Nightdive Studios, developers of the imminent System Shock remake, was recently acquired by Atari for $10 million in a move that came as quite a surprise. Although Atari has a rightful place in videogame history, the company's heyday was long ago, and in recent years it has seemed like a shell of its former self.
Yet in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Nightdive's CEO Stephen Kick discussed the decision to sell to Atari, explaining it was made because he believes the old publisher is on the up. "There is this misconception when this acquisition [happened] that we had basically chained ourselves to a sinking ship, but it couldn't be further from the truth," Kick explains. "They're on the rise here again, and we wanted to be a part of that."
The decision has a lot to do with Atari's current CEO, Wade Rosen, who recently bid to acquire the company after it reported another financial loss. "Wade is the X factor here," Kick says. "After he had become the Atari CEO, and started changing the underlying foundation of Atari toward something more game-centric...that's when we became interested in joining forces."
Kick also promises the sale to Atari won't affect Nightdive's modus operandi. "We are going to work on the things that interest us… Shooters, mostly, from the 1990s and 2000s." Neither will the deal affect Nightdive's ability to collaborate with external partners, with Kick saying "It's not going to limit who we work with."
Although he doesn't go into specifics about what Nightdive will be working on, Kick says that there are announcements "coming up" related to "a bunch of really obscure 1990s FPS games that we are working on." It's worth noting here that Atari recently bought up over 100 "groundbreaking and award-winning games" from the '80s and '90s, with a focus on re-releasing them. This includes games from several defunct publishers like Accolade, Infogrames and Microprose.
Does this mean we could see a remaster of 1999's Redline: Gang Warfare, a hybrid FPS/car-coop game that received a respectable score of 81% from this here publication? Time will only tell. Either way, the vibe seems very positive from Nightdive, and Wade Rosen does seem to be making the right moves in restoring Atari's reputation. According to Rich, the recent 50th anniversary collection was a winner. Rosen also discussed the Nightdive deal with PC Gamer in a recent interview, stating that he views the System Shock developers as "kindred spirits" when it comes to their attitude toward classic games.