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Default System Shock - The Lost History @ G4TV

July 13th, 2011, 13:28
There's a retrospective of sorts on System Shock at G4TV that offers insight on why we'll never get a System Shock 3. Here's a sample:
So why can’t you buy the System Shock games through download services like Steam or Good Old Games, where it’s one of the most requested titles? And why hasn't anyone rebooted the series or created another sequel?

The answer is where things get messy.

EA's System Shock Story

In 2006, a trio of rumors hinted that Electronic Arts was making System Shock 3. First came a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Then came a couple of unconfirmed reports in Shacknews and PC Gamer U.K., with the latter publication reporting that EA’s Redwood Shores studio was handling development.

But even if EA wanted to publish another System Shock, the company didn't have the rights to do so. Back when the original game was made, producer Warren Spector negotiated a deal in which EA got the trademark to the series, while the developers at Looking Glass Studios kept the rights. To create another System Shock game, you need both. "My thinking was it would force us to be married so it never would be that either party should be able to say we own that, we’re making the next game, screw you," Spector told the San Jose Mercury News last November.
In hindsight, the deal only jeopardized System Shock’s future. Looking Glass Studios closed in 2000, a year after System Shock 2's release, and the copyright to the series went into the hands of an insurance company. That left EA with only the System Shock name, but no actual development rights.
Spotted at Ultima Aeira.
More information.

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July 13th, 2011, 13:28
The most interesting part of that story is to me this snippet :

and the copyright to the series went into the hands of an insurance company.
I wonder how many rights of older games are actually "held & forgotten" the same way like this ?

For example, I learned a few months ago that the righty for a German game called "Diggles" in the English-speaking territories are nowadays held by a German bank (the Sparkasse of Hannover, to be exact).

I assume there are more rights like this out there … And rights of other companies with no connection to computers at all (trading firms, manufacturies, small shops etc.) …

Which makes me worried. Who has the power, nowadays ? Those who do or those who hold the rights ?

And why are assurance companies and banks amassing rights to these huge quantities - rights which they don't ever sell or use at all ?

In a way, that's kind of "implicitely amassing power".

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July 13th, 2011, 13:42
Alrik Fassbauer, you are arguing pretty much the same problem as I am currently doing in the other thread;
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showt…post1061080527

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July 13th, 2011, 13:51
I see, thanks.

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July 13th, 2011, 18:14
the G4TV article points out (The Ultima Aeira. mixes it up) that the insurance company has been offered a few times for the rights and that the reporter said they are looking for some sort of royalty deal.

UA wrongly states at some point that the rights are dead when in fact they were registered by EA in 2005 and has common law rights as a previous publisher so likely they'd win any challenge of the new registration.

additionally interesting is what Spector says about Ultima Underworld (and a great history of Epic Mickey):

“The same thing about Ultima Underworld that’s the other thing. I would love to take Ultimate Underworld and literally update the graphics. This is how sad video games are. I personally think that you can update the graphics and the UI in Ultimate Underworld a game we did in 1990-1991 and it would be state of the art in role-playing today.

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July 13th, 2011, 19:13
Yeah, it's often been my thought that game design peaked around the time of UU and SS - at least for the genres in question.
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July 13th, 2011, 19:23
Haha, "Ultimate Underworld". Where is this quote from?
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July 13th, 2011, 20:10
Warren Spector interview here

I didn't know he did Epic Mickey.

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July 14th, 2011, 05:09
A System Shock 3 would pretty much just be BioShock in space anyway. It would be interesting if they would just re-do System Shock 1 and 2 with upgraded graphics but would it really sell?
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July 14th, 2011, 05:22
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
A System Shock 3 would pretty much just be BioShock in space anyway.It would be interesting if they would just re-do System Shock 1 and 2 with upgraded graphics but would it really sell?
Thats if they wanted to reduce system shock into a corridor shooter. The original shock was way more - it had a world that you could actually explore on your own will.

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July 14th, 2011, 08:47
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
A System Shock 3 would pretty much just be BioShock in space anyway. It would be interesting if they would just re-do System Shock 1 and 2 with upgraded graphics but would it really sell?
Sounds like you either didn't play System Shock or can't remember anything about it.
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July 14th, 2011, 09:49
On the other hand, a System Shock 3 that EA would make might just be Bioshock in space.

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July 14th, 2011, 09:53
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
On the other hand, a System Shock 3 that EA would make might just be Bioshock in space.
I think that's optimistic

It'd be Dead Space Shock.
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July 14th, 2011, 10:26
Dead Space IS System Shock 3.

EA had the rights to use System Shock title, but not the elements from the game lore (like characters, locations, settings). EA Redwood Shores (AKA Visceral Games) started working on a System Shock game with completely different elements and mechanics. It was an action game in space with horror elements, and without RPG elements and freedom. That's when the rumors started spreading. In the end they decided the new game was very different from System Shock games and it would cause an outrage to call it System Shock 3, and they went with a new title - Dead Space- instead.
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July 14th, 2011, 11:11
Really? How odd. I finished Dead Space last week - it was more like a Resident Evil 4 meets Doom 3 in space with these weak upgrade elements sprinkled on top. Absolutely nothing like I'd imagine a new System Shock would or could be…

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July 14th, 2011, 11:13
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Really? How odd. I finished Dead Space last week - it was more like a Resident Evil 4 meets Doom 3 in space with these weak upgrade elements sprinkled on top. Absolutely nothing like I'd imagine a new System Shock would or could be…
That's the point, though.

Clearly, EA didn't want to do a proper System Shock - so they just took a lot of the established features from SS (SS2 particularly) and made a marketable shooter out of it.

Not that I necessarily think Dead Space is MEANT as a System Shock - but it's clear where they got their inspirations from.
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July 14th, 2011, 13:42
Played through overlord on mass effect 2 yesterday. Felt a bit like system shock allthough its still just a corridor shooter. There were some moments though.

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