Video game

Original Developers of Fan Favorite The Thing Video Game React to Nightdive Studios' Remaster – Syfy

The fan-favorite PlayStation 2 video game based on John Carpenter’s The Thing is officially thawing out after all these years with an upcoming remaster from Nightdive Studios, the company known for revamping classic titles announced on social media last week. “We’re extremely honored to have the privilege of remastering the iconic third-person squad-based survival horror sequel to John Carpenter’s genre-defining film and can’t wait to share more info with you soon!” the Nightdive team wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Originally developed by now-defunct Computer Artworks, the 2002 game (also titled The Thing) serves as an Aliens-style sequel to the classic 1982 film, with a group of American soldiers sent to investigate the smoldering wreckage of Outpost 31 and the Norwegian camp. The player steps into the snow boots of the toughened Captain Blake (Per Solli), who must battle grotesque Thing creatures, regularly test NPCs and himself for infection, and prevent a dastardly plot that would allow the titular alien creature to assimilate all of planet Earth.

Remembered for its unique — if slightly janky — AI systems based on infection, trust, and fear, The Thing was a notable success, garnering positive reviews and several award nominations, as well as selling over a million copies worldwide. With the remaster announcement taking the fan community by storm, SYFY WIRE caught up with three members of the game’s original development team to get their thoughts on the exciting news.

For More on John Carpenter’s The Thing:
John Carpenter Zoom Crashes a Special Screening of The Thing in the Middle of the Antarctic
Return of The Thing? Everything to Know About The Cancelled Miniseries Sequel to The Thing
Kurt Russell and John Carpenter Discussed the Ending of The Thing “For a Long, Long Time”

Watch Teaser Trailer for The Thing Video Game Remaster

Original Developers Behind The Thing Video Game React to Remaster Announcement

The Thing video game was first conceived because of my love of the original Campbell short story Who Goes There?, the Howard Hawks masterpiece, and the John Carpenter masterclass in filmmaking,” Ricci Rukavina, who came up with the concept for the game, tells SYFY WIRE. “My original concept was, ‘How can I remaster and pay tribute to all of these influences in a video game by exploring and participating in fear-based psychological behaviors as opposed to passively reading or watching them?’ I applaud the remaster of continuing the original tribute I wanted to give to Campbell, Hawks, and Carpenter’s legacies and it’s gratifying to see that continuation with the announcement of the remaster.”

“Amazing to hear The Thing is getting remastered to Playstation, Xbox, and Switch 22 years later!” echoes Diarmid Campbell, one of the original lead programmers of the game. “It’s still regarded as a special project for our small team and we remember this time with great fondness. Wishing the team at Nightdive good luck with the remastering [and] bringing it back to the fans of the original and new players — even with some of the questionable creative and UX design choices I made back then.”

Thankfully, the Nightdive team isn’t stumbling around in the frozen darkness of Antarctic winter all by its lonesome. Two key members of the original crew, technical director Mark Atkinson and art director Cumron “Ron” Ashitanti, are both serving as key advisors on the project. Ashtiani in particular runs a WhatsApp brain trust comprised of his former Computer Artworks colleagues, who, like Campbell, have been aching to rectify questionable design choices for over two decades.

“We ask questions, ‘If you could change one thing about this, what would it be?’ Some of the guys have actually come forward and said, ‘There’s always been something that I regret about the game and it was this’ and, ‘I wish I’d done a better job of that,'” Ashtiani tells us over Zoom. “I’m talking to them almost daily … because stuff comes up and somebody finds a file. People keep going, ‘I was on my hard drive and I found this. Is it useful to you?’ Unfortunately for the Nightdive team, every two seconds I’m going, ‘Here’s another thing, here’s another item.’”

Nevertheless, Ashtiani has complete faith in the Nightdive troupe, whom he describes as “massive fans” of both the game and the Carpenter film. “I’m mostly making sure the art direction stays true,” he explains. “I wrote a fairly significant art bible on the do’s and don’ts of The Thing … The guys at Nightdive have been great. They just got their heads around it straightaway.”

While the gameplay won’t change much, the remaster will address a number of popular complaints with the original, including the infection system, which often had an NPC turn out to be a Thing mere moments after passing a blood test. “At the minute, we don’t know how far we’re gonna go with it, because there’s, I don’t know, four or five different solutions to it — ranging from quite simple to quite involved,” Ashtiani teases. “This morning, on our Discord channel, the guys were [going] back and forth about the various solutions for that.”

On that note, he and Nightdive have scoured the YouTube comments section beneath the teaser trailer to see what fans are hoping to see improved. “[There are] lots of good comments from gamers saying, ‘I hope they fix this. I hope they fix that.’ We’ve actually gone through all those comments and gone, ‘Check, yeah, that’s on the list. That’s on the list. Oh, that’s not, have a look at that.'”

And, of course, the updated graphics are going to look bloody awesome, especially when it comes to the monsters and lighting. “All the creatures will actually look shiny and bloody, and horrible,” Ashtiani says, going on to promise a visual atmosphere more redolent of Dean Cundey’s cinematography work on the ’82 film.

“For horror games, it’s very important that lighting is nicely done,” he concludes. “I think back on the PS2 back in the day, we could only have a couple of lights in a scene. When you think back to the movie, there’s so much shadow play in that movie and chiaroscuro. You see the shadow of the Thing against the wall. John Carpenter did a master class of that kind of stuff. We couldn’t match it with the game [originally], but this time, we can.”

While an official release date has yet to be announced, eager fans can add the title to their wishlist on Steam.

The Thing is now available to own from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment alongside the 2011 prequel and 1951’s The Thing from Another World.

Want even more Carpenter goodness? Head on over to Peacock for Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Body Bags (1993), Halloween Ends (2022), and John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams (2023).

Limited Time Offer: Enjoy 1 year of hit movies, exclusive originals, the hottest live sports, and so much more on Peacock for $19.99. Use code STREAMTHEDEAL.


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