Back in 1994, Looking Glass Studios’ cult classic shooter, System Shock, gave us a vision of the future that was both horrifying and auspicious. Horrifying, because the game depicted the year 2072 as one filled with derelict spaceships, mechanical monstrosities and artificial intelligence programs gone mad. Auspicious, because the game redefined the shooter genre’s capabilities for exploration, role-playing and world-building.
2072 may not have arrived yet, but Night Dive Studios is planning to remind a whole new generation of gamers (and re-enchant the older generation) of what that fateful year has in store for us with their remake of the original System Shock game, simply titled System Shock. The public knew little of what was taking place behind Night Dive’s closed doors beyond the game’s Kickstarter campaign, other than knowing that many of the original game’s developers are on the staff and that the game is being built on the Unity engine.
Until yesterday, that is. Night Dive Studios has released a demo of the new System Shock’s pre-alpha stage on Steam for free. That’s right, you don’t need to be an exclusive backer to play the pre-alpha. All you need to do is head to the game’s Steam page and download the demo.
Check out the trailer below:
Keep in mind that the game is still far from release, and is subject to change drastically over time. Many of the original game’s mechanical quirks are present, for better or for worse. Aiming and movement, for example may feel slow or unresponsive to gamers who have grown up in an era where controls are fluid and snappy (to hit an enemy with your lead pipe, your crosshair must be directly on the enemy upon clicking). In particular, we did find one bug that caused an enemy to become invincible upon passing through a closed door, which quickly lead to our demise.
Though only a small fragment of the game is available for play in the demo, even a quick jaunt through Citadel Station is enough to give both new players and System Shock veterans the series’ familiar chills. The paranoia of constantly being watched by the malevolent SHODAN is still present, while the despair of drifting alone in space is more oppressive than ever, thanks to the game’s upgraded graphics.
In essence, both the demo and the final version of System Shock will also act as a proving grounds for System Shock 3, which Night Dive Studios is developing alongside OtherSide Entertainment. More news on System Shock 3 to come.
If you’re a fan of the horror game genre, it might behoove you to check out the System Shock demo. At the very least, it’ll grant you a little insight into a game that forever changed how developers instill fear through a simple video game.
Night Dive Studios’ System Shock remake is set to release in the Holiday season next year. You can check out its official website here.