System Shock 2 returns on GOG tomorrow

As if the Machine Mother herself heard our prayers, we'll finally be able to buy Looking Glass's phenomenal System Shock 2 again. The cyberpunk survival horror FPS-RPG has been mired in rights issues for yonks, but Night Dive Studios has managed to free it enough to re-release this wonderful, wonderful game on GOG tomorrow at $9.99. It's pretty good.

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As if the Machine Mother herself heard our prayers, we'll finally be able to buy Looking Glass's phenomenal System Shock 2 again. The cyberpunk survival horror FPS-RPG has been mired in rights issues for yonks, but Night Dive Studios has managed to free it enough to re-release this wonderful, wonderful game on GOG tomorrow at $9.99. It's pretty good.

Right-minded people have been yearning for a re-release for years but, it's been widely believed, rights to the game and name were split across publisher EA and an insurance company that scooped Looking Glass assets when it shut down, and no one had managed to reconcile this.

"The rights are still held in a very complicated tangle and going into all of it makes for very dry reading," Night Dive CEO Stephen Kick told Rock, Paper, Shotgun. "The short version is that negotiations began in October of last year. I pitched the rights-holder with the focus being on the digital distribution of System Shock 2 and–as much to my surprise as anyone’s, possibly–here we are today."

GOG managing director Guillaume Rambourg painted RPS a richer picture:

We have contacted lots of publishers, developers and lawyers over the past 4-5 years – mostly industry veterans actually – to better understand the big legal puzzle behind this game and identify who owns the trademark, the IP, the code, distribution rights and so forth. We got lots of answers, sometimes aiming at the same direction, sometimes pointing in conflicting ones. You know the drill: one step forward, two steps back. It was a real investigation a la Tex Murphy. A very tough case, definitely, but we never lost hope.

Night Dive has SS2 working just dandy on modern PCs, and it supports pre-existing mods like the System Shock 2 Texture Upgrade Project and Rebirth high-poly model pack. GOG's also chucking in the soundtrack, maps, the first pitch document and more as digital extras.

Word of this did eek out earlier in the week but, well, the only source was Night Dive's website, which offered no proof or credentials for anything. One can't go raising people's hopes about System Shock 2 until you're sure; that'd just be cruel.

So who is Night Drive, anyway? Kick himself was formerly an artist at Sony Online Entertainment, but things are a bit of mystery beyond that. Supposedly they're working on an original game, as well as having an interest in bringing back old games.

Tomorrow. 3am Pacific. $9.99. Glory to the flesh. Glory to the mass. Glory to the Many.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 13, 2013 6:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, System Shock 2 returns on GOG tomorrow.

    As if the Machine Mother herself heard our prayers, we'll finally be able to buy Looking Glass's phenomenal System Shock 2 again. The cyberpunk survival horror FPS-RPG has been mired in rights issues for yonks, but Night Dive Studios has managed to free it enough to re-release this wonderful, wonderful game on GOG tomorrow at $9.99. It's pretty good.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 6:50 AM

      What? HUH? O. M. G. Did gravity just invert or something?

      Happy Valentine's Day indeed. . .

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 6:53 AM

        Come on now, be serious: If gravity "inverted" everything including yourself would instantly disintegrate

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 6:57 AM

          Hell froze over, then?

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 9:01 AM

          Considering that we are held together by electromagnetism and nuclear forces, no. But we would be thrown into space, that would be fun.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 12:40 PM

            But all the celestial bodies would explode, would they not? It's not like you'd simply "fall upwards" like in some weird dream.

            d fluke is pretty much right, I think.

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              February 13, 2013 1:00 PM

              Celestial bodies would explode very very slowly. Anything within their structure that is owed to electromagnetism would be unchanged.

              It wouldn't slice you open or anything, you'd float away at a really slow speed too. You'd probably lose air to breathe pretty quickly. Wouldn't be able to return to the surface once you kicked away from it either.

              He's not "pretty much right" that you would instant disintegrate; you as an entity are not bound by gravity at all, and the forces keeping you together are at least, what, 10^31 orders of magnitude apart?

              • reply
                February 13, 2013 1:09 PM

                Okay, thanks. I don't know WTF about physics.

                • reply
                  February 13, 2013 10:29 PM

                  nobody knows really, our understanding of how gravity relates to all the other forces is very incomplete.

                  • reply
                    February 15, 2013 10:04 AM

                    No it isn't. Gravity is directly related to mass and also the distance between 2 objects. Go learn some physics.

    • rms
      reply
      February 13, 2013 7:21 AM

      No official word on SS1 ?

