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You can try a little slice of the System Shock reboot right now - even if you don't back it

Get a feel for one of the most important foundations of the immersive sim genre.

System Shock is now live on Kickstarter. Developer Night Dive is seeking $900,000 to help it bring the classic immersive sim back in glorious modern technicolour via the Unity engine.

The finished game is expected on PC and Xbox One at the end of 2017 with Linux and Mac ports listed as stretch goals, and is set to deliver "not Citadel Station as it was, but as you remember it" - this is a redesigned game rather than just a graphical overhaul.

Legendary RPG designer Chris Avellone is on board to help with the new elements, which are broken down in more detail below:

  • Re-imagined enemies, weapons, and locations by original concept artist Robb Waters.
  • Terri Brosius reprises her role as SHODAN, and new VO will be recorded.
  • Brand new musical score composed by Jonathan Peros.
  • The user interface, game mechanics, enemies, and puzzles will be updated to reflect modern aesthetics and sensibilities, while maintaining the feel of the original.

The base project differs from a remaster by implementing modern inventory management and controls, new puzzles, updated levels and game difficulty modes.

If funding hits $1.7 million or more, Night Dive also plans to include enemy limb dismemberment, more puzzles, ammo types and weapon settings, vending machines, "basic components/research" (whatever that means), RPG progression, weapon upgrading, Hardcore mode (no respawning) and Ironman mode (permadeath).

The campaign page is full of assets and text (and stretch goals and rewards) to help you make up your mind, and is well worth a look even for those older PC gamers who started throwing their wallets at the screen immediately. But if you're still on the fence, Night Dive has provided a playable demo to give you a better idea of what it's aiming for.

"This demo represents the look and feel that we want to achieve with the final version we'll deliver to you, our backers," the developer wrote. "Please be aware, this is a proof of concept; the performance, features, and visuals are subject to change."

The free, pre-alpha demo is available via GOG, Humble and Steam.

It's super rad that we can actually see what the System Shock project is aiming to achieve before signing on the dotted line to fund the campaign. It takes some of the concern out of crowdfunding.

As announced last week, this project is the System Shock remaster that morphed into a full reboot. If you're not familiar with it, the seminal System Shock was developed by the much loved Looking Glass, which included such luminaries as Warren Spector, Doug Church and Ken Levine, and also produced games like Ultima Underworld and Thief.

Many Looking Glass veterans went on to Ion Storm (Deus Ex), Arkane (Dishonored) and Irrational (BioShock). If you're a fan of immersive sims (that's a fancy name for these systemic first-person games), you should definitely check it out. The most accessible option is the Enhanced Edition released by Night Dive in 2015; it's currently 75% off on Steam, but is also available through GOG and Humble.

Disclosure: I backed this at the $50 level after writing this article and talking myself into it.

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