News System Shock 3 Teaser

TheVectronic

The Wondering Scribe
Oct 31, 2018
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Puerto Rico
Place your bets! Which one gets released first?

The System Shock Remake (Unreal by Nightdive Studios) or System Shock 3 (Unity by Other Side Games)
 
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Hektor

Degenerate and Proud
Nov 1, 2018
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What is there looks good, but they aren't exactly showing a lot.
Cautiously excited. I really hope the game will feel System Shock 2 and not like Bioshock.
 
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prudis

TrailerBot - creeper edition
Sep 19, 2018
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The Kingdom of Bohemia
twitter.com
Warren gave a talk at the recent Reboot Develop Blue 2019 conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where he shared insights about his writing methods and spoke a little bit about the upcoming System Shock 3.
The industry has changed drastically since Warren Spector first entered it and his insight on the changing landscapes and the way players interact with digital worlds is fascinating. You can read the full interview below.
In your talk, you spoke about designing antagonists who are relatable and can give players moments of pause, or even outright agree with them. How do you strike that balance when you’re supposed to be designing a villain?

Warren Spector:
Well, that’s the secret sauce. And it’s very hard. The key is that phrase that I put up all around the office; ‘never judge the player,’ it’s a thought process as much as anything else. It’s about slowing the pace down, letting the players actually stop, see a challenge, make a plan, execute the plans, see the consequences. That’s the pacing of my games, okay. And when you have that stop and pause, that’s a moment when you can hear characters talking. You can hear them describing their beliefs, their feelings, what they’re doing. And then the player, not the character, and not me, but the player can decide; ‘hey, what that guy just said, really makes sense.’ You know? That’s one way to do it. The other thing you can do is simply commit to not saying ‘This guy is evil,’ you know? Like, I wish I could talk more about System Shock 3, but one of the things that are really important to me is to give SHODAN, our villain, some real motivation, and in System Shock 1 and System Shock 2, she was just an insane AI; ‘why do I do what I do? Because I am mad, of course.’ And that seems pretty weak. So giving her understandable motivation is still very dangerous. But maybe she makes sense in System Shock 3. It’s the way any author would treat their characters, treat your characters with respect. Don’t paint them in black and white, give players the opportunity to stop and listen or pay attention, or find things in the world that imply motivations on the part of your non-player characters. And then don’t judge. Don’t ever say this is right, this is wrong.

And how do you feel about developing your protagonist? Will it make it harder for the player to project themselves onto the protagonist if the protagonist is already a well defined, developed character?

WS:
That is why I never develop my protagonist. It’s important to me that we do not layer on so much backstory and so much character that players can’t inhabit the body of the hero. They have to become the hero – I’m going to choose my words carefully, or I will get myself in trouble. But I don’t find it very interesting, either as a player or as a developer, to manipulate a puppet, I’m not a puppet show guy. We have the opportunity in this medium to let you see the world through your own eyes and interpret what’s happening in the world, using your own brain and making decisions that are logical to you. And so we have to exploit that. And part of that, one of the things that go with that is not saying this is Joe Blow, you know, who’s an ex-CIA agent, he hates the color green, and he shoots first and asks questions later. No. I mean, it’s got to be the player in the body of the hero. And we took that so far, maybe too far, in Deus Ex we actually had to direct the voice actor Jay Franke, that poor guy, who did the voice of JC Denton, we actually had to tell him: ‘no emotion in your voice, no inflection, nothing,’ which is why JC Denton [adopts monotone voice] talks like this. And he never shows any emotion because he just started, he doesn’t mumble, but he just talks monotone. And it was because we never knew what the player was going to be doing specifically. And we couldn’t predict whether the player was going to be happy, or sad, or scared, or angry. And there’s nothing worse in terms of pulling people out of the experience than the player being angry and upset and adrenalized, and then the character says; [adopts high-pitched “Mickey Mouse voice] ‘Hey, nice to meetcha!’ So we had to keep the inflection at a minimum in the voiceover. That’s how far we were willing to go to ensure that the players inhabited the body of the character.

How long have you been working on System Shock 3 now?

WS:
A while, that’s for sure. It started out as just me, you know, writing up a bunch of docs, that was about two years ago. And then I brought on my leads, art director, design director, tech director, and then later on a producer, and we sat at my house (one of my houses, I own three houses with a library, and a gallery, and a house I live in). The library had enough space that we set up shop there. And we did some really quick prototyping and wrote a bunch more docs. That was about nine months in, and then we started growing and really entered pre-production. Yeah, so how long we’re working on System Shock 3, that’s about two years. But, really working on the game? No, no, no. Probably about a year, a little more.

When you finished up System Shock all those years ago, did you have plans for a sequel?

