The Return of System Shock?

Eh, it’s fun to have something to get excited about. Nearly every game that’s announced, I feel the urge to start screaming “no no no no no no NO NO NO NO NO NO!” All this focus on characterization and story and scripted sequences and all that other crap that gets in the way of otherwise good games. Yet with Spore (going purely off that 1-hour GDC presentation), there’s not a single thing I can fault. Yet. But that’s still cause for celebration.

Edit: Also, I liked MOO3. Although I would have liked it more (and other people would have too, I’m sure) if they hadn’t compromised their design goals halfway through.

hehe. Yeah, lets not get too excited, but let me throw out some of the most outlandish hyperbole you will see IN YOUR LIFETIME!!!

Good stuff.


WAAAAAITaminnit… you ain’t be takin’ off the rose-colored glasses now, B.

Believe in the power of Church, motherfucker!

I believe in the power of doug church.

The only issue is, full games at EA get only 16 months of development time. Sequels only 9 months. I don’t care what kind of visionary is at the helm; that kind of development schedule is suicide for any game which isn’t Same Old Thing 2kX with Updated Rosters.

I thought that they just renewed it? Regardless, just grabbing a name doesn’t mean anything.

I had the same feeling after playing the demo that came with Z.O.E. You know, the part before the entire game descends into complete fucking gibberish paranoia visions. I don’t know about you, but MGS2 fuelled my cynicism like no game before it.

To be fair though, the last game I played that I was excited about and which managed to live up to it’s hype in my eyes was Outcast and that was what, eight years ago? ten?

I’m one of those people who liked MGS2, despite the switcheroo. I also thought it was awesome later on when you were fighting beside snake, rather than as him.

The last game that excited me and delivered was Deus Ex. I saw it at E3 2000. Played the demo shortly after I got back, and I was sold. Greatest game ever made. Shortly after that, Zone of the Enders fuelled my restraint on buying games without scrutiny.

He wrote the script for System Shock 2. I’m not sure about the first one.


Wasn’t System Shock 2 developed in a relatively short time period?

Fallout 2 came out like 13 months after Fallout 1.

According to Mobygames he wasn’t part of the first game at all.

No idea. But they had an engine ready already via Thief 2 (Or maybe it was 1? I can’t remember, but I know it shared an engine with something). So you had a team knowledgeable about an engine ready to go. With those conditions you can develop a game in a short amount of time. But a new team, with new tech, possibly tech that doesn’t do a lot of what you’d want in the game? Not in 9 or even 16 months.

Edit: 18 months, quoted in gamasutra.

Mobygames doesn’t list script credits for System Shock, but Doug Church was both project leader and lead programmer. System Shock came out in 1994, and I think Ken Levine didn’t join Looking Glass until 1995.

Most of the core script of System Shock 1 was written by Austin Grossman, though there were major contributions froma ll of us on the team. Ken wasn’t on the SS1 team but certainly absorbed the spirit of it pretty damn well.

SS2 was done in about 18 months as I recall it. That was with a working engine from LG but only 2 core programmers on it for the majority of the project (myself and Jon Chey who was also doing a lot of business & project leadership stuff). We did get excellent support from the LG engine guys (which was definitely made easier by being in the same office area) and we got some dedicated time from a few folks at the end of the project (most notably for multiplayer).

Let’s put it this way… the entire Shock 2 team literally fit in one (medium to large) room since that was the size of Irrational’s “office” within LG at the time. Ok, not entirely true, we did have a small 1-man office across the hallway. :)

I sure hope the rumors of SS3 are true, as I think it would be awesome to play a System Shock game that I didn’t already know inside and out from the start! :)


Who is Doug Church, what has he done, and why should I be impressed?

Of course, “Goldeneye: Rogue Agent” proves you shouldn’t get too excited just because someone decides to resurrect / invoke the name of a fan-beloved game…

Rollory, please turn in your gamer card immediately and reset your post count to zero.

Doug Church has worked on all Thief games, both Deus Ex games, both Ultima Underworld games, both System Shock games, and Terra Nova and Flight Unlimited as well. I think he was the lead designer and/or lead programmer on Thief and Thief 2 – the guy who came up with the AI and sound engine – and probably designed some of the other listed games as well.

I am playing SS2 right now and it is fantastic. One of the best games I have ever played up there with Deus Ex. I know for a fact that I don’t have my SS1 disks anywhere. I wonder where I could get that one again?

SS2 is indeed fantastic. The only way it could’ve been better is if it had the level design of Deus Ex (where your skills allowed you to approach problems completely differently, with levels to support it), and less infinitely respawning enemies.

Underdogs has it.