The future seems real bad in the latest System Shock 3 trailer, embedded below, which walks us through a gruesome batch of “pre alpha gameplay footage” while series antagonist/malignant artificial intelligence SHODAN waxes philosophical about torturing humans for her own pleasure. Don’t let those words fool you though, “pre alpha gameplay footage” is industry speak for “God we hope this is anywhere close to what the actual game ends up looking like.” I can almost guarantee you that nothing seen in the below trailer actually functions like it would in a real game, and is instead a collection of in-engine animations witnessed from a first-person camera rig. You can’t, like, play this.
That said, for people who have been waiting to see something, anything since System Shock 3 was announced in 2015, this trailer certainly qualifies as something and/or anything! It’s got vomiting corpses, man-machine hybrid monstrosities, and an attractive lady computer face that is super jazzed about murdering you and everyone you know. You’ll also see plenty of air ducts and vats of green liquid, just like you’ve always dreamed.
System Shock 3 is in development at the Austin, TX branch of OtherSide Entertainment, with Warren Spector, the producer of the original System Shock, leading the project as Studio Director. Today’s trailer is the first real look at OtherSide’s four years of progress on System Shock 3, aside from an even shorter teaser trailer shown last March during a talk at GDC 2019.
One might expect a bit more after such a long time, but it’s entirely possible that Spector and company have been focusing on Underworld Ascendant, OtherSide’s sequel to the 1992 PC game Ultima Underworld, which released last year under the 505 Games banner. System Shock 3 is being developed in Unity and has no announced launch window or platforms.
As an aside, I have some questions about some of the body horror happening in this trailer. There’s the guy trapped in the spider robot thing, right? His head is in some kind of fish tank bulb like Psy-Crow from Earthworm Jim, and his arms have been cleanly removed from his body. His lower half though is just straight-up goop trails; organs and blood and stuff just floppin’ around everywhere, like he wasn’t supposed to be attached to the guts of a spider robot.
So what happened to this dude? Why cleanly vivisect his arms, but also feed his legs to what appears to have been a wheat harvester? SHODAN loves making cyborgs and mutants and junk, so I guess it’s possible that she did it on purpose just to mess with this guy? I dunno. Must sting though.
Elsewhere in the trailer, we also see a mint-in-box human being moving along an assembly line towards certain doom. This could very well be Robot Spider Guts Man back when he had a lower half, but it’s also possible that this is the body seen dissolving in acid, which shares the same model as Robot Spider Guts Man. There are two explanations that can account for this: One, SHODAN is farming clones to further her genetic experiments; or two, this is the only human model they’ve made for the game so far, and the cuts are so quick they figured most people wouldn’t notice.