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System Shock 2 Retrospect...and Possible Followup? 257

Starsmore writes: "Gamespot has a retrospective on the 1999 cult classic System Shock 2, which normally isn't that big of a deal on it's own, although it's a nice read for those interested in some of the stories behind the production of System Shock 2. The biggest draw is that tucked at the end of the article (and shown below for those that don't want to RTFA), is this: 'But why even look back at System Shock 2 at this point? Because Irrational has been, and it plans to make a related announcement this Friday (tomorrow). The studio has decided that it wishes to further what it started in System Shock 2--to work on games that promote "emergent" gameplay--open-ended exploration that offers many choices and combinations of options to players. You'll see what we mean tomorrow. Be sure to come back then.' " Could this possibly mean a sequel to the System Shock franchise? Update: 10/09 22:30 EDT by C : As many of you suspected, Irrational is in the process of developing BioShock , a "spiritual successor" to the System Shock games. Here's hoping they can distill much of what made games like System Shock and Thief so successful, yet succeed at their aim of building a game with truly emergent gameplay.
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System Shock 2 Retrospect...and Possible Followup?

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  • by Ghostgate ( 800445 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:14AM (#10467524)
    to work on games that promote "emergent" gameplay--open-ended exploration that offers many choices and combinations of options to players

    There's a few out there if you look hard enough (Morrowind, for example), but most single player games just aren't very deep these days. Of course, to make a really open-ended game requires a LOT more testing, driving up the budget and especially the time to develop the game - and modern games already take a long time to develop. Most developers feel the extra effort isn't worth it in most cases, unfortunately.
  • by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:17AM (#10467540) Journal
    The original System Shock is a classic - I absolutely loved that game. SS2 was even better, however its much more creepy to play if you turn off the in-game music and just have the sounds of the things moving around.

    If they announce a sequel I'll be a happy man indeed.
  • Re:Obvious answer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by halowolf ( 692775 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:23AM (#10467566)
    Well, now that Irrational has got the development of Tribes: Vengeance out way I suppose they have some time up their sleaves for announcements ;)

    I'll play TV while I wait it seems...

  • by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <xunileoj>> on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:24AM (#10467571) Homepage
    Deus Ex itself was butchered. They took out the RPG aspect of it, limited you on what you could carry, and took out the side quests...I was extremely dissapointed in it.
  • by kerrle ( 810808 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:24AM (#10467572) Journal
    System Shock, along with the Thief series and the first Deus Ex, is pretty much one of my favorite games ever. There was just something amazing about the atmosphere, but even more, slowly piecing the plot together from the emails of now dead crewmembers was just amazing. There's a reason Doom III pretty much lifted it intact; it worked great in SS2.
  • Please not DX:IW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:30AM (#10467600) Homepage Journal
    If they decide to XBox it to the extreme like Deus Ex: Invisible War, count me out. Please let it be quality.
  • by PepsiProgrammer ( 545828 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:42AM (#10467640)
    Is still Deus Ex (The original, the sequel blows )

    Emergent gameplay: Check
    Open Ended Exploration: Check
    Many combinations of options: Check
    Good plot (Espescially considering current world trends): Check

    All it needs now is a graphics/ai overhaul and it will be perfect (Someone want to start a doom3 total conversion?)
  • Could it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:52AM (#10467666) Homepage
    Could this possibly mean a sequel to the System Shock franchise?

    Could this possibly be another example of Slashdot's new habit of trolling for comments by adding rethorical questions?
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @03:09AM (#10467730)
    Oh yes. Yes. Absolutely, yes. Completely.

    I didn't play SS2 when it first come out. I tried the original SS looking for a Doom-clone and it didn't satisfy me, so i never bothered to look into the sequel. Besides it didn't ran that well on my computer back then.
    Years later, with much better hardware i stumbled into a site that praised SS2 from top to bottom as the most underrated game ever. For some reason it stuck on me, and some days later i had a discussion with a friend who unconditionally loves the game, so i decided to give it a shot. When i found it on a bargain bin it went home with me.

    A week later, i was so hooked my studies suffered. The game is, to this day, still the most atmospheric game i've played, and it sucked me in completely. It's tensefull, and creepy, and the "damn-that-made-me-jump-off-my-seat" moments just keep coming one after another (damn monkeys!). Doom 3 captured much of that atmosphere - and borrowed quite a lot from SS2, in fact; but the game itself wasn't anyware as good. Doom 3 is a shooter with a few jumpy moments, SS2 it's a suspense horror movie translated to the PC.

    I enjoyed it inmensly. Graphics are dated, (through functional) but the gameplay are story are excellent and the sound, even by today standarts, is top notch - so much, playing it with headphones it's a must. By all means, if you're reading this and haven't tried it, do so.

    Anyway, SS2, through it didn't sell well back when released it's to this day one of the most cherished games of all time. Unless they manage to fuck it up completely, System Shock 3 would sell like hot bread. I know i'm not the only one that would buy it in a heartbeat. Damn, i would even buy the original SS2 if they ported it to the Doom 3 engine. Twice.
  • by Blublu ( 647618 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @03:56AM (#10467891) Journal
    I can't see why people hate Deus Ex 2 so much. Sure, it wasn't an exact copy of Deus Ex 1, but it was still a good game despite the fact that it was suffering from mild console syndrome. Oh well.
  • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @04:35AM (#10467985)
    What I find endlessly interesting is the amount of effort and money being spent to make video games that mirror real life - as though there isn't this real life out there waiting for you!

    You could say the same thing about reading Moby Dick, seeing a production of Hamlet, or watching Friends instead of going out and interacting with real friends. We humans often find imitations of reality to be far more interesting than the real thing. Sometimes fiction is a lot more educational and emotionally satisfying than real life. The best books have characters who you care for just like a friend, and the best games have experiences that you can remember fondly even though they weren't real.

  • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <darkstar.iglou@com> on Friday October 08, 2004 @04:40AM (#10467999)
    Someone already mentioned the terrible inventory system and HUD, and it should also be noted that the concurrent X-box development of the game led to the PC version having abysmally small levels (meaning lots of irritating long load waits) in spite of the fact that the devs had previously stated that the PC version would have larger maps with fewer load points, and the game has very low-res, ugly textures. While fans created a third-party add-on with much improved texturing, such a thing should not have required third-party intervention and there is no solution to the tiny map size.

    Not to mention that the main character is bland (possibly partially a result of them designing the story around the main character being either male or female), the story is flat without depth in the characters, there's only one real twist to the story and it's not exactly that shocking, the "universal ammunition" system is garbage, character development was heavily dumbed down from the first game (in the first game, you had to carefully choose your development choices to optimize according to your play type, and you could never fully max out every stat. In DX:IW, you could max out every stat before the middle of the game, and if you didn't like your choices you could easily swap no less than three of them out and re-max them), character models look hideous and the overall interface was too far streamlined down to accomidate the X-Box, destroying much of what made Deus Ex fun in the first place.
  • by Blublu ( 647618 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @04:47AM (#10468019) Journal
    Okay, replace the word "mild" with "heavy"... I forgot about the tiny map sizes. I agree it was dumbed down because of the damn Xbox, and the unified ammo and that stuff was annoyign at first, but still I enjoyed playing it and thought it was a good game. Not AWESOMELY GREAT, but enjoyable. If anything, it was just overhyped.
  • by PepsiProgrammer ( 545828 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @04:52AM (#10468040)
    There are other problems to past the obvious ones you mentioned. The game is orders of magnitude shorter than the original, the game seems very rushed (Biggest indicator of this is all the talk and build up of red greasels, but none ever show). The input system feels laggy, almost none of the neat things the engine was supposed to do came to fruition (dynamic shadows in gameplay namely) and the physics system was not implemented well at all.

    All and all it was just an extremely dissapointing game. Part of this is probably because it had alot to live up to, and looking past the fact that it is supposed to be the sequel to dx1, it is no longer abhorent, its just another below average fps.

    I do not know of anyone who really enjoyed the first game and the second, I believe fans of the two games are mutually exclusive.
  • by PepsiProgrammer ( 545828 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @04:57AM (#10468051)
    As I mentioned in another post on this thread, I think another reason for such suckiness in dx2 is the current political situation. The plot of dx2 does not have the same feel at all as the first. And I think this could be because some people would view the first game as VERY critical of current political trends, to the point where it would likely cause some controversy to release a game with such a plot.
  • by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @07:21AM (#10468417) Homepage
    Great thing about deus ex is that you dont need thousands of rounds of ammunition to play it. I have personally played through the game without firing a shot (and with harming only one person).

    I played a significant portion of the first game without firing a shot - although I wasn't exactly a pacifist.

    It's all thanks to that gloriously deadly glowing blue sword thing I 'borrowed' in Hong Kong. Utterly brilliant for ambushes, and works against even the nastiest of foes. I'm hiding in a shadow, they walk past, I leap out and chase - it doesn't matter if they hear me or not because they're practically chopped in half moments later... ;-)

    I think this is the 'emergent' gameplay they're talking about. In a Gamasutra article about System Shock 2 [] (free login required), the developers mentioned 'mini-games' - little, easy-to-code features that dramatically alter the overall gameplay, and add many new things for the player to work against or use in their favour. Examples would be the security cameras, item research and suchlike, where by themselves they're pretty small, but when integrated into the fabric of the game the player has to develop new strategies to make use of them - and there are many ways.

    Probably simpler (and more realistic) than the omnipresent ventilation ducts in Deus Ex 2, anyway. :-)
  • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Friday October 08, 2004 @07:32AM (#10468444)
    Emergent gameplay is defined as when rather than actions being scripted, the level of interaction with the environment is sufficient to allow the player options.

    I was under the impression that "emergent" gameplay is what you get when the tools you have are sufficiently generic to allow solutions the designers never even considered. You make it sound like if you have three pre-designed solutions, that would be emergent gameplay, but I don't think that is the case.

    A great example of emergent gameplay is the rocketjump. It wasn't intended to work that way, but people were using it to jump to places they weren't supposed to reach. Similarly, the mines you can use in both Half Life and Deus Ex to climb walls you aren't supposed to climb is a nice example.

    I hope that in the future, physics engines will provide a great deal more emergent gameplay than we see today, if only because the designers will fail to see all the possibilities ;-)

System checkpoint complete.