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Dead Space Writer: DS3's Action Was A "Necessary Evil"

Dead Space 3 was a good game. It just went in a direction fans of the original title didn't exactly appreciate.

Unfortunately, Dead Space writer Antony Johnston tells NowGamer it was a "necessary evil" so they could appeal to more gamers. Said Johnston:

"I'm personally a big fan of old-school survival horror, and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to work on Dead Space. So the greater emphasis on big action in the sequels means they're not really for me."

So Visceral tried to implement more action, but Johnston admitted that doing so is a "very difficult balancing act to pull off." He does say he thinks the developers did a good job of keeping that balance, but there are some series followers who would disagree. As for the ideas behind DS3, Johnston said the developers wanted to go bigger...as developers tend to do:

"I know the developers always wanted to go bigger, in terms of scope. And I’ve mentioned before that the universe we created was huge, with lots of elements, which simply didn’t make it into the first game. So to get that story told, to round out the universe, it was inevitable the settings and environments would open out a bit, become a bit more epic in scale…otherwise you’d just have the same game on a different ship each time, and that’s pretty dull."

He does have a point. However, there's no need to make it the "same game" if you just want to maintain the same genre, right? There were plenty of opportunities in DS3 to add that good ol' survival/horror style, but they just didn't want to do it. What do you say about this subject?

Related Game(s): Dead Space 3

Tags: dead space 3, dead space sequel, visceral games, dead space fans

2/8/2013 9:42:44 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (24 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, February 08, 2013 @ 10:23:12 PM
Reply

Good to hear it from the horses mouth because we all know it's true and developers just tend to deny that they are doing exactly what they are doing. "Oh no man all the fans of the original will be pleased." Well look how your scores turned out ya knotheads.

You do not need to change the genre to make a great game, and when you make a great game it scores well and then you don't have to worry about appealing to broader groups of imbeciles. Ask Rockstar if making Red Dead Redemption was a bad idea even though gamers generally don't give two sh*ts about the Western genre.

And the fetch quest thing? Don't even try to tell me the big co-op focus didn't cause that infection.

It's scary that a talented team who MUST know what happened to Resident Evil didn't learn anything from the mistakes of others.

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homura
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 2:22:30 AM

What he's talking about is those action set pieces. What the hell is wrong with that? There are only a few of them in Dead Space 2. They still have those F*ucking Necromorphs and added a few. It still has dim lighting and the power failure. And if you played the first Dead Space in impossible mode, it's a freaking piece of cake compared to zeolot mode in Dead Space 2. Because if you thought investing a lot of plasma energy instead of buying nodes in store which you will learned in impossible mode in the first Dead Space will be enough in DS2 you're wrong because they will drain your supply and after you finish the objective you are scared to your bones hoping that there is no more onslaught of necromorphs when you start moving along and the sight of a save point and a store nearby is a big f#ck!ng relief.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 3:58:15 AM

"Knotheads"! Awesome.

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xenris
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 10:14:50 AM

DS2 was infinitely easier for me than DS1 Homura. But lets skip over the difficulty because that isn't what this is about.

DS1, had very little sound, and almost no soundtrack. It created eerie atmosphere by using lightning, and sound effects to achieve this. Deadspace 1 was a much better horror game and was in general more creepy. It felt bigger, and like you were alone on this crazy big infected ship(because you pretty much were)

DS2 they turned Deadspace into a rollercoaster ride much like EA likes to ruin all franchises. They added micheal bay set pieces music, and the scares were generally less creepy and more about trying to overwhelm you with enemies. Which is a cop out and easy to do compared to trying to craft genuine fear and chills.

Deadspace 3 is even more of this from what I have heard, seen and played in the demo. More action, mundane repetitive quests, and if you watch the combat side by side they have sped it up quite a bit compared to the slower combat of DS1.

As for what is wrong with it well everything. EA does this over and over and over again, Dragon age, Mass Effect, Dead Space, Need for speed, and heck even Shank 2.

