Over the past several months, we knew that key members of that development team have left OtherSide. However, an anonymous developer stated via a post on RPG Codex that the situation is actually much worse than the loss of some high-profile members of the staff. They state that the original development team is effectively gone at this point and that the state of the sequel is in grave danger (if there is even any hope left that the game will ever be released).
So what happened? Well, as the aforementioned anonymous developer notes, it certainly seems that part of this can all be traced back to the financial troubles of publisher Starbreeze which affected nearly every project that the company was involved in. Those financial troubles were a big part of the reason why Starbreeze elected to sell the rights to System Shock 3 back to developer OtherSide Entertainment. The developer notes that System Shock 3 likely would have come together in some form had Starbreeze not entered a financial spiral. After that, though, a combination of money problems, time crunches, and raised expectations put tremendous stress on the development team and OtherSide Entertainment.
“Those high expectations drove a lot of expensive experimentation,” writes the unnamed developer. “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. We were on our way to make something unique and possibly fun, but probably not what the audience was hungry for.”
This is where the details of the story become a little more speculative and where we must reiterate that none of this information comes from official OtherSide Entertainment sources and that the identity of the anonymous developer in question has only been “verified” by a former community manager. That being the case, you shouldn’t take all of this information as the gospel truth.
However, this report sadly makes a lot of sense. Problems have surrounded the production of System Shock 3 for quite some time now. Many people assumed that Starbreeze’s troubles would directly impact the game, and it seems that OtherSide’s need to find another publishing partner directly affected the development of the sequel from a creative standpoint.
So what happens now? That’s a fantastic question that we’ll likely earn the answer to over the course of the coming weeks and months. However, we’d honestly be shocked if System Shock 3 is ever released, and there’s almost no chance that a hypothetical version of the sequel will closely resemble the game that these developers were working on.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.