Is EA’s Dead Space Series Dead In The Water?

Update: Nevermind, the dream is dead. EA has closed down Visceral Games as of 10.17.2017.

Back in 2008, EA and a new and upcoming development crew, Visceral Games, shocked the gaming world with a new kind of survival horror game. That game was known as Dead Space. Set far head in the future, the story of Dead Space revolved around combining sci-fi survival horror, nasty aliens called necromorphs, religion, and a hefty amount of action.

Taking cues from other survival horror games, especially from Resident Evil (who Visceral Games were big fans of), Dead Space was easily one of my favorite games and I was surprised to find so many different elements that the game incorporated and how accessible the title was. In fact, I played that game twice through its lifetime.  Thirsting for more, I eagerly awaited the anticipated sequel that would eventually arrive several years later during January 2011.


It slices, it dices, it… shit, I told you it slices!

With more of what Dead Space brought to the table, Dead Space 2 upped the ante with more horror, a better storyline, several new characters, while evolving the character that we’ve all come to know and love, Isaac Clark. with several levels of difficulty, an enhanced dismemberment system, telekinetic abilities that worked in both combat as well as several puzzles, a multiplayer mode and much more, Dead Space 2 trumped the original in so many ways. And yet once again, after besting the title several times I was left hungering for more. 

Two years later, EA and Visceral Games released the 3rd and what seems to be the final title in the series, Dead Space 3. While the title still presented a hefty amount of horror, introduced new elements such as a co-op mode that allowed another player to drop in / out at any time, a dead-space-damnit-my-eyesnew crafting system that worked with or without micro-transactions, it also diluted the tried and true formula by putting more of the emphasis on action, rather than horror this time around. In the age where games such as Gears of Wars were the dominant games, EA and Visceral attempted to add some elements from those games into Dead Space 3.

What they got, in the end, was a title that was still Dead Space on the surface, yet was something that fans and critics alike couldn’t quite put their finger on. There was a split in the reception of the title, where some people simply loved the game, where others played it out of love for the series and ultimately that seemed to seal the fate of the title. In fact, some had gone so far as to dub the game “Bro Space 3”, due to its co-op heavy firefight play segments. The addition of the micro-transactions didn’t help the matter either.

Sadly, while the game did have more gun-play, which was pretty damned good, and less focus on the horror elements, it also did one other thing that was not expected and that was to force EA to re-think the status of the Dead Space series. Failing to meet EA’s expectations, the series was shelved and ultimately rumored to be done for EA. Essentially Dead Space was dead for lack of a better term. However back during June of 2013, executive vice president of EA, Patrick Soderlund, went on record and stated that the series was in fact not dead or canceled and was an important brand for the company. However, shortly afterward the development team behind Dead Space, Visceral Games, was tasked with another new title instead. That title ended up being Battlefield: Hardline and well, we know what happened with that title.

Several months later, however, fans of the series started asking EA what was going on with the Dead Space series, which still holds a place in the heart of many gamers. And while EA directly did not come out and say anything, Visceral Games did step up to the plate in an interview with GamesTM regarding the fate of the series.

“Many, many people here at Visceral have a warm spot in their heart for Dead Space, and right now we’re busy with Hardline and…other things,” … “but it’s definitely something we’d love to look at again.”

“There’s definitely a lot of interest internally for us to pick that up again at a future date. – Visceral Games general manager, Steve Papoutsis”

And while that merely meant that the studio hasn’t forgotten the game that made them a household name, it still didn’t confirm or deny that a new game from the series would be released. Still, that didn’t stop the rumor’s flying around, including on that Dead Space 4 was indeed confirmed and would be released in 2017. Of course, when EA was approached about this, they were still mum on the issues. Whether if they were indeed planning or working on a new Dead Space title, they weren’t saying.

A shame really, especially since the ending of the final piece of Dead Space 3 DLC, Awakened, both heroes Isaac Clark and his pessimistic partner, John Carver, had just made it to earth just in time to see it being attacked by brethren moons and the necromorphs. Suddenly one of the moons smashes into the ship carrying the heroes, knocking them unconscious, with their fate left to your imagination. Not confirmed to be dead or alive, this is the perfect starting place for Dead Space 4.

Where the hell is my next game, EA?

Where the hell is my next game, EA?