All the new IPs they get are great because they are developed before EA is involved then EA buys them. Once this happens you can see a trend of the games becoming more action focused, and rollercoaster like.

In my opinion DS3 is doing everything wrong. First they get rid of the survival horror aspects, then they add co op, change the combat, put in microtransactions which is scummy I dont care if hardly anyone uses them that is just garbage, and have 11 or so pieces of day one DLC.

This whole game screams what is wrong with EA as a publisher and the whole problem with the corporate aspects of the industry.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 11:32:22 AM

He's talking about the change from something that looks like survival horror to something that doesn't (largely because of the ramped up action).

It's a mistake to pull apart the bits and pieces of what is in the game to try to define the total especially when dealing with horror. The way I see it is when you add all that action you're playing a zero sum game with the gamer, you can't fill it with that action and still maintain the amount of survival/horror that fans of that genre are drawn to.

I'm only advocating as a fan of the first who saw the second go downhill and the third presumably roll even further. Everything this generation just *becomes* action and we have to swallow it, I love action but I don't like the trend. I don't think it's good.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 12:44:54 PM

Xenris -

I agree with you that DS3, even DS2 has a little different feeling than DS1.

But I gotta say, im playing DS3 co-op and they found a great balance, and actually did a very good job keeping the survival/horror intact. The big difference is its more survival than horror. Id say like 70/30.

Let me explain how they achieved this. Weve been through DS1, and it was a thrill ride, because it was new. DS2 presented a less scary adventure, but from a perspective (Isaacs. Schizo ordeal) to present a new type of fear. In DS3 Isaac is almost immune to the Necromorphs. He doesn't seem to be afraid because he's been there before, twice. What they did was tone down the horror in that perspective but at the same time balanced it well with an emphasis on survival. They did a great job in doing this.

Now thats not to say DS3 isnt scary, because ive jumped a lot, and they are not creating falls fears like they did in DS2 (like baloons popping). There is the occassional little thing that will make you jump to keep your senses up, but nothing like the over abundance that DS2 presented. In fact I feel it returned to the DS1 strategy more so in this regard. There is more music which kind of ruins the quiet, eariness, but its not so much that you cant hear the sounds of the monsters in the vents are screams from the next room that keep you wondering whats going to be around the corner.

Trust me when I say they found a balance and made it work very well. My suggestion is play it because its one of the better games youll play at the end of this generation. And co-op didnt ruin anything it actually adds a lot to the experience in different ways. You still get a sense of fear and feeling vulnerable, a lot. But the big thing is feeling like you cant do it alone which creates a greater sense of urgency and desperation when a partner goes down. They did a goof job, bottom line.

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homura
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 1:42:27 PM

Xenris,

Dead Space 1 is more scary because that's where you first encountered those scare antics. The sound and lighting is still there in Dead Space 2 but because of the setting (It's residential) you will hear some music from the school, some vibrant colors and etc. The difficulty amplifies the scare factor because when you played the first Dead Space you will be familiar on those surprises and scare tactics and somehow you are more comfortable. The scare factor of those eerie atmosphere from the first game will never work again if you are now familiar with it. What Dead Space 2 achieved is that they used your expectation based on the first game and turn it against you to make you uncomfortable when you play the second game, and it can only be achieved if you played it in the hardest difficulty because when you run out of ammo and limping, the scare factor will be amplified even if you are familiar with the lighting and sounds from the first game thus the opening sequence in Dead Space 2 where you are in a strap and low in health running for you're life. But you didn't even finish the second game if I've remembered correctly.

World,

They added some action set pieces but the core is still there. You're just used to the atmosphere so that's why you are not scared so much. They added action set pieces and suddenly for you it's not Dead Space anymore?

