Despite being a forebearer to the first-person shooter/horror genre that the likes of BioShock brought to popularity, the System Shock franchise has been in shambles for a while. Multiple remake attempts of the originals exist, including a 2017 Kickstarter that’s been put on hold and restarted multiple times, though supposedly slated for a 2020 release. Meanwhile, the continued mainline franchise is being pushed forward by developer Otherside Entertainment, the studio operated by Paul Nemeth and Warren Spector that have recently tried getting the panned Kickstarter project Underworld Ascendant off the ground. System Shock 3 was announced long ago with Swedish studio Starbreeze as the planned publisher but plans apparently change as it now appears that Chinese conglomerate Tencent is helping to get System Shock out the door according to a series of tweets by Otherside. This matches up with reports earlier this year that things might be changing hands.
1/2 We are happy to announce that Tencent will be taking the #SystemShock franchise forward.
— OtherSide Entertainment (@OtherSide_Games) May 20, 2020
In case you aren’t aware of Tencent: The company has its hands in multiple gaming pies, including being the majority owner of League of Legends creator Riot as well as being a big mover and shaker in the mobile games arena. As said by Otherwise on social media, “As a smaller Indie studio, it had been challenging for us to carry the project on our own. We believe Tencent’s deep capabilities and expertise as a leading game company will bring the franchise to new heights.” Joining armies with Tencent is certainly one way to get around solving your game’s funding issues and not having to once again go the route of Kickstarter when your studio has already failed on a previous backer-supported project.
The chain of events stemming from Starbreeze Studios and its financial troubles, (which lead to Otherside buying the System Shock 3 publishing rights) leading to Tencent getting involved happened pretty fast. Still, it leaves questions as to what the nature of Tencent’s involvement is and if Otherside was going to be unable to get System Shock 3 out the door without assistance. Is it smooth sailing for the studio now? is Tencent going to “take the System Shock franchise forward” as said in the tweet? Only time will tell.