A curious (and apparently new) developer going by the name of ‘Night Dive Studios’ is hinting at the re-release of System Shock 2 through GOG.com (and, later, Steam.) The same party is making noises about a re-release for the original System Shock as well.
Caution, though, is perhaps advised on this story.
The news comes from FleshEatingZipper.com, who drew my attention to the Night Dive Studios site. Said site refers back to the news story, suggesting some degree of authenticity, and links to a Night Dive Facebook page with System Shock-based artwork posted on it. There are no contact details for the studio and my dependable method of sticking “press@” before a url and hoping the email goes through did not meet with success.
On its page, the studio self-describes as specialising in “finding classic, abandoned and forgotten PC games and bringing them back into the hands of gamers.” The System Shock series would certainly fit that bill.
Here’s what may cause a problem: when the original deal for System Shock was made, EA got the trademark and developers Looking Glass Studio kept the rights. In 2000, Looking Glass shut down and the rights transferred (bizarrely enough) to Star Insurance, a subsidiary of Meadowbrook Insurance Group (based in Michigan.)
At some point, however, EA seems to have let the trademark slip. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now lists the trademark in the hands of Meadowbrook, but with a “published for opposition” date (the beginning of a 30 day period in which parties can contest the trademark) of 5 March 2013.
In theory, then, Meadowbrook owns both rights and trademark and would be at liberty to get the series re-published; perhaps with the help of whoever is behind Night Dive Studios.
But until there’s clearer confirmation, none of this is certain.
Update: It has been confirmed that the game will release on GOG on 14 February.