Last edited by homura on 2/9/2013 1:53:59 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 3:54:16 PM

It isn't the addition of set pieces that are the problem, it is that the games are now focused on the action driving things forward. It's a whole different engine for the car. Look at what the writer is saying, he's dead on and he wrote the damn thing.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 5:45:02 PM

World-

Without playing it, its hard to understand. When I read the reviews I was really worried about it. After playing it, its Dead Space at its core. This isnt relatabke to the RE fiasco, not even close.

Regarding what Johnston is saying; hes not saying that visceral made a mistake and took out the sirvival/horror element. If you read the interview he's saying that the scope of the game is really larger than what they did with DS, and that includes his writing. The point is he's saying that Visceral created a balance in the game to hit on all aspects of what game can offer.

After playing it for about 4 hours and co-op, I gotta say hes exactly right. The core of Dead Space is there, there are things that make it more exciting, but it doesnt mean they abandoned everything. It really is a lot like DS2, except they dont focus so much on the false fears. You know something is there at this piint in the franchise, you just dont know what to expect and its not little things like baloons popping as in DS2, as ive already mentioned. Its real and the fear exists. They did an amazing job, they found a way to find the balance and its awesome.

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xenris
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 6:55:45 PM

Bigrailer-

I played the demo and really didn't like it that much. I know the full version would probably be better but I will have to pass on this game for a couple reasons, most of which I stated earlier. I just don't want to support this game when they have the microtransactions, day one DLC and emphasis on action.

Bigrailer and Homura-

The game might be scary at some points and they might have found a balance but getting spooked at monsters rushing you isn't the same as having a game build tension on you like it did in DS1.

I mean I got spooked in Dark Souls, and that doesnt mean that I am going to call it a survival horror game, and that is my main beef.

To Homura difficulty can make a game scarier but it is a cop out to make a game scary by making the game hard. Especially now when we have seen how well it can be done like in Amnesia, and Slender.

I'm sure it is a decent game, but I will have to get it used later down the road if I get the urge, otherwise like I said I feel like it is going to be Mass Effect 3 all over again.

Also I'm kind of on a boycott of all things EA, have been since before ME3 let me down :P

I understand all of your points btw. Just stating my stance on the matter :)

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homura
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 7:18:35 PM

World,

You still fight Necromorphs, solve puzzles and be quarantined while fightning necromorphs. They added hallucinations. There are still bloods and dark places. See it still is Dead Space. The difference is the action set pieces that the writer is not a fan off being added. That's why he said the emphasis on BIG action. But what you are forgetting it still Dead Space in it's core and what is the core of Dead Space, fight necromorphs in a low light rooms, hallways, etc.. with blood on the walls and dead bodies and gore. And those action set pieces only last for a few minutes, it's not explosions all the way. There focus is always been the same, fight the necromorphs and survive.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 7:30:40 PM

Xenris-

If you dont want to support the game thats fine. But they dont build tension and fear just by having enemies rush you. The fear is built by your surroundings. See by just playing the demo you're missing a lot. You keep missing that theres a balance on the survival/horror and action. Just like the writer in this article pointed out, they found a great balance. They really did do a good job. I dont think theres any convincing you though. ;)

Btw im enjoying the game and have paid no attention to either the day one dlc or the microtransactions. You're not missing anything by ignoring them. They are completely optional. But I see your point, and im not a fan of this practice either.

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homura
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 8:44:40 PM

bigrailer,

The rush of enemies builds tension. This is how, when you played the first Dead Space, you are now more prepared coming to Dead Space 2. You seems to have an idea of what's coming next, like ooh another necro pretending to be dead, and no matter how dark or eerie the sounds get you seems comfortable because you are now prepared by stocking a lot of ammo, so somehow it did make say to myself bring it on, I have a lot of ammo, then hordes of necromorphs onslought you and then suddenly you find yourself saying "What the f*ck? I have a lot of supplies just then". That's the time you will feel uncomfortable, and the scares brought by those eerie atmosphere and sounds are now amplified. You are now moving along limping and with just a few ammo left in your weapon you are now more scared of what's going to happen next in the other side of the door or what's coming around the freaking corners. The onslaught helps to diminish your comfort of having a lot of ammo.

