Starbreeze has sold the publishing rights for System Shock 3 back to developer OtherSide Entertainment following a disappointing 2018.
Game developer and publisher Starbreeze has been going through some hard times over the past fiscal quarter. Overkill’s The Walking Dead did not perform well, their longtime CEO stepped down, and the company even got raided for insider trading. This meant they went from having a highly optimistic view of their future to struggling to stay afloat financially. As all of this is going on, Starbreeze announced today that the publishing rights for System Shock 3 have been sold back to developer OtherSide Entertainment.
Starbreeze first attached themselves to System Shock 3 all the way back in March 2017. Developer OtherSide Entertainment was founded by Paul Neurath of Looking Glass Studios fame, with Warren Spector subsequently coming on board to run a second branch of the studio in Austin Texas.
At the time of the partnership’s genesis, Starbreeze claimed to have plans to invest $12 million into the project, with Starbreeze’s CEO at the time even saying that the publisher was a fan of the series and “greatly looking forward to bringing System Shock 3 to players.” These were the other financial terms of OtherSide and Starbreeze’s 2017 deal:
Starbreeze will be able to recoup 120% of its full investment including marketing costs. Starbreeze share of revenues will become 50% after the investment is recouped. OtherSide Entertainement will retain 100% of the intellectual property relating to System Shock 3.
Unfortunately, this will no longer be the case for Starbreeze. A recent article by Eurogamer highlighted the dire straits the company currently finds itself in. As Starbreeze attempts to refocus, one of the projects they were publishing likely had to give and that game turned out to be System Shock 3.
Starbreeze will heavily benefit from selling the publishing rights back to OtherSide Entertainment as the company’s official press release on the transaction claims that “Starbreeze expects to be fully reimbursed for costs the company has had in connection with development of the game.”
Mikael Nermark, the acting CEO of Starbreeze as the company attempts to restructure itself, thinks that “this is the best solution for us, although it is sad that we cannot complete the project with OtherSide.” He also made it quite clear that this decision wasn’t based on System Shock 3’s quality, and that Starbreeze has high hopes for the game. “System Shock 3 is a fantastic title developed in cooperation with the industry legend Warren Spector and I am looking forward to seeing the game released,” Mikael stated.
For now, Starbreeze reaffirmed the fact that it still holds the publishing rights for Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2 and Mohawk Games’ 4X game Ten Crowns. System Shock 3 hasn’t been talked about much since 2017 so it will definitely be interesting to see what form the game takes once the developers decide to fully unveil it. If you want to support OtherSide in the meantime, you can pick up its latest game, Underworld: Ascendant, on Humble Bundle.
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