Giveaway and Audio Update
System Shock Kickstarter Giveaway
We are currently holding a giveaway/raffle for an awesome System Shock Limited Edition Screen Print Poster & T-Shirt. It runs until the end of the Kickstarter, and you can even do things every day during the raffle to keep entering. And by entering more times, you’re helping us to spread the word to continue to make this game awesome!
To enter, please click here. [Facebook link]
System Shock Music & Sound Design plans
Hey everyone! I'm Jonathan Peros; I'm handling the audio efforts on System Shock. I've been working with Nightdive Studios on this demo since it started. The Shock games have always had some of the most immersive sounds for its time and it's been my job to make sure that our game hits the same benchmark of quality.
Just so you guys know where we are coming from, I'd like to start by posting the "Purpose" section for the audio from our own internal audio design documents that we refer to when making decisions:
The Shock series’ greatest strength was always the intense atmosphere present in the game; the isolation, the tension, even the outright horror. The purpose of the score of System Shock is, more than anything, to strengthen the immersion and atmosphere of the game. Secondary goals of the score are to structure the narrative and represent characters/environments, increase tension in extreme stress (such as combat), and using diegetic music in the world to tell the story of Citadel Station through its own environment.
Plenty of restraint will have to be used on the score, to keep the atmosphere of the game intact. It is important to avoid a more arcadey, extreme approach like other games (see DOOM), but there are points in the game in which it could fit, if used sparingly.
We have received a lot of feedback when it comes to the balance of electronic and orchestral elements in the soundtrack, and fans who feel very strongly about both directions. I'd like to clear things up and put fans' minds at ease. We are planning to have many more electronic elements in the score for the final game than we have in the demo. While we feel that porting the original music over would run counter to our vision, we don't intend to lose the Cyberpunk feeling of the game by neglecting to reflect that Cyberpunkness in the music. We believe it is possible to retain a strong atmosphere, while incorporating many synthetic elements in the soundtrack. Check out the first minute of my Intro remix with zircon for reference:
We believe it is possible to blend these elements with orchestral elements to great effect. While the synthetic elements provide a great setting for Citadel Station and make the game feel like a System Shock game, orchestral layers can provide a level of emotional tension and immersion that is more primal and psychological when it comes to creepy atmospheres. It is a delicate balance, but one that we think will give System Shock a very unique flavor in contrast to most modern FPS games - something that is both very "System Shock", but also stands today as a score for a modern game.
We also have plans to bring back old System Shock music as often as we can while still keeping it in the atmosphere in the station. Some clever fans have found an example of this in our game files: the original music for the elevator, redone to sound like music that would actually be coming from the speakers on the walls of an elevator:
As much as I want to talk more about our musical plans, I've got plenty that I want to talk about on the sound design front as well!
Many of the same principles apply to the soundscapes of the game as the music. More than anything, we want to promote a strong oppressive atmosphere (have I said that word enough?) for the player. This is where the old System Shock games (System Shock 2 in particular) really excelled. The sound design in the old games were as much a part of the emotional experience for the player as the music. We intend for the same in System Shock: Heavy and oppressive atmospheres, the feelings of isolation, pacings and breaks from the oppression where the player can take a breath (like the elevator) before being buried under the weight of Citadel Station and SHODAN again.
Some of the sounds in the demo are very good and some are temporary sounds, standing in until we reach full production and we can replace them. I'd like to share a few plans about our foley system, to give some insight into our dedication to sell a compelling experience to our players. Once the game reaches a point in production where we can get a full list of all of the foley sounds needed, we are going to have full custom foley for the game (no library sounds). We intend to mic this foley at different angles and distances, so that at the game's runtime we can dynamically mix these elements for the player (i.e. as a mutant is further away, you hear more of the far mics in the mix than the close mics and vice-versa). We are planning systems in which the foley responds very dynamically and closely with the engine to make the sound fit exactly what is going on in the game, both in sounds and mix. Things like speed, acceleration, movement type, changes of direction, etc, will all impact what the player hears during gameplay, making the player feel like this is actually their body. This is only one small system out of dozens and dozens that we are planning or have already created and implemented, and I hope that this helps to demonstrate our commitment toward making the sound work for the player to make the game as compelling and immersive as is available in games today.
A few people have asked about VO for System Shock. Yes, Terri Brosius is reprising her role as SHODAN, and yes, she still sounds spot-on for the part after 20 years. Just listen to her voice in the Kickstarter video! We have also been working with some new talent for the project. In the demo you heard Rachael Messer, a newcomer to the Shock series, acting wonderfully as Rebecca Lansing. The original System Shock was one of the first games with full VO, and in the same vein we don't want to settle for anything less than exceptional acting in System Shock.
System Shock Remix Album (stretch goal)
Lastly, I'm very excited to talk about the remix album stretch goal for the project. We have a roster of talented musicians on board to help us remix the original System Shock 1 OST.
The first artist that I would like to reveal that we are working with is none other than Robotkid (Josh Randall) of the original System Shock 2 music team. We know that there are a ton of fans of the System Shock 2 music and of Robotkid's style throughout it.
I have been working with the programming department in the game to try to get this remix album in the game as an alternative or unlockable mode for the game. Nothing confirmed on this yet, as it is a lot of programming work to make it happen, but do know that we are trying to make this work for people who want a more nostalgic experience than a modern one.
We are going to continue to announce more musical artists that are taking part in the remix album as the project gets closer to being funded at that stretch level! Please help share the project around so that we can reach that goal and give you guys this awesome soundtrack!