OtherSide Entertainment layoffs leave the future of System Shock 3 in doubt

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Back in 2017 Starbreeze Studios agreed to publish OtherSide Entertainment's System Shock 3 (opens in new tab). Less than two years later, Starbreeze sold the publishing rights back to OtherSide (opens in new tab) after the failure of Overkill's The Walking Dead. OtherSide's Warren Spector said they were "looking for a publishing and funding partner" but would self-publish System Shock 3 as a last resort (opens in new tab). As yet no publisher has publicly stepped forward to take on the game.

As VGC (opens in new tab) reports, design director Chase Jones left OtherSide last week, joining other key staff including "System Shock 3's writer & director, senior designer, lead programmer, QA lead, senior environment artist and more" who have all either left or been laid off. A thread at the OtherSide forum has been cataloguing layoffs among the staff since June (opens in new tab).

Posting under the name Kim Corn Karn at the RPG Codex forum (opens in new tab), a former OtherSide developer responded to a question about whether System Shock 3 has been abandoned by saying, "I don't actually know what's going on, but the team is no longer employed there."

They also explained (opens in new tab) that, "most of the work is content development which we were critically behind in, both in real assets and in tool support for an efficient pipeline.

"Was the failure of the project right? It's hard to say. If Starbreeze hadn't gone into crisis I think we would've delivered something interesting with some fresh and innovative gameplay, but a much smaller game than what people were expecting and inevitably disappointing for a sequel to such a beloved franchise.

"Those high expectations drove a lot of expensive experimentation. We were a small team and knew we couldn't compete with current immersive sims in production quality and breadth, so we had to be creative and clever and weird. And we were on our way to make something unique and possibly fun, but probably not what the audience was hungry for."

In September of last year we saw a pre-alpha teaser of System Shock 3 (opens in new tab), which reintroduced the series' iconic villain SHODAN. It sure did look promising at the time.

We've reached out for comment and will let you know when we hear back.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.