The System Shock remake is getting a massive patch with a revised ending, choice of female player character '8 years in the making', and a significant quality of life improvement

Female system shock hacker holding laser gun with cyborgs approaching from behind
(Image credit: Nightdive)

Nightdive's System Shock, our pick for best remake of 2023, is getting its largest patch to date, including a revised ending sequence, choice of gender for the Hacker, optional waypoints, and more. The overhaul update is set to go live on April 11, so you might want to put off diving into a new run for a week.

Let's start with the lady Hacker, as she actually seems to have been in the works the longest. "[Hacker gender choice] was a stretch goal for Kickstarter oh, seven, eight years in the making," Nightdive founder Stephen Kick told me in an interview at the Game Developers Conference ahead of the announcement. "We knew we wanted to patch that in, it was just one of those things that we knew wouldn't have any kind of immediate effect on gameplay, but just having that option kind of adds to the immersive quality of the game."

Even though the change involves a complete model rework and new voiceover grunts, it'll be a subtle difference in-game given that System Shock is entirely first person and the Hacker's a silent protagonist: You only see them from afar in beginning and ending cutscenes, as well as an iconic, gruesome game over scene. Still, as Kick pointed out, this choice can add so much to immersion and roleplay. "It's one of those early gaming staples, where it's an everyman or everywoman kind of scenario.

"You could put yourself in the shoes of the character and kind of project yourself into the world as opposed to there being a preset personality that you're playing as."

Kick and Nightdive business development director Larry Kuperman were more tight-lipped about what the 1.2 update's "Upgraded Ending" entails, but they both agreed that it's "worth replaying." Kick acknowledged that the move was in response to criticism of the game's original final boss, a virtual reality puzzle/shooter section with different mechanics from both System Shock's regular immersive sim gameplay, as well as the other VR sections throughout the campaign.

"A lot of the criticism that we received was: you spent this whole game collecting items, gearing yourself up for this big battle, and then all of your stuff was gone," Kick said. "You're left with just this one weapon to play what boils down to a minigame.

"It's just been completely reworked."

I'm curious what the update's "Mutant Combat Enhancements" will entail, but to my eye, its last big ticket improvement is the "Easy Mode Waypoint System." Now, I loved getting lost in System Shock's levels, and I'm pretty sure its backtracking annoyed me way less than any metroidvania I've ever played, but I do get it⁠—this game is a sequence of spaghetti tangle corridors with elevators that only serve part of the station, and sometimes you just want to know where the hell to go next. 

In his System Shock review, PCG news writer Joshua Wolens described "maximising the game's map and just playing that, guiding the arrow denoting my character through long corridors toward what I desperately hoped was the right lift." Me? I just took advantage of the remake's faithfulness and consulted walkthroughs of the 1994 original when I got stuck. Even though the remake's lack of handholding was something we on the team mostly praised, the added option for waypoints will only help more players ease into this game.

And we don't have too much longer to wait: System Shock's 1.2 update is coming to a PC near you on April 11.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.