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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.

November Update

Posted by Nightdive Studios (Creator)

Hey there Hackers!

We’re going to try something new (for us) and show A LOT of what we’re working on… even stuff that’s a work in progress. We appreciate everyone’s patience with us as we find the best way to reveal things we’re working on. If folks like this format, we’ll try to do more of these in the future. Please let us know what you think:


Updated FAQ

With the video update today we thought this would also be a good time to answer some of the questions that have been coming up again and again in both our Kickstarter comments, Discord, and other social media channels. We will be answering more questions on future updates or join us on Discord at to talk about all things System Shock.   

Kristina Tomalesky|Lead Producer                  

Q: What stage of development are you at?  

A: (TL;DR) We are currently working on Vertical Slice in Pre-Production.  

(Read on for more details…)  

Game development breaks down into several Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production milestones. This varies a bit from company to company as well so keep in mind that how we define these milestones may differ somewhat from how others use these same terms. The end goal for all developers is it to take chunks of related work and set deadlines for that effort.

For System Shock, Pre-Production breaks down into several smaller milestones:

  • Concept / Pitch / Prototype - This was the work that was necessary for the Kickstarter. The team put together a high level game design document, established an art style, and created pitch materials including the Kickstarter video.
  • Hold that thought….Change engines to UE4!!! - Once the Kickstarter funded, the team went back to work only to change gears in a massive way. An engine change is never easy but the team felt that it was the correct call for the project so we spent several months moving from Unity to UE4, revising our processes, and rebuilding our pipelines. On top of that we streamlined our character development pipeline to Maya. This whole process made several of us want to pull out our remaining hair, except for Jason that is! We are very glad that work is complete!
  • First Playable - First Playable is unsurprisingly the first playable version of a game. For us, it meant a small section of the Medical Deck, the Mutant enemy, Sparq Beam, door codes, audio logs, throwable items, cameras, detection states, shatter tech, and a bunch of new art and additional tech all working in one build! First Playable also gave us the chance to prove out, adjust, and refine our development pipelines. In addition, being on UE4 required us to redo some things that had previously been done for the Unity version of the game. In all, we created a playable game that had approximately 7 encounter scenarios and had approximately 10 - 15 minutes of gameplay.
  • Vertical Slice - Vertical Slice is a thin deep slice of the game. If you think of cutting a cake and applying it to game development, you look for a full featured experience in a small section of the game. For Shock, we are finishing building out the Medical Deck including labs, vents, and patient rooms, adding in several new enemies including the Cyborg Drone and Cyborg Commander, new weapons, turrets, hacking puzzles, and so on. This milestone also lets us finalize the combat for multiple weapon types and throwable items. By the time this milestone is complete, we should have a good hour of gameplay that is very indicative of the final game.

Once the Vertical Slice Milestone wraps up the team moves into Production. Similar to Pre-Production, Production breaks down into several smaller milestones (Alpha, Beta, Final). We will explain more about these milestones and goals as the project develops.

Q: When is the release date?  

A: We're still early in development. Once we enter our Production phase, we'll have more info for all of you.

Q: What happened to the old Unity Demo?  

A: At this time, we have taken down the old demo since it does not reflect the current state of the project.  

Q: Will there be an Unreal Demo soon?  

A: We do not have plans to release a build of the game until the backer Beta begins.

Q: Any hope for a Nintendo Switch version? How about Xbox One X?  

A: It is not off the table. 

Q: Will there be Mod Support? 

A: While we did not hit this goal as part of the Kickstarter, however it is a goal on Backerkit:

Q: Will System Shock be Mac compatible?  

A: Yes. Mac, Linux, and Windows  

Q: How does the sizing work on the shirts?  

A: We will update the Backerkit entry with a sizing chart for both male and female shirts.  

Q: Can I use PayPal as my payment method on Backerkit?  

A: We're still considering PayPal - hold tight!

Q: How long do I have until I need to finalize my Backerkit survey?  

A: A few months before launch, we will send out a number of updates before we're ready to finalize orders.


