Of all the news stories you might have predicted you’d hear today, I’m guessing the news that System Shock 2 and Thief, two games released by Looking Glass Studios over thirteen years ago, just received new patches wasn’t one of them. These mysterious, unofficial updates surfaced on French forum Ariane4ever, uploaded by “Le Corbeau”, The Raven.
The patches feature updates to Thief and System Shock 2‘s code that allow both to be played on modern hardware, something that has become increasing difficult to do with any stability over the years. Both games can now be played at 1920×1080 resolution and, while blocky looking as all old games are, apparently look pretty damn great cranked that high. Folks around various online communities have begun to question just how this was done, as apparently access to the raw source code of these games would likely be required to do something like this. Various compatibility tools have gone around for these games for years, but none without its share of flaws.
There are two files available for each game, one a patch for users who already own the game, the other a demo for those who just want to check out how things look with the patch applied. While Thief is currently available on Steam, System Shock 2 has tragically fallen out of circulation just about everywhere, unless you want to buy the CD on eBay for a couple hundred bucks. The predecessor to Deus Ex and Bioshock, it’s a fantastic game that anyone who hasn’t already should check out immediately, even if it means resorting to… “acquiring” it from… certain places.
For you conspiracy theorists out there, you might be interested to hear that “Le Corbeau” shares the Latin root corvus with the Italian word Corvo, which happens to be the name of the protagonist of French developer Arkane Studios’ upcoming open world stealth action-adventure game, Dishonored. Arkane Studios just happens to employ a bunch of developers who formerly worked at Looking Glass, the studio that made both System Shock 2 and Thief. Hmm…