This follows previous reports of other core members of the team announcing their departure over the past five months, including System Shock 3’s writer and director, lead programmer, and others. Just this week, design director Chase Jones changed his LinkedIn profile to reflect the end of his time at OtherSide.
The anonymous source also stated that System Shock 3 was “critically behind” in its development. We last saw how the game was progressing in a gameplay trailer released back in September 2019, which showed off the return of the iconic gaming villain/rogue A.I. SHODAN.
An anonymous poster claiming to be a developer from OtherSide posted on RPG Codex, explaining some additional background info.
“The only reason I’m posting is because I saw so much confusion about the state of the company and the project I thought some first person information would be welcome,” the user wrote. “I never suggested we were halfway done, core systems are a great foundation for a game but 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.”
All the Big Games Coming in 2020
The user also shared that they “don’t actually know what’s going on, but the team is no longer employed there,” and refrained from commenting further over concerns they may break their non-disclosure agreement.
Adding some legitimacy to the report, VGC cites a community manager that confirmed the poster’s comments.
System Shock 3 appears to be the victim of both the woes of its former publisher Starbreeze and its own difficulties in finding a new publisher. Starbreeze reported back in mid-2019 that it would soon experience a “liquidity shortfall” following poor sales of Overkill’s The Walking Dead game and a subsequent raid performed by law enforcement after indications of insider trading.
Starbreeze decided to sell off the publishing rights to System Shock 3 back to OtherSide in order to raise the desperately-needed cash it required to continue operations.
With OtherSide seemingly now floating in the ether, creative director Warren Spector (System Shock, Deus Ex, Epic Mickey) told VGC that the company was in talks with a “lot” of interested publishers. That was back in May 2019. He told VGC that the company had enough capital to fund itself for a period of time, and was also considering self-publishing System Shock 3.
IGN has reached out to a third-party PR company that previously handled communications for OtherSide for comment. We’ll update this story as we learn more.
The remaster of the original System Shock is still on our list of games we’re most looking forward to in 2020. Developer Nightdive Studios is handling work on that.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN.