Update #39 came as something of a shock, since development seemed to be moving along, and updates were coming at a decent pace. Here’s the text from Update #39:
“In March of 2016, Nightdive Studios released our video of our vision of System Shock Remastered. Done in Unity it was an immediate hit with almost a half million views on YouTube. In June of 2016 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the vision into a reality. It was tremendously successful with over 21,000 backers contributing over $1.3 million to the campaign. We put together a development team and began working on the game. But along the way something happened.
Maybe we were too successful. Maybe we lost our focus. The vision began to change. We moved from a Remaster to a completely new game. We shifted engines from Unity to Unreal, a choice that we don’t regret and one that has worked out for us. With the switch we began envisioning doing more, but straying from the core concepts of the original title.
As our concept grew and as our team changed, so did the scope of what we were doing and with that the budget for the game. As the budget grew, we began a long series of conversations with potential publishing partners. The more that we worked on the game, the more that we wanted to do, and the further we got from the original concepts that made System Shock so great.
Ultimately the responsibility for the decisions rests with me. As the CEO and founder of Nightdive Studios, a company that was built on the restoration of the System Shock franchise, I let things get out of control. I can tell you that I did it for all the right reasons, that I was totally committed to making a great game, but it has become clear to me that we took the wrong path, that we turned our backs on the very people who made this possible, our Kickstarter backers.
I have put the team on a hiatus while we reassess our path so that we can return to our vision. We are taking a break, but NOT ending the project. Please accept my personal assurance that we will be back and stronger than ever. System Shock is going to be completed and all of our promises fulfilled.
Frequent backers of videogame Kickstarters may have seen these types of updates before. They usually spell the beginning of the end. Reading between the lines, it appears that Nightdive had a bit of feature creep, money ran out, and they attempted to get a publisher to fund development. If the money is gone the likelihood that this project will see the light of day would be slim.
The comments are pretty much what you would expect. Some backers are demanding refunds. Unfortunately for them, in Update #38 Nightdive slyly slipped in a no refund policy.
As a boxed edition backer, this one was especially painful for me. It seemed like such a slam dunk. The Unity demo they released was well done, and the company had a good reputation. If ever there was a Kickstarter created to succeed, it was this one.
It just goes to show that backing any videogame Kickstarter should be considered risky. This is precisely why I will never back crowdfunded videogames again. There have been a few successes (Divinity comes to mind), but the cost is usually way to high for what amounts to a non-refundable gamble.
EDIT – Since this post was linked in our Facebook group, Stephen Kick, CEO of Nightdive, has commented and provided some information. For a little background, a story on Polygon listed an anonymous source who said that the Kickstarter funds had run out. Here’s the quote:
“A source familiar with the project, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Polygon that ‘mission creep’ and unrealistic ambitions had eaten up the Kickstarter funds, something that Nightdive largely confirmed. “
Stephen has commented that they have NOT run out of funds. Here is his comment:
“We are not out of cash, that source was an ex-contractor that hasn’t been on the project for over a year.”
Stephen also commented:
“Just chiming in here, Shock is not cancelled, we’re still working on it, just making some changes with the team so we can deliver what we originally set out to do. No one wants this big box more than me, trust me on that”