When EA released Dead Space back in 2008 it was sadly overlooked. EA had created a brand new IP and probably the pinnacle of survival horror games, but sadly it wasn’t till a year or so later the series really picked up.
So three and half years and a sequel later where does the series stand? Well it’s been rumoured over the last couple of months that Dead Space 3 is indeed in development. Job adverts suggest this as does leaked logos and information but EA has never released any concrete evidence.
Therefore we’ve had to go on rumours and speculation but apparently Dead Space 3 will be set on Tau Volantis, “an icy planet where Isaac Clarke has to wade through white-out blizzard conditions.” After crash landing Isaac believes that he is the only survivor but soon releases that others are alive, Ellie from Dead Space 2 and a new character called Jennifer. Along with these the monstrosities from the previous games return which are now known as the Hive Mind.
Dead Space 3 is also rumoured to support the Frostbite 2 engine from the huge FPS Battlefield 3. This is highly believable due to the success of the Battlefield series. The Frostbite 2 engine is widely agreed to be one of the best looking engines out there. Although I doubt crumbling buildings will be used in Dead Space 3 the sound quality of the Frostbite engine would definitely fit in nicely. Dead Space for as good as it played and looked, was hugely successful because of its use of sound. Creaking floorboards and deck plates along with the sound of Isaac breathing alone in his helmet as he walked down a dark, inert corridor all helped achieve the scares and tense atmosphere that the series is known for. The Frostbite 2 engine would also give Dead Space 3 a nice graphical improvement which although not particularly necessary would be welcomed with open arms.
Dead Space 3 could also see a shift from a third person survival horror to a FPS horror. A few recent job adverts suggests that Visceral Games are looking to hire people with FPS knowledge to work on a multiplayer mode for an existing IP. Although it’s not confirmed to be Dead Space 3 it’s highly likely. Personally I’d hate to see Dead Space 3 turned into a FPS. Dead Space made its name as a third person survival horror game and probably the pinnacle of them. Changing the style of Dead Space 3 may very well alienate its fan base. Games don’t have to be a generic FPS to sell well and be highly successful. We don’t all like Call Of Duty. If Visceral want to create a FPS multiplayer for Dead Space 3 then fine go for it, the multiplayer in 2 was lacklustre and not entirely necessary. Just don’t touch the hugely successful single player. We as gamers still appreciate a decent single player story. Too many developers seem to think we can’t satisfy our demand for gaming on our own and need to have peoples online ID’s flashing across our screens to have fun.
So what do we want to see in the next instalment of the series?
Bring back the scares
Dead Space 2 was an improvement over the first in pretty much every department, apart from this. Dead Space 2 was a little predictable compared to the first, you already knew where enemies would come from and how to defeat them. The original had my heart pounding for the majority of the game. The second didn’t.
Don’t go open world
Part of what made Dead Space scarier than the second was the cramped USG Ishimura space ship. If Isaac was claustrophobic he’d have probably not lasted the adventure. Monsters would come from ceiling tiles under deck plates and could easily sneak up and deliver the lethal blow before you even knew what had happened. The blood covered walls with messages from the stricken crew also added to the tension. The space station Sprawl from Dead Space 2 was far too open for the scares to be repeated, rooms were vast and you could plan your next move before the enemies had even arrived. It was pretty and had far more varied locations but lacked the close quarter fighting that the first had. I have no problem with Dead Space 3 being set on a whole planet, as long as on that planet there is close confined places for Isaac to die the most gruesome of deaths or become a Necromorpth ass kicking machine.
Keep adding new weapons
Dead Space 2 had a pretty awesome arsenal of weapons and so did the first so hopefully Visceral will keep adding new limb destroying beasts. Although expect the trusty Plasma cutter to make a reappearance. Hopefully with new and exciting modes to help take down the bastards.
Add new enemies
Dead Space 2 added a few new crazies to the ranks of the Necromorpths but for the most part we’d already seen them in the first and therefore knew how to tackle them. We’ve taken them on across space ships and space stations and now planets. Surely new and more menacing enemies will have evolved in that time. So lets see them, lets see a Necromorpth that we’ve never encountered before and think oh bollocks what the hell is that and run for our lives.
Keep the third person perspective
As mentioned above Dead Space should stay a third person survival horror and not become a FPS. For multiplayer that’s fine but for single player I’m of the opinion that third person is scarier. Also the fact that all Isaac’s life signs are displayed on his back makes the need for a HUD irrelevant. It’s a brilliant idea form Visceral and really makes the game scarier and faster.
As good as the gameplay and everything else about Dead Space was. It is its story that is core to the series. Isaac is still haunted by his dead girlfriend Nicole who died on the Ishimura and throughout the two games he continues to become more unstable and hallucinate to extremes about her. Some of them are the scariest part of the games and for the most part help you to understand just how screwed up Isaac is. We want more, we want to see Isaac go completely insane. Some of them are the most poignant moments in the series and really help to tell the story. And something tells me that Nicole wont be happy with Isaac being helped by Ellie and their somewhat romantic connection. Could she come back for the final blow? Only time will tell.
Keep the core of the series intact
While I agree that innovation of a series is essential if you want to survive in this world, it’s only essential if done correctly. As long as the heart of Dead Space is retained then Visceral can do what they like, take us to icy planets and change weapons and enemies but make sure the way we wield them and kill them is retained. Continue to scare us silly and question our sanity. Continue with multiplayer but don’t skimp on the single player experience to do it.
What would you like to see in the next instalment? And remember that everything here is speculation until Visceral or EA announce anything official.
Let us hear from you below.