The System Shock 3 writer and director, design director, senior designer, lead programmer, QA lead, senior environment artist and others have changed their LinkedIn profiles to show they no longer work for OtherSide Entertainment. It is worrying to lose that many people in the past five months, and a former community manager was able to confirm that these people had been let go by the company. “I want to say, having been at OSE while layoffs were happening and having left just before this next round in Austin, I deeply admired every single developer I had the chance to work with,” said Sam Luangkhot at the end of last year. “Having played the internal SS3 demo, I know the Austin team worked their asses off and made some stunning progress in the past couple of months. It hurts to see many of these developers out of a job on a project they worked so hard on.”
She expressed that she was “worried” for System Shock 3 and OtherSide Entertainment, even though creative director Warren Spector was content that the company could stand on its own two feet. The game was initially being published by Starbreeze, but when Starbreeze experienced a fiscal crisis, it sold the rights to System Shock 3 back to OtherSide Entertainment. As a result, the developer could sustain itself for “quite a while” and was actively shopping around for new publishers in May 2019.
Now, a post from an anonymous developer on RPGCodex iterates that things aren’t looking good at OtherSide Entertainment. They said that the game is “critically behind” where it should be in its development, and the team is “no longer employed.” Elaborating on the impact of losing its publisher, the “high expectations” for System Shock 3 was a poisoned chalice. “If Starbreeze hadn't gone into crisis I think we would've delivered something interesting with some fresh and innovative gameplay, but a much smaller game than what people were expecting and inevitably disappointing for a sequel to such a beloved franchise,” claimed the developer.
“Those high expectations drove a lot of expensive experimentation,” they explained. “We were a small team and knew we couldn't compete with current immersive sims in production quality and breadth, so we had to be creative and clever and weird. And we were on our way to make something unique and possibly fun, but probably not what the audience was hungry for.” At the time of writing, OtherSide Entertainment has not acknowledged the veracity of these reports.