Nightdive's System Shock Remake is now out on PC (via Steam), and as part of the press cycle surrounding the release, the studio's CEO and founder Stephen Kick spoke to Time Extension about the project's long and drawn-out development cycle.
It was during this conversation that Kick offered up an interesting tidbit about the project that we'd never heard about before, specifically relating to the studios' quest for a publisher for the title. Apparently, according to Kick, in 2018, the studio was at one point talking to the original Telltale Games about potentially publishing the remake, shortly before Telltale went under.
As part of these discussions, the two companies fielded a bunch of collaborative ideas for the series, including most interestingly the possibility of Telltale using the System Shock license for an adventure game in its trademark style. As Kick tells Time Extension, this would have likely focused on the six-month period during which the protagonist of System Shock is in a coma and SHODAN seizes control of Citadel Station.
Below is the full quote from Kick about these discussions:
"We had had some conversations with Telltale, but it would come out a couple of weeks later that they were going under. So, that was really strange: to have gone to their studio and met with their leadership and had them show genuine interest and then two weeks later, ‘Sorry about that, we’re going out of business.’ That was weird.
"That felt like a gut punch, because we really loved the people over there and we loved the games that we did and there was some talk about, ‘Oh, if we do System Shock with you guys, maybe you can do an adventure game that explores what happens before SHODAN took over.’
"So, there were a lot of interesting, collaborative possibilities in that instance as well. But yeah, we spent months just travelling to different studios and pitching the game that we had and for lack of a better word, they all said ‘No’. And that left us at that point where I had to let everybody go because there was no more money. And I had to rely on internal funds that were reserved for other projects just to try and get the project on its lifeline."
It's an interesting 'what if' to imagine what a Telltale System Shock game would be like, but we must admit we don't particularly believe that System Shock needs a "midquel" to spell out this series of events.
Instead, it's much more compelling to piece the story together ourselves from the various audio logs found within the game. That way things are left to the imagination, giving players the chance to interpret and prioritize the importance of events as they see fit.