Yongyea gives us a 16 minute update on the troubled System Shock remaster Kickstarter project.
The always thorough Yongyea provides the litany of problems Nightdive brought on itself with this project. The 2015 Kickstarter brought in a phenomenal $1.3 million in funding, plus an additional $100,000 on Backerkit. You would expect this to be easy money for the devs. Here we are, almost three years later, and the thing is on indefinite hold. Just a few red flags from Yongyea’s video:
- Engine switch from Unity to Unreal
- Art direction changes
- Infrequent campaign updates
- No hard delivery dates
A Troubled Kickstarter
Sounds like scope creep galore to me. Had I backed this project, the second they switched from Unity to Unreal I would have started wondering if I had wasted my money. From every game I’ve ever followed in the past, if there are problems during development or at the market, it can usually be traced back to the misguided decision to change engines mid development. The less-than-inspiring artwork shown afterward, as well as the musings about “modern design,” are enough to make me feel queasy. And I’m not even a backer. It’s like watching a car crash in motion.
I was surprised to see that CEO Steve Kick got his start as a character artist for SOE. Since 2012 he’s made a career off of giving old games facelifts on GOG and Steam. As a matter of fact, I own the updated versions of System Shock and System Shock 2 on GOG. So he has some business experience. Yongyea says Mr. Kick may have let the successful funding go to his head. It certainly sounds that way from his latest update, in which he admits things got away from him.
As some commentators observed, all Nightdive really had to do was update the controls and graphics, and give SHODAN new dialog. So why mess with the formula? Pride and ambition, perhaps. If, as Steve Kick’s bio claims, he really wanted to make his own games, he should have developed his own IP with modern design principles. I’m sure Nightdive will eventually get the game out there. But good will squandered is hard to recover. Just ask the Star Citizen guys.
What a shame.