System Shock remakers Nightdive Studios are remastering The Thing

Computer Artworks’ 2002 videogame adaptation of 1982 movie The Thing was a ghoulish and gripping third-person shooter with some terrific mechanics that weren’t quite fleshed out, flesh being the operative word. For instance: you can enlist surviving soldiers as squadmates, but are they really surviving soldiers, or are they human-shaped warrens of teeth and mandibles waiting to shower you in digestive juices? You have a limited supply of blood tests with which to determine whether any people you rescue are Things in waiting – and even as you’re worrying about them, they’re casting suspicious eyes at you, care of some embryonic “trust” and “fear” systems.

Sadly, much of this acute paranoia could be easily gamed out in practice – back in 2002, I deduced that contact with enemies increased the odds of infection, and adopted a policy of shooting anyone who’d been in my squad for too long. But it’s the kind of system an intelligent remake could pounce upon and have fun with. Sadly, Nightdive are not working on a remake, like their previous System Shock remakes. They’ve just announced that they’re making a remaster, due later this year. Still, I will take a Thing remaster and thus, the opportunity to write more about The Thing, over no remaster at all.

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