But you remember it Dead Space? If you were happy owners of PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 the answer is only one, and it is obviously “yes”. It was the year 2008 when the first chapter of this historic sagaVisceral Games, a project that probably brought the studio to both the peak and the bottom of its career. The trilogy starring Isaac Clarke it was a great adventure, even if the ending still leaves a lot of bad taste in the mouth. We have recently heard many rumors that they would see the return of this IP with a fourth chapter, and it seems that the question is linked to the director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla who seems to have left Ubisoft after 16 years, entering the IT’S AT and working on the new Dead Space (here you can find our news with more details). Although there are currently no confirmations or denials, we thought it was the right time to talk about the saga of Dead Space even to those who did not know it, making a small retrospective of what it was Dead Space.
Dead Space arrives
Although the horror genre, historically, from a certain point onwards has always fascinated the general public and there have been chapters so excellent that they have become a real cult phenomenon (someone said silent Hill?), since the beginning of the week generation of consoles this type of product has made a bit of effort. There were however ambitious works like FEAR or The Darkness, just to name a few, but never anything really striking. But then came Dead Space which, in its own way, left an indelible mark in those years.
As easily understood by the name, the events of the game are set in space and you will play the role of the aforementioned Isaac Clarke, an engineer who works at a company that deals with the recovery of minerals in various planets around the galaxy. Isaac’s crew receives a distress call from the spaceship Ishimura which, at least apparently, has suffered a failure by remaining stuck in space. Already during the landing the problems will begin, as the rescuers ship will be damaged in a major way. Shortly thereafter the group will realize that they are in a real flying cemetery, where the entire crew was killed by a strange race of anthropomorphic creatures. As usual, you will soon be isolated from the rest of the team, with the sole purpose of escaping that unprecedented nightmare.
These are the narrative premises of the first chapter, and once the situation inside the ship is clarified, the purpose will become to escape from the nightmare: you will find yourself guiding Isaac into the maze of theIshimura, controlling it with a system very similar to the one adopted by Resident Evil 4 with the camera behind the protagonist. The discovery of the spaceship soon turns out to be something much more anxious and frightening, the atmosphere created by the team was something difficult to repeat: sounds, gasps, footsteps, corpses ready to jump on you at the right time, noises of pipes and monsters of various types ready to pop up from every corner. The attraction exerted by Dead Space fortunately it does not end in the powerful effect created by the settings, but also has its say in the combat system studied in a painstaking way by the team. The design of the monsters was made on purpose to focus attention on specific points of the battered bodies, and consequently develop precise attack strategies. The enemies were being torn apart, and the difficulty was precisely in trying to hit them precisely while they were aggressive and fast, as opposed to the slow and awkward movements of the protagonist.
What happened after?
The first chapter was therefore a success in full line, but from that moment on something has inevitably broken. The success achieved was not enough, two million copies sold on the three reference platforms may not be a very positive result considering the approach of IT’S AT to the brand e the massive investment made at launch of the progenitor with lots of multimedia initiatives in tow, including comics, anime and assorted spin-offs. The second chapter, instead of maintaining its identity and improving its predecessor in its weak points, was quite distorted by showing more than one point uncovered. The reviews were generally very positive, but they were not enough to convince users to approach this second chapter.
The protagonist began to have a well-defined character and personality, plus the same game had elements such as visions or anthropomorphic babies that can bring to the mind of the most experienced users the historian. silent Hill. Regardless of this, however, the title was not received by the general public, despite being largely mainstream oriented. The boom was more post-launch, with lowered prices and second-hand sales.
The coup de grace came withDead Space 3, the sales were bad and the press reviews weren’t particularly good either. The same Visceral Games made a huge mistake, that is to distort the game by decreasing the horror component and making it become much more action than it had been in the past, the same process that, in some ways, also affected the saga of Resident Evil with the fifth chapter. Needless to say, this third episode of the saga was a massacre, decreeing the end of the development team who could no longer fully recover.
Despite this, however, it must be said that the same EA pushed Visceral Games out of its way (here you can find our in-depth article), trying to make him marry a business model far from his ideals. Probably if the publisher had left the team free to devise their own vision, the result would have been different. We hope that the series can be reborn as it should be with a next chapter, now in great demand. If indeed the existence of a hypothetical Dead Space 4 were real, it would be important to recover mainly the atmosphere of the first chapter, as well as recreate that sense of precariousness and certain death that on balance were really palpable.