Otherside Entertainment announced the System Shock 3 “dream team” earlier today, and it's about as impressive a lineup as any panting, sweating hacker could ask for. The team is headed up by famed designer Warren Spector, the producer on the original System Shock, who recently shared some details about the new game with Polygon, including where it will begin and how it will connect to the previous two games.
There are some pretty big spoilers in here, by the way, so if you want to go into System Shock 3 with no idea of what's coming, leave now.
System Shock 2 ended on a cliffhanger, with Shodan's consciousness alive inside a women named Rebecca Sutton. That's where System Shock 3 will begin: It will tie up the “loose threads” of its predecessor and feature appearances by the surviving characters including Sutton and her boyfriend Tommy, plus Rebecca Lansing and the hacker from the first System Shock, and the choose-your-own-class protagonist from the second.
Spector said that the evolution of the real world over the past 20 years will be reflected in the way things like hacking are presented to the player. “Back when we made System Shock, cyberpunk was still at its height in terms of popularity and cultural significance and it was a big inspiration,” he said. “Nowadays, cyberpunk is a little less current. I've learned over the years that it's foolish to try to convince people to become interested in something they don't care about, so we're finding things that people are interested in today.”
He also indicated that, despite the deep-seated attachment some gamers have to the old games, Otherside won't shy away from changing things up. “Arturo [Pulecio, the art director on the project] has been working on our version of Shodan, which is going to be interesting and different from what people expect,” he said. “I expect it will infuriate some people but definitely get people talking.”
Spector suggested that, while he likes and respects System Shock 2—which he did not work on—SS3 may be more akin to the original, which wasn't as much of a “traditional role-playing game.” He also touched on how the first two games work as inspiration for the third, and what he thinks of the System Shock remake currently in the works at Night Dive.