Nightdive Studios Fifth Anniversary

Today marks the 5th Anniversary of Nightdive Studios, we couldn't do it without such a great community! So let's celebrate with a sale, all our titles are up to 80% off on Steam:

We are so excited to be celebrating 5 wonderful years!
We are so excited to be celebrating 5 wonderful years!


 If you have any other questions or support needs, please let us know here:

 See you next time~! 

 (。・ω・。)ノ♡Karlee Meow 

Also find us on:

AcesofDeath7, Arkam, and 102 more people like this update.


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    1. Remember Citadel on

      Why not join the official Nightdive Forums? There’s both supportive and critical discussions taking place.

    2. Rahul on

      Please don't go too far from the original, as it appears from this video, that you are doing.
      Just hoping/expecting the new game to be as good as the original.
      All the best.

    3. Zangdaarr on

      Just to add, the game is probably good, but it's no longer System Shock, which we all backed. It's better to directly sell what you wanna sell, it avoids getting your product hated despite it's quality.

    4. Zangdaarr on

      Why do you keep calling this project System Shock when you even changed the maps ? Where's the sense of opression gone ?
      You feared not being back for your own game so you cheated us all and raped a great game ?

      I feel sick of this team and want my pledge back.

    5. Matthias Worch on

      First time I'm checking in on the status of this project, and I feel cheated. This is not the game that I backed anymore, or the game that was promised in the pitch. I'm not saying that it's a bad game, or a version of System Shock that shouldn't be made. But I backed a tightly defined nostalgia kick, not a re-imagining of the original that will take way longer to create on top of only evoking (but never recreating) the feel of the original game. Best of luck to everybody who's working on this, and of course I'll check out the final product. But my interest has dwindled quite a bit.

    6. Missing avatar

      John Burton on

      @ Robert Pollard - I think the real issue this game faces, is that System Shock 3 has actually been revealed. And it's being handled by Warren Spector....

      Now, I backed this remake before being aware of the news. Having heard it, and being left distinctly unimpressed by NightDive's progress so far (very little it seems, and somewhat different than what I backed), I have to wonder if my money would have been better spent on purchasing System Shock 3 when its released.....

      Do I go with the original creator, who is tried and tested, and has pretty consistently delivered the goods across their career?

      Or with a studio that had a tempting demo built on the work of others, that has now changed the scope of their project (seemingly out of hubris) and scrapped the demo that got me interested in the first place?

      Nothing they have said, or shown, has me convinced they have what it takes to make a better game than a project overseen by Warren Spector himself. The game will most likely be superceded by the sequel, and if they don't pull their finger out - at this rate it may even get released before they're done!

      The only reason I haven't refunded already is because it's not a huge amount of money, but I haven't had any faith in the project for quite some time now.

    7. Missing avatar

      Robert Pollard on

      I'm not sure I like the new direction it's taking. I was hoping for a 'HD' version of the original, but we have gone way off course here. It should be noted that many of the kick-starter failures are caused by increased scope as a result of better than expected original funding.

      The new medical level, whilst realistic, is also incredibly 'boxy' like pretty much any other game out there. The original SS1 medical level was based around hexagonal cross-sections with many sloping surfaces. The new one makes no homage to the original and suffers from looking a little bland.
      I would have thought a lot of project risk would have been mitigated by keeping the original design, with updated visuals and perhaps an updated control system (I actually liked the original). But instead, we have new levels and by the looks of it new weapons. It's almost like we have funded System Shock 3 rather than a re-master of System Shock 1 :/

    8. Andre on

      @Sean B Brown. a comment by Jason fader that covers much of what you have been talking about.

      "[It is] definitely not the final look Art shifts and changes on a project for quite a while. I'd say it's mostly there, but tweaks and changes will be expected. Keep in mind that's only the medical deck. Other decks will have their own unique touches.

    9. Andre on

      Also, thanks to everyone for your kind words and positive feedback. it is very much appreciated.

    10. Andre on

      Please feel free to leave your feedback, commentaries, and questions at the Night Dive Studios official Discord or forum.

