Two Years After Raising $1.7 Million, System Shock Remaster Is On 'Hiatus'

The upcoming remake of System Shock, Kickstarted two years ago for over $US1.3 million ($1.7 million), is now on "hiatus" thanks to problems with development, the company behind it said today.

Nightdive Studios, an independent game developer and publisher best known for re-releasing old games on modern platforms, said in a Kickstarter update this morning that the team behind this remake plans to "reassess" development before it returns to the project. CEO Stephen Kick said that they had overscoped, "envisioning doing more, but straying from the core concepts of the original title". There's no timeline for when we'll see the planned overhaul to the classic 1994 first-person action game, but it's looking grim for Kickstarter backers.

"As our concept grew and as our team changed, so did the scope of what we were doing and with that the budget for the game," Kick said. "As the budget grew, we began a long series of conversations with potential publishing partners. The more that we worked on the game, the more that we wanted to do, and the further we got from the original concepts that made System Shock so great."

Nightdive Studios, which is also working on a System Shock 3 with the Massachusetts-based game studio OtherSide Entertainment, had raised $US1,350,700 ($1,694,459) from 21,625 backers to remake the first System Shock in June 2016. The studio released a playable demo alongside the Kickstarter.


    I'm never backing another game Kickstarter again. First Star Citizen (aka the Chris Roberts retirement fund) of which I was a founding backer and now, and now Nightdive can't even stick to a fucking re-make.

      Has there been any video game success stories out of Kickstarter? And were they worth all the rubbish that's come as well?

        Wasteland and Pillars of Eternity?

        (the ones I have backed)
        Dreamfall Chapters
        Elite Dangerous
        Satellite Reign
        Torment: Tides of Numenera

        Battle Chasers - Nightwar
        Moon Hunters
        Pillars of Eternity
        Satelite Reign
        Shadowrun Returns and it's Hong Kong expansion
        Torment - Tides of Numenera
        Wasteland 2

        In-Progress that I'm eagerly awaiting completion of:

        Bloodstained - Ritual of The Night
        Empires of the Undergrowth
        Pillars of Eternity 2
        The 13th Doll (7th Guest semi-third entry)
        Wasteland 3

        Last edited 17/02/18 5:09 pm

        Kingdom Come Deliverance was Kickstarted in 2014 and released on February 13th 2018, just a couple of days ago. Check it out!

        Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.
        Shovel Knight.
        Yooka-Laylee (relatively speaking).

        This along with the prior posts do show there has been success with Kickstarter/crowdfunding.

        But given the failures easily out number the successes, it is possible to overlook them.

      Star Citizen from what I can tell is still being actively developed full time and has been releasing updates and substantial alpha builds. Unless your claiming the extended development time from the original 3 year projection is unacceptable? if so then you clearly don't know much about game development.

        No, I don't know much about game development. I never claimed to. But the scope creep on Star Citizen is fucking ridiculous and the whole thing has moved so far beyond the original pitch that it borders on misleading and deceptive conduct. Has the current 'scope' been the original promise, I wouldn't have backed it. I wager a lot of people feel the same way.

        The whole, don't get game development, bit is becoming a little old.

        By that reasoning, it would be fair to say that game developers don't seem get how game development works either since they are ones who keep making all these impossible claims and promises that almost never pan out.

      This is a shame, I'm backing the same things, but most games I've backed have worked out just fine. Also, we should probably have seen Chris Roberts coming, this is basically the pattern of his whole career, right?

      Gotta say man, I hear you. Like seriously, it feels like I just saw a nice looking update video and it was looking good. Now they're taking a break!

      Really sucks. Was looking forward to this.

    I think id rather invest in snake oil than kick starter

    Ironically this is probably the first kickstarter that could backfire on me. Some people certainly seem to have a talent for picking bad kickstarters however...

    Last edited 17/02/18 9:49 am

      The only Kickstarter that has ever backfired on me was the DEVO documentary and that was for external reasons. All of the games and other things I've backed have turned out pretty ok.

      This one will happen eventually, too. Nightdive aren't going anywhere, I don't think. They've just realised that making a new game with out a publisher to beg from is hard as hell. They'll sort it out.

    This is the nature of development. Kickstarter was going to save projects from the greedy evil publishers and free developers to create awesome games... instead it just exposed regular gamers to the risks of development or crap project management.

    As much as I hate some publishers, they are still fulfilling a vital function by keeping developers on track and injecting money where it’s needed or helping to stop feature creep. Kickstarter just proves that even with a clear, finite budget some devs just can’t stick to a plan, or grossly underestimate time or money requirements.

      It also doesn't help that the general public don't have a good understanding of how much money is required to develop a game.

      Say you have 10 developers on about 75K a year, that would be 750K right? Wrong. There's actually about a 20 - 30% overhead per person that gets ignored, which then bloats the 1 year cost to 1M.

      Now think, what quality of game gets made by 10 people in a year? A fancy mobile game, or an arcade console game, that's about it.

      As the article suggests, the studio was talking about looking for a publisher, this is because they knew that 1.3M is nowhere near enough to make the full game.

      This ultimately is the problem with KS, it doesn't provide enough funding for some of the larger scale projects to succeed without outside funding. And that lack of outside funding is generally why people go to KS for their project. So anything that realistically requires a large amount of dev time is pretty much doomed to fail.

        Counterpoint: developers shouldn't set such ridiculously low funding goals to give a false sense of requirements to backers.

        At best, this is just developers underestimating their budgeting or support. At worst, it's blatantly misleading potential backers as a quick injection of cash. Even people like Tim Schafer are guilty of this kind of thing. The fact that KS doesn't provide the massive budgets that publishers do is ultimately irrelevant - it isn't KS limiting their asking amount, it's creators posting such low values to acquire money quickly. That sort of predatory behaviour needs to end.

          I'd be surprised if this was funded fully by Kickstarter backers. There would have been additional seed funding from elsewhere in addition to the Kickstarter funds.

          Last edited 17/02/18 1:36 pm

            Also a good point.

            To many KS just represents another investment stream as well as giving developers metrics to present to traditional investors as a sign of interest in the game.

          At best, this is just developers underestimating their budgeting or support.
          yep, well, over estimating their ability to produce. I've experienced this sort of attitude, and see it everywhere; people and companies making massive claims which they legit think they can pull off.

          The irony is their ignorance / ego typically leads to counter productive results.

          Not to excuse it at all, but estimating time frames in software development is basically a crapshoot, even very experienced developers regularly get it wrong. Building a sizable margin of error in is usually how companies deal with it, but KS backers would balk at how long that'd be for a game of any real complexity.

          Rather, one of the most important things publishers do that Kickstarter doesn't is enforce milestone deadlines. Developers might hate it, and fans get pissy when a game needs a day one patch because of a publisher deadline, but the reality is a lot of games would never have been successfully completed without them.

    Weird. It's only been about 3 weeks since the last update that made everything look like it was going really well. Perhaps some of their other releases didn't make as much money as they'd projected.

      It was definitely a surprise for me as well. The way this update was posted made it sound that they realized they were building something that *wasn't* faithful to SS1, whether it was from an internal review, or someone like Warren brought it up. Either way, if it was getting out of hand, I'm glad its getting paused now for the re-scope.

    And another project runs face first into a brick wall due to feature creep.. Which is the first sign they have an incompetent project manager

    wow... i was really pissed that i missed the kickstarter on this. so much so that i contacted the devs directly and asked if i could donate at the collectors edition level (they wouldn't let me outside of kickstarter at the time).

    Kind of Glad i didnt waste my money now.

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