WS:
Honestly, I was kind of ready to move on to something else at that point. Yeah. So I didn’t really think much about it. I thought we had dealt with SHODAN. But I just want to make a game, finish it, and let players move on to the next one. But that’s not the world we live in anymore. So I wish I had a longer cooler answer. But no, honestly, I wasn’t thinking about System Shock 2 at the time.

To finish up, is there anything that you can tell me about System Shock 3?

WS:
Okay. Hear me choose my words carefully. It won’t require prior knowledge of the earlier System Shock games, because we want to grow the audience beyond just the core fans. But if you are a fan of the original games, there’ll be some things in there that I think you’ll find appealing. There were some survivors in the first two games that we don’t talk about too much. So maybe we’ll learn what happened to them. SHODAN is coming back, of course, but this time we’re going to kind of make her a complete character, with believable motivations. And you’ll see her change and grow over time in logical ways. Citadel Station is going to come back from the first game, except maybe not in the way people expect. We’re going to continue to try to capture the vibe, the combination of the shooter with light role-playing and survival horror, and stick with that. Going to tell a story in that traditional System Shock way where there are no living characters, and you have to piece what happened and what you need to do together from video logs and emails and messages from some folks off-site, just like the original. Beyond that, I should probably not say anything.

more at Interview with Warren Spector on System Shock 3, Deus Ex Trilogy, Mickey Mouse, and Immersive Sims
 

Aelphaeis Mangarae

Junior Member
Apr 21, 2019
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Going to tell a story in that traditional System Shock way where there are no living characters, and you have to piece what happened and what you need to do together from video logs and emails and messages from some folks off-site, just like the original.
This caught my attention, and. that approach to storytelling has some problems. They're problems that Fallout 76, for example, demonstrated. Basically, you end up in these situations where you have this interesting questline, but every single questline ends with the NPC being dead. This "no living NPC" mandate robs a lot of the mystery from the story. You end up knowing that if you follow the cookie crumb trail you'll end up finding a corpse at the end of it every single time. THAT twist in System Shock 2 was really good, but it's hardly something you want to repeat.

I think Prey had the right approach where most of the NPCs are dead but occasionally you have the welcome surprise of discovering a living NPC. It mixes things up. It allows the story to twist and turn more meaningfully. It allows parts of the story to take place in the now instead of prodding the recordings of the past.
That is why I never develop my protagonist. It’s important to me that we do not layer on so much backstory and so much character that players can’t inhabit the body of the hero. They have to become the hero – I’m going to choose my words carefully, or I will get myself in trouble. But I don’t find it very interesting, either as a player or as a developer, to manipulate a puppet, I’m not a puppet show guy. We have the opportunity in this medium to let you see the world through your own eyes and interpret what’s happening in the world, using your own brain and making decisions that are logical to you. And so we have to exploit that. And part of that, one of the things that go with that is not saying this is Joe Blow, you know, who’s an ex-CIA agent, he hates the color green, and he shoots first and asks questions later. No. I mean, it’s got to be the player in the body of the hero. And we took that so far, maybe too far, in Deus Ex we actually had to direct the voice actor Jay Franke, that poor guy, who did the voice of JC Denton, we actually had to tell him: ‘no emotion in your voice, no inflection, nothing,’ which is why JC Denton [adopts monotone voice] talks like this. And he never shows any emotion because he just started, he doesn’t mumble, but he just talks monotone. And it was because we never knew what the player was going to be doing specifically. And we couldn’t predict whether the player was going to be happy, or sad, or scared, or angry. And there’s nothing worse in terms of pulling people out of the experience than the player being angry and upset and adrenalized, and then the character says; [adopts high-pitched “Mickey Mouse voice] ‘Hey, nice to meetcha!’ So we had to keep the inflection at a minimum in the voiceover. That’s how far we were willing to go to ensure that the players inhabited the body of the character.
Very interesting, and echoes the underlying goals of the immersive sim genre where it's about seeing through a character's eyes instead of manipulating a puppet as you do in Bioware games, for instance. This is something that has come up repeatedly when talking about games like Cyberpunk 2077 being first person. Of course I doubt Cyberpunk will be as reactive as Deus Ex, but the core ideas are similar.

Also I think it's kinda interesting how JC Denton had a deliberately restrained delivery style, but the character did have his own opinions. He asked questions. He made declarations. But effort was made to ensure that JC Denton primarily expressed himself through player actions. The excellent writing was just the icing on the cake.

Speaking of writing, I really hope that Spector and Co go back to System Shock 2 and Deus Ex and think about the quality of prose in those games. Try to recapture its grace and intelligence for System Shock 3.


 
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