      The devs are frequently there as well as other community members. :)

    11. Andre on

      @David Brittain an answer to your question about "head bob" and "motion Blur"

      "for head Bob and motion blur, what you see right now is all temp for it. We plan on refining it over time and adding options players can tune to their liking."


    12. Andre on

      @Netzbummler a reply to your question "I would very much like to see an option to un-filter the textures, just like it was in the very first SS demo."

      That probably won't happen. The unity demo graphics were acheived using a VERY different texture approach than what we're doing now. That prior approach made things insanely difficult for the art team to create more assets with. That's one of many reasons that brought on the current art style.
      We tried experimenting with it, but in the end it just didn't make sense to keep using that style if we wanted to keep our artists sane

      Please pop on to the Discord. All this feed back and questions can be easier answered there. :)

    13. Missing avatar

      Franz Luger on

      Great idea to present the game's progress that way. :-)
      I share the dislike for any kind of blur (or shiny clumsiness) though...

    14. Josh Dusel on

      Grats on your anniversary! And thanks for a beefy update. It looks great. I only wish you were farther along.

    15. Judicator on

      @Irony: Nothing's wrong with skates, actually they make much more sense today for speedrunners.

    16. Missing avatar

      David Brittain

      Looks promising, but please oh please add in an option to turn head bob and motion blur down or off as I'm quite prone to motion sickness which seems to be getting worse as I get older. The ridiculous amount of head bob in "Wolfenstein the New Colossus" is stopping me from buying and playing that game even though I really want to because even just watching it on youtube makes me feel a bit ill.

    17. Missing avatar

      Jon on

      I guess I'm just worried that the system shock 80's cyberpunk, techno, bodyhorror, corporate industrial disaster, feel of the original might get washed out with a focus too much on realism. Sure it'll be a great game regardless but that style and feel is why I like SS games over say, the new prey. I mean, what's wrong with roller skates anyway.

    18. Missing avatar

      Jon on

      It's really striking the difference between the demo footage and the new more realistic level footage. The demo levels jump out of that video as their own thing, where as the new levels seem like they could be from any Sci-Fi game of the last 10 years.

      Sure the old levels are odd if you think about them too hard but I think people would allow the abstraction if they are getting a really unique feeling experience. Maybe the abstraction adds to the emersion in a way that "real" looking games often don't.

    19. Dudikoff on

      I'm somewhat surprised by some of the negative comments here. If the game's engine and graphics get a significant boost (which they obviously are), you have to enrich the gameplay aspects (e.g. combat, as with the freezing and dismembering shown in the update, or being able to pick up and throw a cup to distract the mutants), otherwise the game world would feel rather empty and bland and non-interactive if only the gameplay features from the original game are included.

      To be fair, I also liked the original retro concept as well (just an upgrade of the original game), but I think a complete reimagination of the game is a more promising approach if the team can make a good job at it (and from seeing the art and these demo level segments, I would safely assume that my fears were unwarranted). Surely the benefits of a new game could be much higher than what a graphics update of the original would have been able to do (with the original blocky level design), plus it might actually sell beyond the fans of the original game.

    20. Missing avatar

      Sean B. Brown on

      Okay, so, nearly everything I just said in my comment can be addressed by literally turning down the brightness. Let me be specific. On my TV (which I use as my monitor). I have a "brightness" setting that controls the backlight brightness. I'm not talking about that setting. I have a "black level" setting that controls what we would normally consider brightness. If I crank that way down, I get the darkness and the deeper moody lighting that I want. I suggest everyone do this. Hell, I kind of suggest Nightdive literally darken their video.

