System Shock 3 Senior Team ‘no longer employed’
Multiple senior-level development staff members have verified their departure from OtherSide Entertainment, the developer/publisher of System Shock 3, leaving the fate of the sequel uncertain. Initially reported by VGC, an anonymous developer confirmed the entire team is “no longer employed” and that the game was “critically behind.”
For some context, let’s rewind the clock back one year to 2019, when Swedish studio Starbreeze was facing financial woes due to dipping sales and substantial financial losses. In an effort to recoup development costs, Starbreeze sold the publishing rights to System Shock 3 back to OtherSide Entertainment in Q1 of 2019.
Later, in May of 2019, System Shock 3′s creative director Warren Spector said that talks were progressing with “a lot” of interested publishers and even said that there was a possibility that OtherSide might even be able to self-publish the game. However, it has since been revealed that multiple senior System Shock 3 developers have left OtherSide, including the writer & director, senior designer, lead programmer, QA lead and senior environment artist, among others.
In December 2019, OtherSide’s former community manager, Sam Luangkhot verified that layoffs had happened at the studio and said he was worried about the future of the studio and title.
“I know people are concerned about the state of the studio. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried as well,” Luangkhot said. “Having played the internal SS3 demo, I know the Austin team worked their asses off and made some stunning progress in the past couple of months. It hurts to see many of these developers out of a job on a project they worked so hard on.”
“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. 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.”
The user went on to say:
“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.”
Back on Sep 11, 2019, OtherSide released a System Shock 3 pre-alpha gameplay teaser trailer. Based on the footage, it looked like a promising and faithful entry to the series. It’s unclear at this point, though whether the finished game (assuming it’s even released) will look anything like what was shown in the trailer. Only time will tell if this is indeed the end of this long-awaited sequel.
Luckily, the System Shock remake, developed by Nightdive studio, is unaffected by this recent layoff and is still set to release sometime later this year.