Back on earth, with the necromorphs attacking their home planet, what better way to get them all worked up? And what about Isaac’s new-found love interest, Ellie, who he first encountered in Dead Space 2? Was she still alive after Isaac send her away at the end of Dead Space 3? And who can forget the other events of the series, such as those that took place in Dead Space: Extraction? Sure, one of the main characters, Gabe Weller? Sure he may have died at the end of the title, but those who played it also know that at the end his body was taken for study. But why and where did he end up? For all we know, very well may be earth.

There’s just so many things left open in the Dead Space series and as a huge fan of it, I would truly hope that EA, with all its amounts of cash, simply doesn’t abandon it due to Dead Space 3 being the one turd of the series. I mean, cmon EA, you still pump out NBA Live and Battlefield titles and they haven’t been getting any better.

One thing’s for sure, EA has a Dead Space fan for life in me and I know I’m not the only one. I just hope that we’ll see either Dead Space 4 or a rebooted Dead Space title before I hang up my controller, mouse, and keyboard for good.

12 Responses

  1. Avatar

    This article asks a damn interesting question. For all it’s shortcomings (i,e. being sucky), Dead Space 3 did, have an intriguing story. Too bad it was told throughout an uninteresting game.

  2. Avatar

    @Keith Mitchell

    Visceral has put Dead Space on hold because their pipeline is full. Visceral is now working on a Star Wars title. From what I understand some of what 1313 was supposed to be will be present in Visceral’s game. Amy Hennig (from Naughty Dog) is spearheading the story.

    I would bet the reason there was so much time between DS1, DS2 and DS3 was likely due to the fact that survival horror games are more niche than shooter games.

    My guess would be that you won’t hear much about Dead Space until Visceral’s Star Wars game is out. I would like to see another Dante game as well.

  3. Avatar
    Matthew Steele

    I hope so badly that we see Dead Space 4, hell I’d buy an HD version of any and all of the previous games. I’d say I’d hate to give EA any ideas, but seriously EA needs no help in bad ideas, they got that in spades as it is.

    Personally I feel 3 deserved more credit than it got at the time. Every survival horror series has fallen into the same trap DS3 did. The anti gets upped, the set pieces get bigger and the horror starts to become background while the action gameplay gets tuned up.

    Capcom did the same with Resident Evil, Konima with Silent Hill and la la la. That is not to say that EA doesn’t deserve a swift slap though. Plenty of lessons learned from those other publishers and they went right ahead down the same road, and even worse by forcing CO OP into a very solo styled game(a lesson Capcom still refuses to see the faults in), creating a weapon system that was very functional without micro-transactions but did cynically scream micro-trans bait and then holding the series under water claiming the fans didn’t buy and appreciate the series enough.

    In short, Visceral you made an amazing IP and did a remarkable job under the gun of those suit overlords! EA, as always, let your developers make the games and let the suits stay home watching Mad Men!

  4. Avatar

    Dead space 1 and 2 were masterpieces. Dead space 3 was pretty shitty imho. It completely ignored the best aspects of the previous games that made dead space so unique. If dead space 4 does come out it needs to go back to the roots of the franchise.

    • Avatar

      I really didn’t think Dead Space 3 was that Bad. It was in the same universe as the first two games, but it did play differently. The story had a few good bits and the logs and stuff had me engaged. I loved building guns. And it was long and filled with different environments unlike the first two games. The love interest and bros conflict was terribly lame.

      I didn’t particularly enjoy Dead Space 2 though but replayed 1 many times. I’d love to see Dead Space 4 combine the good from all the previous games.

      • Avatar

        My biggest complaint about dead space 3 besides for the lack of horror was the guns. The whole idea of strategic dismemberment was dropped.

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        Maybe it was because I played on hard, but I did have to carefully choose how to use my weapons or run out of ammo. There were several different strategies required to attack the different enemies.

  5. Avatar
    Hellbound Angel

    They said that ds4’s release date will be after finished production of a Star Wars game (possibly Battlefront) so that means we could probably have a chance of seeing something for it at this years E3 if not after Battlefronts final dlc which is early 2017.

  6. Avatar
    Mick Brogden

    all 3 game were great ok the atmosphere of the first part was untouched,but in general one of my favourite franchise of all time