System Shock - The Making Of @ Edge Online
Edge Online has posted The Making Of System Shock 2, looking at the creation of the Looking Glass classic:
“Looking Glass was obviously a really impactful experience on me,” Levine explains. “It was my first job in the games industry. I’d met a lot of people who I really respected and admired – people whose legacy is more known to the intelligentsia of the gaming field, and is still being felt. I left because despite how talented the people were there, in some ways it was more like a university than a games company. There really was a dialogue about advancing the media, but not a lot about making successful products.”
Coming from a film-industry background, Levine felt the company needed to find a balance between art and commerce: “I thought, probably naively at the time, ‘Hey! I can do that’. I had no idea what that would actually mean, as I was a cocky guy who thought it’d be easy. We went off on our own and very quickly found it was challenging.” Almost fatally so. The company’s first project, a singleplayer version of early isometric shooter Fireteam, had been cancelled when its publisher decided to concentrate solely on multiplayer. This left Irrational at a loss, until Paul Neurath, head of Looking Glass, called with an opportunity. While they’d left Looking Glass, they were still on good terms with their previous employer. In fact, their half room was actually buried in a corner of the larger studio.
Neurath’s offer was incredibly open. Looking Glass had, in making Thief: The Dark Project, developed its own in-house engine. All of Irrational were experienced with it, having all worked on Thief. Why not make a game with it with us? Any game you fancy, really. “We immediately started designing,” Levine recalls.
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