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xenris
Sunday, February 10, 2013 @ 11:55:56 AM

Bigrailer-

Dont have to convince me :P If I get an urge to play the game and I can get it used I will do it.

I absolutely loved the first deadspace. My only problem is I didn't like the second one nearly as much and in fact I don't think I even finished it.

I just didn't like the direction they took. Now if this is somehow a balance between DS1 and 2 then maybe it would peak my interest. But the action of DS2, the fact that isaac talked a bunch, and the fact it felt like one long corridor were reasons I just didn't dig it.

Also even if you pay no attention to the DLC, and micros they are still there :P And I just dont want them to think that is something I will support.

Which is why I would get it used, unlike someone on this page who refuses to even try a certain game because of a certain DLC fiasco with a game published by the same company, and they take to bashing the game without even trying it first ;)

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CrusaderForever
Friday, February 08, 2013 @ 10:26:27 PM
Reply

Love the game so I cannot complain about it. EV areas are fantastic! I truly hope it sells well. The DLC is a non-factor for me. So far the story is great. Really don't feel like the tension has been muted in SP. Hoping to do some COOP so I can clear the EV COOP Only stage I ran into yesterday.

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homura
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 1:51:35 AM

Crusader,

Is there a lot of ammo in impossible mode?

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CrusaderForever
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 10:03:00 AM

No, not a lot of ammo at all. However you can use Telekinesis to rip spikes from the Necromorphs and then kill them with it. Also you have to upgrade Telekinesis otherwise it just knocks them down at its weakest level.

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trinichinese
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 12:12:22 AM
Reply

i played this game for over 8 hours straight with a friend it's fun i like the coop the game is still scary but let me say playing this alone is not for me lol the game has a shit load of ammo doe a little too much

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bigrailer19
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 3:46:24 AM

There is a more ammo, but not on the harder modes. Its riduculously scarce. And this time no more stores, just the ability to craft items from a bench. So there seems to be more ammo drops in place of being able to just purchase it.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 3:56:22 AM
Reply

I gotta say this is one of the best games this gen. Im having a blast with it. It still absolutely feels like a Dead Space game. There are things that make it feel more action oriented, but they found a perfect balance I believe. The way Johnston speaks of the developers doing a good job of keeping the balance, he's right. Theres times even with a buddy im runnin scared. Its got a strong survival horror vibe to it still. Some of the reviews worried me but im glad Im playing it, super adrenaline rush of a game. Its got it all.

The co-op doesnt really take much away from the scare factor either. Theres times when you have to re-vive a friend and it increases the intensity 100%.
Its something about feeling like you cant get through it alone that makes it crucial to the gameplay. They really did a good job with it.

Dont get me wrong this isnt Dead Space 1, but lets be honest neither was DS2. This one is essentially Dead Space 2 with co-op and a little more flash. But it certainly retains the survival horror feel.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 2/9/2013 3:57:09 AM

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mk ultra
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 6:33:07 PM

Dead Space 1 was one of my favorite games this gen. I thought the second already pulled away from it too far, but i still enjoyed it. If it was up to me Isaac would still be silent.

edit: Don't know why it replied to you. I'm using my PS3 so maybe thats it.

Last edited by mk ultra on 2/9/2013 6:35:34 PM

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JoshBall
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 6:36:52 AM
Reply

Nice to hear a few positive comments from the people from here on it, I will be picking it up as I did enjoy the others. Does anyone know if the co-op is a split screen feature or is it just online?

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___________
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 7:01:26 AM
Reply

about half way through the game now and its boring me to death!
christ, i had SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun with 1 and 2, but this is just so god dam boring!
why must EA destroy absolutely EVERYTHING!?!?!?!?!?
visceral, for the love of god, stop making dead space games and get to work on another dantes inferno title!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, February 09, 2013 @ 11:35:26 AM

Dante's Inferno Right on!

(never thought I'd say that to blank line)

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