After nearly eight years of silence, it’s been confirmed by EA themselves that Dead Space will be remade for the new generation consoles. For those of you who don’t remember what the franchise is about, players take control of an engineer named Isaac Clarke, a man who discovers an undead species called the “Necromorphs” on board a mining ship named the USG Ishimura. Released in 2008 on Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360, the game was critically acclaimed across the board.
Then, Dead Space 2 came out in 2011 and the sequel received even higher praise, expanding on the first horror game thanks to a richer world, more weapons, and a variety of enemies. All seemed well and good for the Dead Space franchise critically as it appeared that it would be the next Resident Evil or Silent Hill, though the financial returns for both games were seen as commercial failures. Dead Space 2 was reportedly one of the most expensive video games ever to be made at that time, with a $120 million budget split evenly between development and marketing.
Then Dead Space 3 arrived. While not critically panned, the third entry in the sci-fi horror franchise didn’t garner the same praise as the first two games, with the problems mainly coming from the developer’s decision to try and focus on co-op and abandoning the survival horror elements for a first-person shooter. The game failed to meet sales and the whole franchise was put on ice with a reported Dead Space 4 scrapped. Visceral Games, the studio behind the survival horror series, was shut down in 2017.
So, was Dead Space 3 that bad? Honestly, no. However, the key mistake that the developers made for DS3 was stripping away most of the horror elements that made the two first games such a joy to play. It wasn’t just the necromorphs that made the gameplay scary, it was the environment as well. I still fondly remember that school level in Dead Space 2, with the dingy, dark, and bloody hallways, and the first visual sight of a crawler, who well…crawls to a teacher, and moments later they explode. Being in the USG Ishimura and the Sprawl, I felt claustrophobic and helpless, something that Dead Space 3 was missing. Long story short, Dead Space 3 didn’t feel like a Dead Space game. On the surface, Dead Space 3 is an average first-person shooter. The focus on co-op mod is an interesting idea, but the execution drastically needed work. I did like the developers trying to expand the world once again, even though the larger scope took away from the horror elements.
So, does this mean that the franchise deserves a reboot? Of course, it does! In fact, I’m disappointed that EA scrapped the fourth game for Dead Space. The world of Dead Space is still fresh and new and the franchise shouldn’t be stopped by one lackluster game. Both Silent Hill and Resident Evil have had their fair share of stinkers, though I assume that the financial loss was more of a factor for putting the franchise on ice.
For the reboot, the developers can simply update the graphics and some of the gameplay, notably the issue of not being able to use upgraded weapons on a higher difficulty, though the story and characters can remain intact. The same thing can be said about Dead Space 2, which is essentially flawless in my book. It should be interesting to see if EA manages to remake Dead Space 3. Like I said before, it’s a solid first-person shooter that just doesn’t feel like a Dead Space game. If the developers decide to scrap the co-op story then it would make the game a lot better to play. However, if EA expands on their focus on co-op and produces a kickass co-op story that failed the first time around then that would be cool as well.
It should be interesting to see how these games turn out with Visceral Games no longer being behind the upcoming reboot. Either way, the return of the Dead Space world should be a very promising one and hopefully, the game is able to be a financial success so the developers will continue on with the franchise. If you don’t feel that these games need to be changed then I understand your mindset; however, Dead Space was a commercial failure for the franchise the first time around, so it’s necessary to try and reboot this horror series in order for a Dead Space 4 to be a possibility.