    21. Missing avatar

      Sean B. Brown on

      Now that's what I call an UPDATE! Woo! I'm good with everything, for the most part. Though I feel like the art has lost a bit of the cyperpunk vibe of the original (and the Demo, now that I think about it). Needs more dark areas with tiny vibrant saturated DEEP dark green, yellow and red light sources. I mean, the lights as they are now are good, but I feel like if the colors of all of them were darkened and far less pastel-looking they'd feel better and make things more moody. And cyberpunkish. I feel like basically all of it could do with being darker, but the light sources though, need real deepening. Those deep solid greens and reds, like you get with lasers in real life with the lights off and smoke blowing. Etc. I feel like 5 minutes of tweaking could achieve this, so I'm not too worried.

      Overall though, this was an awesome update. Loved the video and the style of it. Keep up the good work guys.

    22. Missing avatar

      John Burton on

      On the one hand I'm glad to see evidence of some progress, but on the other - it's disappointing that in some ways this project appear to be going backwards.

      You are either showing rough early footage which looks somewhat bad compared to the slickness of the demo, and would probably be better not even being shown if that is the case. Or that is how the final product will look - and its washed out, and unremarkable compared to the previous efforts.

      I got no sense from watching it that you will be crafting atmospheric environments, which is strange - since I did feel that from the demo. At least as far as I recall - its been a while now since it was played, and this video is a slightly bitter showing for what has been achieved so far - which doesn't seem a whole lot if I'm being brutally honest.

      I'm enthusiastic for the changes in accommodating various game play styles, but not that confident you can implement them. As far as I know there hasn't been a new demo to show off any of these changes, and so it seems somewhat arrogant to believe you have what it takes to improve upon the classic foundation when there's no evidence to back that up yet.

      Its certainly a game that could do with updating, and having some elements bought up to modern standards, but at this rate its going to be a looooooong time before my concerns about your ability to do so are put to rest.

      I was really excited about this project and backed it immediately after playing the demo, but, the pointless updates with nothing to show, and lackluster progress have drained that enthusiasm away. Fingers crossed you haven't bitten off more than you can chew.....

    23. Shaun Gupta on

      @Judicator, I've posted my comments in #feedback on the Discord server as well as in this thread on the NDS forums:…

      @C. Kohlhaas, unfortunately, the VR stretch goal was not met, so it's probably unlikely, at least for the initial release.

    24. Joey on

      I definitely prefer more of these kinds of updates (even if that means less often than once a month).
      That said, I'm going to echo Jaramide, here: I miss the demo. I already own Prey.

    25. Judicator on

      Firstly thanks to all the people at NDS for your work: I really appreciate it and I think this feeling gets through the comments in geneal.

      I'm also pleased with the way this update is presented: I mostly like the video with the comment of the developers.
      I think you are moving in the right direction with this update as regard feeding us content and its presentation and I kind of feel like a transcript would also be great, maybe an article with images detailing what you are explaining.
      Good work, however, very nicely done.

      Since what you've showed us is so early in development I don't think it would be too useful to specifically speak my mind on what I've seen so I'm just dropping a few point of my impressions here and there.

      I'm pleased to see you have developed this new method to speed up prototyping of the levels: a good workflow is fundamental.
      What leaves me a bit perplexed is that the feeling, the System Shock vibe is apparently lost, I know this is early footage, but I feel the need to state this clearly until there's room and time to improve and hopefully nothing is set in stone.
      I'm not getting the atmosphere, the feeling I feel the lack of them straight from the concepts and I hope the right vibe will find its place in the game. This is my main concern so far.

      I'm seeing a strong similarity to Prey 2: this isn't totally a bad thing since that game has its merits but since I didn't like its general feeling I hope to see different esthetics, something more, much more System Shock, I did like P2's Extra-vehicular activity though.

      The frozen mutant shattering isn't bad, it's just an old and over used mechanic, my hope is it is going to be used wisely maybe according to the difficulty level.

      I like the "dismeberment" feature idea: it could add a lot visually and to gameplay; it could be nice to shoot off arms holding weapons or cripple mutants/cyborgs to slow them down or blind them.

      @Shawn: I'd like to read yours as well as the other backer's feedback here too, I don't think this is a bad place to share our ideas and comments.

    26. Remember Citadel on

      A huge step in the right direction when it comes to getting the message across. I dig how closely the actual gameplay locations matches the art. I’m also happy with what was shown of the gameplay systems and the various supported play-styles.