      • rms
        reply
        February 13, 2013 7:33 AM

        I read the whole rps article, and they did not ask the simple question: "What about SS1?" Why, as a gaming journalist, would you go to the trouble of writing and posting an interview with the guy who got SS2 re-released, and not ask the direct question "What about SS1?"

        So, what about SS1?

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 7:57 AM

          Honestly, does anyone really care about SS1?

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 8:06 AM

            I do! SS1 is actually quite easy to find and make playable these days, though if GOG decided to add it to their library, it'd be an insta-buy too, even though it's barely recognisable as an FPS.

          • rms
            reply
            February 13, 2013 8:11 AM

            Everyone cares about SS2 simply because it has been more accessible over the years -- easier to get running on modern systems; the control scheme is the standard mouselook; better quality graphics -- not because it is a better game. Which it is not.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 9:02 AM

              Yes it is. Anything else you need me to correct?

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 9:33 AM

              Also, the SS1 Mod makes it very playable.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 10:00 AM

              whaaaat???

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 3:40 PM

              I'd say the mlook stuff is enough of a plus that it puts them on more or less equal footing. SS1 has a stronger cyberpunk focus (though the two plots are pretty similar, to the point where sometimes I mix up the events that happened in each game), but its advantages aren't so great that it puts SS2 in the dustbin.

              Also SS2 has a lot of interesting systems, however imperfectly executed they may be. And they're only about as imperfectly executed as SS1's interface.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 9:33 AM

            YES. Its better than SS2.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 10:32 AM

            SS1 is fucking incredible and constantly getting overshadowed by it's younger brother is one of gaming's biggest crimes.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 10:37 AM

              I guess I'll check it out again (I think I have it on CD somewhere) but I was always on the impression that it was an innovative game hampered by being essentially a DOOM clone.

              • reply
                February 13, 2013 10:39 AM

                Well know that it's been 20 years since I played the game. But I still remember some of the story beats and gameplay elements, and I remember being completely engulfed in them.

                I'm not sure I would say it was better than SS2, I'm only saying that it's a shame that people don't talk about SS the way they talk about SS2.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 12:03 PM

              ^^^ This x a billion.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 2:58 PM

            I do, it's great.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 1:09 PM

          What about it? It runs great in DOSBox. Go play it.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 7:54 AM

      No more SS2 CDs going for $80 on ebay. Good day indeed.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 8:23 AM

        They're only $80? That seems low.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:02 PM

        Wow, I had no idea. I have a System Shock 2 CD in an original jewel case, I picked it up at a used PC game shop for like, fifteen dollars.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 1:07 PM

          Well you just blew your chance to make some $, now that it's on GOG!

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 8:49 AM

      Such a beautifully crafted game, this is great news. I'm getting it before they change their mind.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 8:57 AM

      OK, so if I interpreted the article correctly, the dude played SS2 for shits on his netbook last October, then looked up the game and found all the legal BS going on, and then just started contacting people until he got the rights needed to put it out digitally.

      So companies like GOG and EA had been hashing it out with this insurance company for years and one dude just pulls it out and starts making contact and a few months later we have it on GOG?

      Insane.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 9:40 AM

        PGI did almost the same thing with Mechwarrior for MWO. Glad to see ambitious independent developers can bring back beloved franchises these days. I still have hope for Homeworld and Freespace .

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 9:34 AM

      Today is a good day!

      Tomorrow will be a better day!

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 9:55 AM

        Has there been any word if any of the 3rd party graphics upgrades/hacks will be compatible with the GOG version?

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 11:23 AM

      I can finally get around to playing this game. After I finish up Baldur's Gate I guess. Besides MWO I'm basically in retro mode these days.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 2:51 PM

        Don't forget this has full co-op support (when patched) - some of my best co-op memories are playing through this game with friends, each one a different character class.

        We made contests out of how much crap we could cram into the elevator before the game crashed.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 11:59 AM

      Not gonna play this, looks too old. Besides, I've got BioShock, it's basically the same thing, right?

      /troll

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:28 PM

      Assume with the 2.4 patch...which an unknown source released a couple of months back! It works perfectly with it.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 2:51 PM

        The RPS article seems to imply that Night Dive has the source code (references to "latest build") so I'd bet they were the source of the patch, though why/how that would sneak out if they were working on a commercial re-release I don't know.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 4:26 PM

      Looking for System Shock 1?

      http://www.systemshock.org/index.php?topic=211.0

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 9:56 PM

      So what about the Steam version?