EA Announces Dead Space Remake

Gaming
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EA announced it’s remaking the original Dead Space. I’ve actually been playing Dead Space 2 (again) in the last few weeks, so this unveil feels quite timely. The game is being developed by Motive Games, though information on the project is currently limited.

EA’s Dead Space trilogy — particularly the first two — are some of the finest single-player games ever made. They blend horror and science fiction in an alternate universe where mankind developed the ability to crack open planets and harvest their resources to feed its own ever-growing need for raw materials. You play as Isaac Clarke, an engineer sent to investigate the fate of the oldest planet-cracker in the fleet, the USG Ishimura. Isaac is named for two of science fiction’s great authors, and the fact that he’s an engineer instead of a soldier is woven through the game. Many of Isaac’s weapons are converted mining equipment and you spend a fair bit of time trying to keep the ship from falling apart.

All is not well aboard the Ishimura, and the first game sees you work to uncover what happened to the ship and its crew. Isaac travels the length of the ship in his efforts to repair the stricken vessel. We learn that the planet-cracker is one of several ships and that humanity now suffers from critical resource shortages that planet-cracking helps to alleviate, despite its tremendous cost.

Here’s how EA describes it: “The sci-fi survival horror classic Dead Space returns, completely rebuilt from the ground up by Motive Studios to offer a deeper and more immersive experience. Harnessing the power of the Frostbite game engine and next generation consoles, this remake brings jaw-dropping visual fidelity and improvements to gameplay while staying true to the original.”

There are a lot of places where one could improve on the original. The original Dead Space runs at a locked 30fps and feels like it. The second game runs at 30fps but feels markedly smoother. The third game’s controls and camera feel downright fluid compared with the first, and I hope any effort to remaster the game doesn’t include faithfully replicating its control scheme, especially not on PC.

Hopefully, at some point, we’ll see a true Dead Space sequel. But a remake of the first game is a pretty great alternative. If it sells well, the second and third games will likely follow. Dead Space 2 takes everything great about the first game and polishes it to a mirror shine, so as exciting as it is to see Dead Space announced, the true gem will be its sequel — at least, assuming the remastering process goes well.

One question: Will Isaac be the silent protagonist (as he was in the original Dead Space) or will Motive Studios add dialog? I’m guessing the former, but I wouldn’t mind it if companies were willing to take a few chances on changing old games when they head to the remastering well. While it would change the flow of the game, offering the player the option to switch between voiced and unvoiced mode (and accepting somewhat changed dialog, since Isaac’s ability to respond would obviously change conversations), it would be an interesting way to tune the experience of the original game while remaining true to the series.

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