Well, the announcement of a new Dead Space wasn’t just a shared visceral hallucination among those of us who’ve long wished for such a revival. Electronic Arts showed off some extremely early footage of the upcoming action-horror game during a live stream on EA Motive’s Twitch channel today.
Hosted by senior producer Philippe Ducharme and creative director Roman Campos-Oriola, the stream showed a very—we’re talking very—early look at the upcoming remake. So, if you were expecting a gameplay reveal, you didn’t get that. If you were hoping for another cinematic trailer, you didn’t get that, either. Over the course of 40-odd minutes, the duo dished on how the studio is approaching a total remake of a beloved game.
Dead Space, which is planned for release on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, doesn’t currently have a release date. It is both rare and exceedingly cool to see a developer show off footage of a triple-A game so far out from release. Typically, these behind-the-scenes showcases only come during GDC talks or whatnot. Here’s an archived version of the stream, courtesy of GameSpot:
In case you missed it, the forthcoming Dead Space is not a traditional reboot. It’s a total remake, as the developers are clear to note. EA Motive even accessed the original files of the game, including the development assets of the Ishimura “planet cracker” ship, where much of the first game takes place.
“One thing that’s important for us…it’s not about one thing,” Campos-Oriola said. “It’s really about improving on a lot of different elements to create that original but still new experience.”
“We want to make sure we stay true to the original,” Ducharme added.
One thing that’ll help: Gunner Wright, who voiced protagonist Isaac Clarke in the original, will reprise the character again in the remake. EA Motive also demonstrated the “cut off their limbs” feature that’s long been a hallmark of the series. Most of Dead Space sees you fighting against necromorphs, space zombies with giant scythes for arms. Clarke’s weapon could fire in either a vertical or horizontal beam. You had to switch angles on the fly to, well, cut off the limbs of necromorphs before they could attack you.
From today’s—again, very early—peek, the next Dead Space looks a whole lot like the first Dead Space, except with visuals worthy of next-gen consoles.
Dead Space was a series of third-person action horror games that were bone-chillingly, teeth-rattlingly scary. At the start of the first game, released in 2008, Clarke’s girlfriend, Nicole Brennan, has been radio silent for some time, so he sets out to find her. Turns out, her ship was overrun by said space zombies with giant scythes for arms. Whoops.
“As Isaac, [in the story] you’re looking for Nicole, but in the game, not so much,” Campos-Oriola said during today’s stream. “That’s something we want to improve.”
In keeping with EA’s mandate in recent years, it’ll be built in DICE’s powerful Frostbite engine. That, plus a release unshackled from older hardware, allows for technical wizardry miles beyond what the original could deliver.
“The super-fast SSDs on modern systems allow us to load and unload really fast,” creative director Roman Campos-Oriola said in an EA blog post. “Our intention is to offer a fully unbroken experience. It will be an uninterrupted sequence shot, from the start screen to the end credit, without interruption.”
One last thing: In case you were worried, as revealed in today’s stream, the new Dead Space will not have microtransactions.
EA formally shut down original developer Visceral Games in 2017, which was reportedly working on a Star Wars game at the time, effectively squashing the future of Dead Space. But the mega-publisher has capitalized on nostalgia in recent years with Mass Effect: Legendary Edition and the recently dusted-off Skate series, which has a new game in the works after spending more than a decade on ice. It’s only natural that Dead Space, a successful franchise by all measures, would come back from the dead. You just might have to wait a bit longer.