Developer Nightdive, a studio created with the specific intention to bring back ‘lost and forgotten games’ for consumption by modern audiences, has paused development of its System Shock remake. A popular Kickstarter campaign in 2016 led to the team exceeding its $900k target for a total of $1.35m. Since then it’s lived up to Kickstarter expectations with several delays, and now a hiatus on the back of severe overscoping and feature creep.
“Maybe we were too successful,” says Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick in a Kickstarter backer update. “Maybe we lost our focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a Remaster to a completely new game. We shifted engines from Unity to Unreal, a choice that we don’t regret and one that has worked out for us. With the switch we began envisioning doing more, but straying from the core concepts of the original title.”
By moving away from the spirit of System Shock the team was no longer creating the game that the Kickstarter backers had paid their money for. The budget for the project also exploded, leading to Nightdive talking to publishing partners to bring in more money. After realising the situation, Kick decided to pause development of the game to reevaluate the game that they wanted to make, and the game that the fans want them to make. But he’s keen to reassure that this isn’t the end.
“Ultimately the responsibility for the decisions rests with me,” says Kick. “As the CEO and founder of Nightdive Studios, a company that was built on the restoration of the System Shock franchise, I let things get out of control. I can tell you that I did it for all the right reasons, that I was totally committed to making a great game, but it has become clear to me that we took the wrong path, that we turned our backs on the very people who made this possible, our Kickstarter backers.
“I have put the team on a hiatus while we reassess our path so that we can return to our vision. We are taking a break, but NOT ending the project. Please accept my personal assurance that we will be back and stronger than ever. System Shock is going to be completed and all of our promises fulfilled.”