As the 27th of January release date draws closer, we have our most detailed look yet at how all those elements will come together in the game, courtesy of a new eight-minute gameplay walkthrough. EA Motive has been unusually talkative throughout the development of its Dead Space remake, holding multiple live streams to show off the likes of its improved art, audio, and gameplay changes.
In honor of Dead Space’s 14th anniversary, EA released an extended sequence from the remake’s third chapter, in which protagonist Isaac must explore the infested USG Ishimura to reach the ship’s engineering deck take and repair its engines, following the last week’s 2-minute gameplay trailer.
The scene opened in Ishimura’s hangar, which has expanded significantly since the original game (the changes were especially striking when compared side by side). Some of the environmental alterations made for the remake are intended to improve the mood. In contrast, others were necessary to handle the fact that the Ishimura is now one continuous, interconnected ship, and players no longer need to rely on the tram.
Moving to a massive, linked area that can be traveled and re-traversed was a unique issue for EA Motive, specifically how to realistically fill a space that didn’t exist in the original game; the studio has dubbed its answer the Intensity Director. Players can now meet a “totally distinct experience,” built dynamically from differing degrees of system events, if they opt to retreat or explore away from an objective.
These sequences are constructed from adversaries, environment, and lighting, all calibrated to an intensity curve to keep gamers on edge. To keep things “unpredictable and bring some additional tension and challenge,” the Intensity Director may choose to create quieter, more tense moments after a dynamically generated fight, such as when players return to a previously visited corridor to find it full of blinking lights and creepy sounds.
The Director can even throw a jump fright into an otherwise unanimous scene. EA Motive then demonstrated a section of the walkthrough in which Isaac must make his way through the ship’s machine shop to reach the refueling station.
A necromorph swoops down from above in this example of a staged fright. Some of these features will be recognizable to veterans of the first game since EA described them as “memorable moments faithful to the original.” In contrast, others, such as “tonnes of graphics upgrades that assist strategic dismemberment,” have been added to improve confrontations.
Now, EA Motive’s tutorial skipped ahead to the part where Issac had to break into the fuel management office to activate the refueling station’s power functions. For instance, inside the fuel management office, we see an example of EA’s goal to “build on what was there and bring a bit more richness and depth” to the remake’s objectives.
To move further, players must divert power to the refueling station, but doing so will force them to disable some systems and alter the game’s progression. If the players’ life support is turned off, they will have to use oxygen canisters to survive until they reach the refueling station. They can also follow the instructions in the tour and turn off the lights, leaving them to navigate in the dark.
The next stop on EA Motive’s tour is Ishimura’s decontamination chamber, where the developer showed off how it has used “new tech” to “ratchet up the tension.” In one case, dynamic smoke produces a claustrophobic “thick, opaque environment” that makes it challenging to spot lurkers, even when they are only a few centimeters away from the player.
Finally, we arrive at the centrifuge, where EA describes the new effects it employed, such as particle effects, lighting, and floating debris, to make the area more “amazing” and “imposing” while still being “capable of telling a tale at the same time.” The increased size of the zero-g environment also affects gameplay, with EA remarking that it is more challenging to monitor oncoming necromorphs.
The eight-minute tour up top covers everything, but the whole 14th-anniversary webcast has some extra banter. Although it was short on specifics, we learned that EA had given slashers a more comprehensive range of visual styles so that they each feel like they belong to Ishimura’s gang, and we learned a bit more about Isaac’s improved speaking voice.
Although the last change was made to “improve Isaac as a character and give him a bit more agency,” as stated by EA, Isaac will not be speaking to other characters in the game, as previously emphasized. Instead, to maintain suspense while exploring the Ishimura, Isaac will (with a couple of exceptions) only speak when he is said to. This includes all situations in which his lack of expression or reaction might seem strange.
Overall, it was another very encouraging glimpse at EA’s Dead Space remake, and its secrets won’t be hidden for much longer, what with the game’s release for PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PS5 scheduled for January 27 of next year.