System Shock 2 VR Officially Announced
System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition is getting a fully playable VR mode. IGN can exclusively reveal that Nightdive Studios is working on the fully-fleshed VR mode complete with its own VR-focused development team.
It began when Nightdive Studios posted a tweet in January showing Nightdive Studios CEO Stephen Kick using a VR controller to play System Shock 2. The tweet served as a hint at what Nightdive Studios was already looking into for its enhanced version of the sequel, which was whether or not VR could work for System Shock 2.
“During the process of reverse-engineering the missing libraries for System Shock 2, we had an opportunity to play around with the idea of creating a standalone VR version,” says Kick in an interview with IGN. “And so we brought on an [VR] expert to look about the cod and give us a brief idea of what kind of things we could do.”
With this blueprint, Nightdive found that there was a solid enough foundation in System Shock 2 to begin fleshing out a full VR version. Kick says System Shock 2 Enhanced Edition will be fully playable in VR along with the game’s multiplayer mode. So co-op can be played in VR in cross-platform, where one player can be in VR and another can play on a standard PC.
Kick was also clear that VR isn’t just a tacked-on extra, but a fully-fleshed out feature. Nightdive is working with an outline on how to create a “really remarkable, built from the ground up VR experience.”
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Nightdive cites the immersive potential of VR as one of the main reasons for pursuing this dedicated mode for System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition. “When you’re in VR, you’re the one actually swinging the weapons, you’re reloading [the guns] yourself, you’re not just hitting a button and having the character reload the gun automatically.”
Our Notifications: “Is System Shock 2 EE still a thing?”
— Nightdive Studios (@NightdiveStudio) January 10, 2021
The team has been studying other VR games and one title that has set a bar for immersion is Half-Life: Alyx, which Nightdive says is a big inspiration. “[Half-Life: Alyx has] just become essential in creating that feeling that you’re there… Things like being able to pick up items from a distance is something that was really important in Half-Life: Alyx, and it’s something you’ll be able to do in System Shock VR as well.”
Currently, System Shock 2 VR is in the prototype stage, so the VR version will not be released alongside System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition, which is planned to be released alongside Nightdive’s full remake of System Shock.
Matt T.M. Kim is News Editor for IGN.