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System Shock is a faithful reboot of the genre defining classic from 1994 built by a team of industry veterans. 

Remember Citadel.
System Shock is a faithful reboot of the genre defining classic from 1994 built by a team of industry veterans. Remember Citadel.
21,625 backers pledged $1,350,700 to help bring this project to life.

Dev Spotlight - Stephen Kick

Posted by Nightdive Studios (Creator)

Hey Backers! My name is Stephen Kick and I’m the CEO and Founder of Nightdive Studios- I’m responsible for the day to day operations around the studio and making sure our developers have everything they need to do their job to the best of their abilities. I’m also part of the team that negotiates the licensing rights to the many games in our catalog, meets with our many partners, and ensures that we revive and re-release as many classic PC games as possible. 

My Career

I remember looking at college applications during my senior year of high school and not being particularly motivated to spend another 4 years in school. It didn’t help that at the time I really didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to study but like many people my age I found myself completely infatuated with gaming. After seeing an ad in PC Gamer for a school in San Francisco that offered degrees in Game Art & Design, I decided I’d go and give it a shot. After completing my 3rd or 4th 200 page game design doc I decided I’d have more fun working on Character Art and refocused my efforts. After graduation I quickly found a position as character artist at a local indie studio, and shortly after that employed at Sony Online Entertainment. I worked on a few MMO’s including Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures and PlanetSide 2 before deciding to quit and spend about a year traveling.

This is where Nightdive Studios was born
This is where Nightdive Studios was born

My journey took me through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and finally Panama over the course of 9 months. During that time I revisited a few of my favorite classic games, Full Throttle, The Curse of Monkey Island, Fallout 2, and many others. It was when attempting to install and replay System Shock 2 that I discovered there was no legal way to purchase the game, or play it on modern operating systems. The fact that one of the greatest PC games of all time was no longer available concerned me, so I set out to discover what had happened to the franchise. My quest led me to discover the rights were being held by an insurance company in the midwest, and after speaking with their legal counsel, I negotiated a deal that would grant me to rights to redistribute the game. On February 13th 2013 I launched System Shock 2 on - and Night Dive Studios was born. This November will mark our 4th anniversary, and with almost 100 games published on Steam and multiple development teams currently working to bring back forgotten classics, we begin our most ambitious project yet, a faithful remake of the original System Shock.

My Life

I grew up an only child in a small town in Massachusetts just South of the New Hampshire border. Consoles weren’t allowed in the home so when my family purchased a personal computer, my life was forever changed. My first two games were NHL 95 and LucasArts’ Dark Forces, but many more would follow. After work my dad would come home and we’d play adventure games together for hours. We’d solve the puzzles, print out screenshots, and paste them in our own detailed guides that read like journals from some mythical quest. Video games were rapidly consuming my attention and often times in class instead of homework I’d be planning the perfect base layout for a future MP game of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, or using Red, Blue, Yellow and Green Crayola markers to lay out my strike pattern for an upcoming mission of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.

With Chris Avellone
With Chris Avellone

I remember going to my local Electronics Boutique for a midnight release of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and being the only person there, going home, installing the game and becoming so distraught at the poor performance that I spent the next 3 weeks mowing every lawn in the neighborhood to save up and buy my first 3D accelerator, a 6MB beast that blew my mind. It made the newly released N64 look like a kid’s toy. When Quake was released I started getting into creating custom levels and my interest in game development started to grow. When I wasn’t gaming, I was playing sports. I played soccer, basketball, lacrosse, ran cross country, and competed in track and field. If gaming hadn’t been such a strong influence on me there’s no doubt I would have pursued a professional career in athletics.

Other Thoughts

My favorite part about this journey I’ve taken has been hearing from you, the fans of classic games who have reached out and shared their love for the medium. Everyone has such wonderful stories of how they were introduced to video games and your appreciation for what we do is what makes it all worth it. Our goal from the very beginning was to scour the depths of PC gaming history and recover and restore lost classics for all to enjoy once again, and with your help we’re able to take it to the next step. I can’t thank you all enough for your support!


 - Stephen Kick

Eric Hewitt, Vitezslav Ures, and 108 more people like this update.


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    1. Azghouls on

      I'm a 40 plus gamer and had the same issues playing SS1 and SS2 back then. The rest is history thanks to you and your team. Game on!

    2. Christoph Zürcher on

      You did an awesome job so far bringing some real classics back.

    3. jorlinn on Linux on

      Dear Stephen, thank you for this interesting story. I was delighted when Thief 1 & 2 became playable once more on new systems, but the resurrection of System Shock 2 on GOG sent me through the roof with joy. Thank you for making these great games legally accessible again and going through all the legal paperwork to make this possible.

