RETRO – The Dead Space franchise has been a staple in the horror gaming genre since its debut in 2008. With the release of the Dead Space Remake, set to launch later today on January 27th, 2023, it’s the perfect time to revisit the series and examine its impact on the gaming world.
Dead Space was developed by Visceral Games, a studio that was known for its work on the Battlefield and The Godfather series. The idea for the game came from Glen Schofield, the studio’s creative director, who wanted to create a horror game that was set in space. He envisioned a game that combined the survival horror elements of Resident Evil with the sci-fi setting of Alien. The game was developed for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms. Despite the challenges of creating a unique enemy AI and ensuring a sense of isolation and dread for the player, the team successfully created a game that was both terrifying and fun to play.
Dead Space: the first nightmare
The first Dead Space game, released in 2008, follows engineer Isaac Clarke as he investigates a mysterious spaceship called the USG Ishimura. As he delves deeper into the ship, he discovers that it has been overrun by deadly creatures known as Necromorphs. Isaac must use his engineering skills and a variety of powerful weapons, known as “gravity guns,” to fight off the Necromorphs and uncover the truth behind the Ishimura’s fate.
The game received critical acclaim for its horror atmosphere, inventive gameplay, and strong storytelling, and it won several awards including “Best Sound Design” and “Best Original Score” at the 2008 Spike Video Game Awards.
Expanding the horror: Dead Space 2
Dead Space 2 was released in 2011, as the sequel to the original game. The game takes place three years after the events of the first game, and follows Isaac Clarke as he battles Necromorphs on the Sprawl, a massive space station orbiting Saturn. The game introduced new gameplay mechanics such as the ability to use kinesis to move objects and the new “Javelin” gun.
Dead Space 2 does also have a multiplayer mode, which allows players to take on the role of Necromorphs in various game modes, it was not a common feature among the horror games at the time of its release. The addition of multiplayer was well received by some critics and players, however, some of the critics and players considered it as a distraction from the main story and gameplay experience.
Dead Space 2 received widespread critical acclaim for its improved gameplay, graphics, and story, and is considered one of the best horror games of all time. It was a commercial success, selling more than 2 million copies.
Dead Space 3: the final nightmare
The final game in the series, Dead Space 3 was released in 2013 and is the third and final installment in the main series. The game continues the story of Isaac Clarke as he battles the Necromorphs and uncovers the truth behind the Markers. The game introduces a new co-op mode, allowing players to play through the campaign with a friend.
Dead Space 3 also introduced new gameplay mechanics such as the ability to craft weapons, adding more depth to the gameplay. The game received mixed reviews, with some praising the new mechanics and co-op mode while others criticized the game for moving away from the series’ survival horror roots. Despite mixed reviews, the game sold well and was a commercial success.
The influence of the Dead Space franchise on other media
The Dead Space franchise has an impact not only on horror games, but also on other forms of media. Animated films have been made and a comic book series has been published.
Dead Space: Downfall is the first animated film from 2008 and serves as a prequel to the first game. The film explores the events aboard the Ishimura before Isaac Clarke’s arrival. It was generally well received by critics, who praised its animation and story.
Dead Space: Aftermath is the second animated horror film to be released in 2011 and is also a prequel to the Dead Space video game series. The film follows a group of survivors aboard a mining ship that has been overrun by necromorphs. The animation combines 2D and 3D animation, giving the film a unique and visually exciting visual world. The voice acting features talented actors including Christopher Judge and Peter Woodward. The film deftly captures the same sense of dread and tension as the video games and is a must-see for fans of the series.
Finally, the aforementioned Dead Space comic book series expands on the game’s universe and storylines. The comics are published by IDW Publishing and follow Isaac Clarke and other characters as they confront the Necromorphs and uncover the truth behind the Markers. The comics contain additional backstories and details that expand on the overall story of the Dead Space universe.
The franchise is also credited as the inspiration for other horror games such as Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within.
A lasting legacy
In conclusion, the Dead Space franchise has left a lasting legacy in the world of horror gaming. Its combination of inventive gameplay, intense atmosphere, and strong storytelling has earned it a place in the pantheon of great horror games. The release of the Dead Space Remake is a welcome opportunity for both new and old fans to experience the terror of the Necromorphs once again.
Despite its success, Visceral Games, the studio behind the Dead Space franchise, was closed by its parent company, Electronic Arts (EA), in 2017. The studio had been working on a new project codenamed “Ragtag” but the project was ultimately cancelled and the team was disbanded. The closure of Visceral Games came as a shock to many in the gaming industry, as the studio had a reputation for creating high-quality, critically acclaimed games.
Still, the release of the Dead Space Remake is a welcome opportunity for both new and old fans to experience the terror of the Necromorphs once again.