      Not so happy with

      - the shattering of frozen enemies when hit with a pipe (over the top)
      - the projectile weapon (which I hope is a placeholder)
      - the dismembering section
      - not sure if I want to see the protagonist’s hands and feet

      Even though I probably will have to make peace with the idea to get a straight remake of the original, this is making me optimistic and curious about where the coming months take us.

      Medical looks pretty good so far. Please continue trying to “quote” the original wherever you see fit.

      And since it is allowed to dream here, I’d love to see some kind of optional vintage filter, that makes the game resemble the original / initial prototype.

      Happy anniversary!

    27. nnn on

      Major props to Kevin and his art team for the style they've developed. The first Unreal video looked like a Dead Space imitator, and now you can tell there's a lot of thought and taste behind the new choices and it feels like System Shock. Exciting stuff.

      As you work for grounded visuals, don't forget that neon and saturated color could still be used effectively to shock, disorient, unsettle, or provoke dreamlike unreality. This was popular with 70's horror filmmakers.

      Obviously you aren't making psychedelic stuff but there could be some overlap with crazy cyberpunk nightmare transhumanism.

      Best of luck, looking forward to more updates :)

    28. Missing avatar

      benedict carter on

      Great update, like the video format, really pleased to hear the thoughts on level (re)design, sounds superb.

      Visually this is looking a lot better than the prev unreal video, although everything still looks like its made out of plastic (like unreal engine games tend to do...?) and things dont look nearly as nice as the unity demo... makes me a bit sad, plastic unreal games and all that.

      I must say i really hate the spark effects being employed, they really break immersion, any chance of a tweak here?

      Shatter tech looks nice, but gimmicky, and not physically realistic (full disclaimer, while Im a physicist, Im not a materials physicist). Ditto on the limbing, the force required to "rip off" limbs/head etc would cause the rest of the body to ragdoll like crazy (seriously, do the physics, dont just create some "arty effect". As it is having gimmicky things like this kills immersion... isnt SS supposed to be a first person immersive simulation?

      anyway, all in all looking better than last time, I hope the trend continues.

    29. Bjornen on

      Better update than the rest of them, but most of the data seems like a "filler" for me. Something like: "We really need to make an update because people is getting angry, so let's put, I don't know, the phases of game developing, then repeat the FAQ, and a video".
      For the video, it's too early to judge, does not look so bad and it will improve I guess. Still, maybe a little to late seeing how long did it take to show something, but better late than good.

    30. Steve Tuns on

      Great video & update, the audio log format you did there is very fitting. What I'm incredibly interested in is how the audio affects, ambient sounds and soundtrack is shaping up (remember your roots) #cyberpunk #systemshockmusic #dynamicallylayeredmidi #remembertosaltthefries

    31. Christoph Zürcher on

      That's exactly the kind of update I like to see on Kickstarter, thanks!

    32. Netzbummler on

      I liked what I saw, though I find the concentration on dismembering just gross. Better spend your time elsewhere, please. System Shock has NOT become the classic it is by shooting off heads.

      Also, I would very much like to see an option to un-filter the textures, just like it was in the very first SS demo. After all, this is what I backed.

    33. Stein Gunnar Bakkeby on

      Really liked the video update, looks good.

    34. Roman Reiff on

      I really like the video update! After my last negative comment on how we did not get anything new to see in the last months, consider this a big thumbs up!

    35. Missing avatar

      C. Kohlhaas on

      Thanks for the update. Are there plans for VR?

    36. Missing avatar

      Mikko Lainio on

      Great stuff, awesome video! I like where the level design is going and I especially love the r&d part, it's fun to see what kind of stuff is going on there! I think gore fits the theme of SS very well and it'd be great if the game was also a bit extreme in that sense - maybe not as up-close and personal over-the-top gory as new Doom for example, but in a more horror / slasher type of way :) So yeah I like where you're going!

    37. Dudikoff on

      I was worried when the project switch from a reboot to the reimagination of the original, but your artwork is so well done that it really is something that the original game's story deserves (unlike the technically much superior sequel, but also much inferior story-wise IMHO).

      I would have also liked a reboot as well as shown in the original demo, but this has so much more potential. Keep up the good work.

    38. Missing avatar

      Jiri Matejka on

      Whoaa finally got a bigger update. I think this is going in the right direction .. These concepts of environment, monsters and level design are very nice. I have doubts, now I hope you can do it :) I feel the respect to the old system of shock and the effort to move it further to today's visual standards. Good work keep going, I feel great potential...

    39. Missing avatar

      RJ Limerick on

      A good video is awesome, but video for video's sake is annoying. Don't feel the need to do video unless there's something best explained that way. In this case, lots of updates on visuals makes it totally worthwhile.

      I like the balance that the art seems to be arriving at between retro neon garishness and generic sci-fi environment. Actually got a bit of a Shock 2 vibe at moments in that video.

    40. Flatfingers on

      Whoops -- also should have said thanks to Kristina for the FAQ, and congratulations to NightDive on five years of bringing back great games!

    41. Flatfingers on

      I've posted some detailed feedback in the relevant thread at the Official NightDive Forum:… But here's the short version:

      Did like: the amount of information in this update, "agency," leaning, and designing for multiple play styles.
      Reserving judgment on: "realistic" redesign, consciously changing existing gameplay to more directly support a science fiction version of the old Thief/Mage/Fighter trinity.
      Not too wild about: (apparently) using a console controller, delivering update information in video format (because I can read faster and in more depth than people can talk in a video).

      On that last item, I don't mind the occasional video update when there's art or dynamics to show off. But I hope all future updates won't be videos -- I enjoy text updates that include bullet point lists of features and game design principles. :D

    42. Missing avatar

      Darrin Michelson on

      Excellent progress guys. Really enjoying the behind the scenes views, very informative. It's what makes Kickstarter a great value on top of the end product itself.

    43. Shaun Gupta on

      @Leo Borg, the FAQ answer you're referring to was specifically answering if Mac would be supported, so I think it was written with questions of computer compatibility in mind, but fear not - XBOX One and PS4 are still confirmed!

    44. icemann on

      Now this is an update. Please do all future updates this way, and please do these at least once a month rather than every 2-3 months.

      Great update video.

      Questions for your FAQ - What measures are you taking to keep the strong cyberpunk and immersive sim style of the original intact?

      Q2: The original games of System Shock and System Shock 2 featured hub levels that were persistent (meaning that actions taken stayed in place even after you left and would be there when you returned). Will this be the same for your remake of the original?

    45. Greg on

      I feel like the game is really going off course; that is, it seems like the team is adding stuff that has nothing to do with the original game. This was supposed to be a reboot, but it seems unrecognizable now. I'll try to give it the benefit of the doubt, though.

    46. Shaun Gupta on

      Cool update! Loving the new video format and think those should definitely continue. =) Can't wait to see more from here on out, but this is a great start and this video really highlights the progress you're making. I have some specific comments and constructive thoughts about vibe, etc., but I'll put that in the Discord feedback section. =) Thanks for the update and all the hard work!

    47. Missing avatar


      Nice update. I understand a bit what Jaramide is saying, though. The engine switch was also reported after the fact, I remember??

    48. Missing avatar

      Marsell on

      That was indeed a neat update. I'm also a fan of the shatter tech, and I like the new art direction. The old direction felt cheesy.

      I hope the dismemberment system doesn't result in instakill in the future. A missing arm or leg shouldn't be the end of an enemy.

    49. Thomas on

      Very cool video update ! You are making good progress, I will continue to wait patiently :)

    50. Missing avatar

      Jaramide on

      So disappointed to see you didn't go with the retro art style from the demo after all. It gave the game a really unique look.
      I still hold to my comment I left right after the engine switch, that if this was the concept you had shown when you asked for money initially I would never have backed it because it looks like every other genetic ue4 shooter.