake as one of their first games built from the actual ground up. To that, Kick explained that he felt the original System Shock never got a fair chance, due in major part to its close proximity to Doom 2’s original release.

“[System Shock] was made by Origin Systems back in 1994, and it got overshadowed by the release of [Doom 2],” explained Kick. “From a casual perspective, both games look very similar in how they should play, but they’re completely different. You go into Doom and anybody can pick it up almost instantly and start playing it, whereas anybody who tried System Shock for the first time was bombarded by text and instructions on how to use the UI, which was very cumbersome and difficult to use at the time. The game had originally shipped on floppy disks which meant that all the audio… was cut from that version, which was a big part of the immersive quality of the game. It kind of got cut off at the knees on release and it didn’t have a chance to prove itself as the game we’d all come to know it as today.”

Indeed, Doom 2 launched from id Software on October 10, 1994, quickly beginning to cement itself as an amazing continuation of the legendary shooter series. The original System Shock came out on September 23, 1994, just weeks before. It’s easy to see which one people flocked to more and it took some time before System Shock would find the love it has now since Nightdive has been working on it. Given the history, Kick and the rest of the crew at Nightdive discovered a newfound love for the game and desire to bring it to the masses in a more appealing way during work on the System Shock Enhanced Edition, as described earlier in the stream.

“When we started revisiting the original System Shock for the Enhanced Edition, we were having so much fun playing it that we felt it was deserving [of more attention], mostly due to its age and the fact that there were so many people that were aware of Bioshock, but not its predecessor. It almost felt like we had a duty to go back and present this in a new way that would make people appreciate it.”

With the new System Shock Medical Bay demo having launched as a part of the GOG Summer Sale, and with our time on the ShackStream with it today, it feels safe to say that Nightdive’s passion is taking the game in the right direction. Look forward to seeing more and stay tuned to Shacknews for further details and information as we await Nightdive’s System Shock remake sometime in 2020.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      May 27, 2020 1:07 PM

      Basically, in general: immersive sims are an incredibly hard sell. Warren's said this, Raf at Arkane's said this, Doug Church has said this.

      They appeal to a very niche group of gamers who are dedicated to the form, which is great but who react badly to a bad immersive sim (thief sequels, DX 2) They don't draw the more causal gamer who can look at "oooo bfg that blows shit up" or to investors/CEOs/board members that see this appeal directly. Even when they are media darlings and critical favorites like DX:HR and BioShock, they still take a lot of time to get the same sales. So put one next to a game people can "recognize" by gameplay alone, and guess which will win?

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        May 27, 2020 1:47 PM

        Additionally everything was hurt by doom 1+2, it was a cultural phenomenon with a install base larger than windows. Tim schaefer and Ron Gilbert name it as the reason why adventure games started to decline from mainstream into a niche/Germany. There are few games that had similar effects. I think even a game like biohazard/resident evil 4 that gets constantly mentioned as major influence in the industry doesn't even come close to the impact of doom.

    • reply
      May 27, 2020 1:51 PM

      without reading the article... different tastes back then too maybe? what were reviews for each at the time, i wonder

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        May 27, 2020 5:55 PM

        after reading i suspect that it didnt help that system shock just wasnt as good (in some ways)

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