"System Shock 2 is an action role-playing video game, designed by Ken Levine for the personal computer. The title is a sequel to the 1994 PC game System Shock, and was co-developed by Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios. The sequel was originally designed as a standalone title with no relation to System Shock; story changes were made when Electronic Arts—who owned the Shock franchise rights—signed on as publisher. System Shock 2 was released on August 11, 1999 in North America.
The game takes place on board a starship in a cyberpunk depiction of 2114. The player assumes the role of a lone soldier trying to stem the outbreak of a genetic infection that has devastated the ship. Like System Shock, gameplay consists of first person shooting and exploration. A role-playing system allows the player to develop unique skills and traits, such as hacking and psionic abilities.
System Shock 2 received positive reviews when released, but failed to meet commercial sales expectations. In retrospect, many critics have determined the game to be highly influential, particularly on first person shooters, and far ahead of its time, and inducted it into several "greatest games of all time" lists. In January 2006, Computer and Video Games reported System Shock 3 may be under development. As of January 2009, nothing conclusive has surfaced regarding the purported project's status. In 2007, Irrational—then 2K Boston/2K Australia—released a self-proclaimed 'spiritual successor' to the System Shock series, entitled BioShock, to critical acclaim and strong sales."