G4TV on the legal issues with the System Shock franchise

#1 Posted by fisk0 (3289 posts) -

G4TV had a great retrospective on the System Shock franchise last year, describing it's links to the Dead Space series and why there probably won't be a System Shock 3 (and likely, no re-releases of System Shock 1 or 2 on Steam or GOG) any time soon, here's the link to the post: http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/713030/the-lost-history-of-system-shock/

Here's an interesting quote summarizing some of the issues:

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.
#2 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11013 posts) -

That's a pity. Honestly, there are very few old games I'd be more interested in checking out than System Shock 2. Having played Bioshock, as well as Looking Glass' other major game Thief, this seems like it would be something right up my alley.

#3 Posted by Commisar123 (1786 posts) -

Too bad, they should work that out and make another one. I've never played System Shock but it sounds awesome.

#4 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

Quite a shame that it will probably not be re-released, as the game is excellent, but at least it won't allow EA to slap the name on a product not worthy of the originals.

#5 Edited by PenguinDust (12414 posts) -

It's been the number one game on GOG's Wish List for a while. I heard the stories about its licensing mess from various podcasts over the years and also some infrequent rumors that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Today, though it seems for naught. Perhaps that's for the best. Eventually, the game will be too old to be appreciated by anyone outside of geezers like me who played it back then. It's not just the graphics, but the mechanics that don't age well over time.

Now, what's the hold up on Grim Fandango?

#6 Edited by fisk0 (3289 posts) -

If EA, Valve and 2K Games could set their differences aside and let the core teams from Irrational Games, Visceral Games and Valve's Portal team work together, they could make a true spiritual successor to System Shock 2, re-combining all the elements that have been divided up into Bioshock (the tone, level design and general gameplay), Portal (the writing, especially the antagonistic AI part) and Dead Space (the futuristic space horror setting, upgrade mechanics and sound design). Inter-publisher/developer team-ups wasn't all that unusual in the past, why is it so hard for them to do nowadays?

#7 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I don't really mind because even if they did bring System Shock back I bet it would be totally different to what System Shock 2 was like.

#8 Edited by NTM (7034 posts) -

I don't have Steam anymore installed on my laptop since I can't really play games well on this, and the computer I used to play games on kind of broke, but I know I would be able to run the System Shock games on the laptop, so it's really too bad it won't go to steam; I've been really wanting to play those games, the second especially.

Hey, why don't they just make slight graphical tweaks (or not) and put them on XBLA, PSN, and Steam? I mean, if and when they can. By the way, although there are comparisons to Dead Space, I don't really like that they're doing it, because there's bound to be a time when someone has to mention which is better... and I don't approve of that!

#9 Posted by Psykhophear (933 posts) -

I'm sure both EA and Spector have enough capital to purchase the development rights from this insurance company. What's stopping them?

#10 Posted by mordukai (7092 posts) -

Didn't Dead Space started off as a new system shock game?

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