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Warren Spector reveals new details about System Shock 3, Sheldon Pacotti and Doug Church onboard

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Warren Spector reveals new details about System Shock 3, Sheldon Pacotti and Doug Church onboard

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 30 August 2016, 20:12:24

Tags: Doug Church; OtherSide Entertainment; Sheldon Pacotti; System Shock 3; Warren Spector

Back in February, we learned that Warren Spector had joined OtherSide Entertainment on a full-time basis to lead development on System Shock 3 at a brand new studio in Austin. However, actual work would only begin in June, after he concluded his teaching duties at the University of Texas. With summer coming to an end, today we receive our first glimpse of Warren's plans for System Shock 3, as well as the team he's assembled to create it, which includes Deus Ex lead writer Sheldon Pacotti as Design Director and the legendary Doug Church, taking a break from manufacturing hats at Valve in a part-time creative consultant role. More information about that in this press release. As for the game itself, I'll let Warren speak for himself. Here's an excerpt from his interview at Polygon, which also includes some early concept art:

"In System Shock 3 I want to explore Shodan's motivations," said Spector. "In the first two games her plan was to destroy humanity because, with the removal of her ethical constraints by the hacker in the first game, she's going insane. But we never explained why she wants to destroy humanity. So we're going to be exploring the idea of a super intelligence and what would motivate a super intelligent AI."

At the end of the second game, Shodan downloads herself into a human woman called Rebecca Sutton, leaving a cliffhanger. This will be the starting point ofSystem Shock 3.

"We are going to be picking up all of the loose threads of System Shock 2. Rebecca Sutton is going to appear in this game, for sure," he said.

Spector pointed out that there are six survivors from the previous games. Their stories will all be addressed in System Shock 3 as well. Among the NPCs, there's Shodan and Sutton as well as her colleague, Tommy Suarez. The story will also include Rebecca Lansing, who was the player's human guide in the first game.

Also, the game will feature the two previous protagonists: the hacker from the original game, and the soldier from System Shock 2.

"We're going to tell their story," said Spector. "There are a lot of questions that went unanswered in those first two games and we have an obligation to fans to fill in the blanks. For new players I think that will pull them into a compelling narrative."

The story will also delve into the history of Edward Diego, a key character in the first game who persuades the player to hack into Shodan.

The original System Shock takes place in the year 2072, while System Shock 2 takes place 42 years later in 2114, also the year in which the new game picks up the story.

Spector said he wants to create a game that addresses today's concerns and that draws upon modern technological advances to make predictions about the future: "I like to base everything in reality and extrapolate from there. We want to be able to look at where we are today and ask where we might be a hundred years from now."

Like the original, the game will feature virtual spaces as well as real world locations, as the player tackles Shodan on her own cyber turf.

"There's been a lot more research into UI and super intelligence in recent years. That will find itself in System Shock 3," he said. "We understand hacking a lot better than we used to and it will be presented in a completely different way than it was presented in the earlier games.

"Back when we made System Shock, cyberpunk was still at its height in terms of popularity and cultural significance and it was a big inspiration. Nowadays, cyberpunk is a little less current. I've learned over the years that it's foolish to try to convince people to become interested in something they don't care about, so we're finding things that people are interested in today."​

[...] I asked Spector if, given that he worked on the first game but not the second, he feels a closer affinity to one than the other?

"I like and respect the second one but it was significantly different from the first," he replied. "I'm constantly struggling with how much we adhere to the tenets of the first one and how much do we adhere to the tenets of the second one. The second game was a much more traditional role-playing game than the first one. It's a mental struggle for me about which direction I want to go in. I will admit that."
Sounds like this could get controversial! On the one hand, Warren says he wants to move on from cyberpunk. On the other hand, he seems to lean towards making the game more like the first System Shock, which is widely considered more cyberpunky than its sequel. Sheldon Pacotti's presence on the team suggests that no matter what we get, it'll probably be intellectually thought-provoking. But will it be an RPG? It's still early days, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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