The long and strange trip in the development process for System Shock 3 has taken another turn which may finally lead to the game’s eventual release.
OtherSide Entertainment announced on Twitter that they have struck a deal with Tencent. This seems to confirm speculation earlier in the week which saw the domain names for System Shock 3 and (oddly) System Shock 4 being transferred to Tencent. The exact specifics of the deal have not been made publicly available either by Tencent or OtherSide.
While it strongly suggests that System Shock 3 will eventually get released, there has not been an announced release date.
2/2 As a smaller Indie studio, it had been challenging for us to carry the project on our own. We believe Tencent's deep capabilities and expertise as a leading game company will bring the franchise to new heights.
— OtherSide Entertainment (@OtherSide_Games) May 20, 2020
The development process of System Shock 3 is practically the dictionary definition of “tortured.” Looking Glass Studios lost the rights to the franchise back around 2000, where they ultimately were acquired by EA and Meadowbrook Insurance Group. Nightdive Studios obtained the rights to the franchise around 2012.
OtherSide announced System Shock 3 at the tail end of 2015, having somehow obtained the rights to make sequels to System Shock years earlier but unable to use the actual name until making a deal with Nightdive. Starbreeze Studios made a publishing-only deal with OtherSide in 2017, with OtherSide keeping the IP rights, but the publishing rights were sold back to OtherSide after Starbreeze folded.
The collapse of Starbreeze apparently OtherSide into crisis with multiple layoffs and a long stretch of radio silence on social media.
So the big question in this announcement from OtherSide is “did Tencent get the IP rights or is this just a publishing deal?” From OtherSide’s tweet, it strongly suggests the former is the case. And judging from the reaction to the tweet, the fans are not taking the news calmly.
While Tencent has previously made some full acquisitions, such as Funcom, their more recent moves have been minority stakes, notably the 40% stake in Epic Games and the 5% stakes in Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard.
For now, System Shock 3 is still a possibility. But whether it can overcome the circumstances regarding its newest lifeline is still unknown.