    4. Gary Coughlin on

      I always keep Rainbow Six installed for when I get that itch. Easily one of the best games ever. What's also a very good game in a similar, brutal, one-shot one-kill style: Iron Storm.

    5. Pekka H on

      @Sirio Martini Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight (and DF 1) is defintitely a game which is worth of to be remade with modern gfx and stuff by preserving the epic story and superb level design. Haven't seen such a perfectly produced combination of these two features in any other FPS / 3D adventure game yet. Except System Shock which is of course a different kind of experience. Unique one! There's nothing bad in the original DF series but I would love to see a remake. I completed DF2 and the Mysteries of the Sith lately and loved them even more when they were launched back in the late 90's. I know the feeling :)

    6. Pekka H on

      Thank you for sharing the interesting story. I remember too back in 94 when I wanted to play Star Wars: Dark Forces 1 but I didn't have enough memory to run it. But the situation changed when I bought some more RAM to our 486 with my summer job income. I believe I was as happy as Stephen with his new videocard! :)

    7. Jeff Machado on

      Nice to meet you Stephen. And keep up the good work.

      Now here's a challenge... track down the No One Lives Forever franchise and make it happen. I would absolutely love to see a remake.

    8. Victor Cerezo ~ vEK on

      Thanks for sharing. I've started in a similar way... but here in Spain, at that time, we didn't have any gamedev related studies, so most of the gamedevs of my age are self-taught :'(

      BTW, one thing that bothered me was "Consoles weren’t allowed in the home"... could you tell us why exactly?

      And again, thanks *a lot* for recovering SS2, one of my favs of all time!
      We are... we are... ;>

    9. Sirio Martini on

      Man, to me Dark Forces 2 still is, to this date, the FPS with the best level design ever created. I replayed it to commemorate LucasArts when it "died" a couple years ago and I had a blast, even more than at lauch when I first played it (maybe because growing up I learned to appreciate things which I was too immature to enjoy back then). THAT would be a great game to remake. Nonetheless, I recommend anyone who enjoy great level design to pick it up and play it.

    10. Shaun Gupta on

      Awesome! And for a great video interview that talks about a lot of this stuff (with another part coming soon about this System Shock project), check out a YouTube video posted to reddit last night by antdude - I just watched it last night and it's a lot of fun:…

    11. Frank Kirby on

      Dark Forces!. My man

    12. Missing avatar

      Nicole on

      Look out for that headcrab!

    13. Missing avatar

      Carmelo on

      Thanks for sharing your story, hope this get to other kids out there and motive them to make more good games. We need more people like this on the world

    14. stephane deslauriers on

      There is no other like Stephen Kick. He alone has made it possible to make sure these games are not lost in obscurity. It would be easy to lose the source code and never be able to have a game available, forever fading away into nothing but memories. One such game is Panzer Dragoon Saga. I know it is not a PC game, but it is sad that we will never again see it on any new platform. It is rare. It is expensive and hardly anyone will be able to see this game, let alone try it out legally. I so happen to own one and I am very grateful for having a lost piece of gaming history. I am very happy that Stephen Kick is doing what he is doing, and he has a dedicated team willing to reach for such lofty, yet satisfying endeavors. Thank you sir for System Shock Enhanced alone. What you are doing is a beautiful thing!! - SD

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      murray on

      Thanks dude! System Shock 2 is the single game that has affected me the most. I had just bought my first PC and SS2 was named Game of the Year. I played for countless hours and completed the game scared out of my wits. I had no idea about RPGs or anything beyond Atari 2600 and arcade classics...

      Thanks for bringing these games back to life!

    16. Niezbo

      Dear Stephen! Thank you for bringing back SS2 to life! And for working on the new SS too :)

    17. Chris J Capel on

      Nice going Stephen, you're doing God's work! Be proud!

    18. Missing avatar

      Mark Zwaan on

      Great work, I really appreciate what you guys are doing. While I still own some of the original discs of games I played twenty years ago, it's often impossible to get them to play properly. And unfortunately I threw out or lost some games. So without Nightdive studios,, Retroism and the guys behind ScummVM, I would not have been able to replay some of the great games from my youth. That's why I didn't hesitate to support this Kickstarter and I wish you a lot of fun bringing more classic games back.

    19. Stormcry on

      *Stephen King doh

    20. Stormcry on

      I'm sorry, you probably hear this a lot, but I read Steven King. Momentary blowing of the mind aside, you must admit it's a pretty close comparison eh?
      You both are very talented and by the look of your Kickstarter video you're also happily bonkers :)
      Just like King! So this game will be awesome! Because talent and reasons!

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      C. Kohlhaas on

      I haven't related to much online, ever. But this really sounds like it could be me, except my life went a bit different after high school. But yeah - sounds overly familiar! :)