OtherSide Entertainment announced this morning that the long-awaited System Shock 3 will now be handled by Chinese conglomerate Tencent.
“We are happy to announce that Tencent will be taking the System Shock franchise forward,” an official statement reads on both OtherSide’s website and Twitter. “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.”
It’s unclear what, if any, role OtherSide will still have in the development of System Shock 3. We’ve reached out to them for comment.
The road to System Shock 3 has been a rocky one since the project was first announced in December 2015. Despite the assistance of original System Shock producer Warren Spector, the game was without a publisher as recently as May 2019, and OtherSide was plagued by layoffs of senior staff earlier this year. Tencent’s deep pockets may be just what the studio needs to get System Shock 3 over the finish line.
This is the latest video game-based investment for Tencent, which also owns all or part of companies like Riot Games, Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, and Ubisoft, among others. The massive conglomerate’s ties to the authoritarian Chinese government has led to friction in the gaming community, most recently during the controversy over Valorant’s always-on anti-cheat system. That said, it’s often hard to distinguish between legitimate concerns with Tencent and racist or anti-Communist sentiments among right-leaning players.
In a report earlier this week, Video Games Chronicle broke the news that ownership of the domains for both System Shock 3 and an as-of-yet unannounced System Shock 4 had been transferred to Tencent in April. The company’s name has since been removed from those sites’ registration information.
A remaster of the original System Shock is still in development at Nightdive Studios, which also owns the rights to the System Shock series.
Clarification: May 20, 10:54 p.m.: We’ve updated this story to make it more clear that we don’t know if OtherSide is still involved in the development of System Shock 3. An earlier version of this story implied they were. We’ve changed the headline accordingly as well. We also clarified that Nightdive still owns the overall intellectual property.