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.
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 new 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.
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.