Today, Nightdive Studios announced that it has switched engines from Unity to Unreal 4 for its upcoming game System Shock, which for those of you who don’t know, is a “faithful” reboot of System Shock 1. In addition to announcing the new engine swap, Nightdive also released a new early pre-alpha trailer, as well as some new screenshots, showing off what the game looks like in its new engine.
In a Kickstarter update, Nightdive’s Game Director Jason Fader wrote that the team “took a hard look at what Unity could do on consoles” and concluded that while Unity is a great engine, it wouldn’t serve to hit both the visual quality and performance levels Nightdive was looking to hit.
Fader told Polygon at the 2017 Game Developer’s conference that “Unity is not a great engine to use if you want to make an FPS on console,” and that after spending a few weeks researching other engines, the team landed on the Unreal 4.”
In the same Kickstarter post, Fader writes the following about the change:
I know this seems like a risky move, and in some ways it is, but we’ve mitigated that risk by switching over early.
With a new investment in a new engine, Polygon asked Fader whether the team still is calling the game a remaster, or a remake? To this, Fader responded that its a reboot. The Game Director continues:
“We’re making a ‘faithful reboot,’ meaning the spirit of the game is the same, but how we present it may be different. We’re not touching the overall story (other than fixing plot holes). All of the characters you know and love will be back, but with more refined dialogue thanks to our lead narrative designer, Chris Avellone. Most of the classic creatures, weapons, items, and areas are being kept, but we will be applying modern game design principles and visuals to better introduce System Shock to current gamers that might not have had the chance to appreciate the original game.”
The team has also supposedly been looking at the original System Shock and assessing when to bring back components and when to “modernize or revamp from a level design standpoint,” as well as from an art standpoint. However, this doesn’t mean that the reboot is removing what made the original game so unique.
“We’re actually going to throw you even more in the deep end than System Shock, slightly. System Shock 1 did have a lot of openly explorable environments, but some of them were gated or limited. We’re going to be opening up more of the station. We see this as more of a Metroidvania-style game. At one point I wanted to call it open world, but it’s not a world. But it is openly explorable. Once you get out of that starting area, the station is your oyster.”
System Shock is set to release sometime during Q2 2018 for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One. You can read more about the game, and get all the salient details via its BackerKit page. Or you could just check out the new trailer and screenshots below. The choice is yours.