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The Making of System Shock 2 with Ken Levine @ Edge Online

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The Making of System Shock 2 with Ken Levine @ Edge Online

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 28 November 2012, 17:55:42

Tags: Irrational Games; Ken Levine; Looking Glass Studios; System Shock 2

Edge Online has put up a 2-page article about the making of System Shock 2, based around a narrative-style interview with Ken Levine. Have a snippet:

The company’s first project, a singleplayer version of early isometric shooter Fireteam, had been cancelled when its publisher decided to concentrate solely on multiplayer. This left Irrational at a loss, until Paul Neurath, head of Looking Glass, called with an opportunity. While they’d left Looking Glass, they were still on good terms with their previous employer. In fact, their half room was actually buried in a corner of the larger studio.

Neurath’s offer was incredibly open. Looking Glass had, in making Thief: The Dark Project, developed its own in-house engine. All of Irrational were experienced with it, having all worked on Thief. Why not make a game with it with us? Any game you fancy, really. “We immediately started designing,” Levine recalls.

“The three partners sat down, and we ended up with a game design which was basically our design for Shock 2, but in a totally different world. It was a kind of Heart Of Darkness story, with a military commander gone crazy and your mission was to go to this crazy spaceship and assassinate him.”

This was pitched around various publishers. The one that bit was Electronic Arts, which – through its purchase of Origin – was in possession of the System Shock IP. EA suggested that the game could, in fact, be System Shock 2. “And we said, ‘Um… sure’,” Levine laughs. “I rewrote the story and changed a few of the things, but the game design never changed.”

It was a rare opportunity. The original System Shock was one of the games that made Levine want to move into the videogame industry in the first place. What made it so special? “The feeling of being in a real place,” he raves. “The feeling of a mystery, of unraveling it – not in an adventure game way, but in the context of an action game. You arrive and… what happened? That’s a really good storytelling mechanism.” Austin Grossman and Doug Church’s original idea from Shock was something Irrational expanded in its sequel. “In Shock 1 you were a specific guy, you had a backstory,” Levine notes. “With Shock 2, I started you out with the classic ‘wake up with amnesia’.”​

Read the article in full here.

Spotted at Gamebanshee

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