Dead Space: the return of a cult game more terrifying than the original

Available on January 27, Dead Space was presented during a brief session in a Parisian hotel, not far from the Paris Games Week. The opportunity for CNEWS to discover, command in hand, this horrible remake and meet its creators.

Dead Space is a cult game for all long-time video game enthusiasts. Released in 2008, the game from the Americans at Visceral Games, imagined by Glen Schofield, was intended to be in a way the Resident Evil of space. A spooky sci-fi game that launched the player into space amidst hordes of crawling, bloodied necromorphs. The success was there but, after three chapters, the series was abandoned… to return better next January in a remake version that we were able to test.

Headphones on, controller in hand, sitting in a dark room, we’re not going to lie, Dead Space is having a bit of an effect. In the corridors of the ISG Ishimura we observe every noise, every movement, weapon in hand. Creatures halfway between the “Gigerian” alien and Romero’s zombie, necromorphs can appear unexpectedly in many places.

“We redid everything completely”

More than 15 years later, the formula still works, while the Canadian developers at Motive Studio have taken care of everything from A to Z. “We absolutely redid everything. The original game served as a model but everything has been completely redone, explains Roman Campos-Oriola (creative director of the game). We start with the basics of the original Dead Space, to ask ourselves how to improve them. Then we reworked everything: the horror, the immersion and the creativity of the game.”

The advantage of waiting 15 years to offer a remake is also that the technology has evolved, making possible things that were initially imagined but were impossible to achieve at the time. Therefore, the spacecraft can be visited without loading time to promote immersion. Which guarantees a more fluid exploration and more conducive to immersion. Without distorting, this technological bonus has allowed the game’s strengths to be developed to better arouse terror.

“Here again, technology has allowed us to make things better. For example, the use of smoke or ground fog. At the time, transparency effects were difficult to achieve. Now we can really handle it. When we discover the “lurkers”, we will see the tentacles, appear and then disappear. And the fog indicates the movements of the “lurker”. This increases anxiety. You know he is there… but not where exactly”, adds Román Campos-Oriola.

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In addition to these technological additions, some elements of the ship have been modified to be more consistent. A new system also allows permanent tension to be maintained in these metallic labyrinths where the danger seems to be constant. Isaac, the hero, progresses deeper and deeper into horror, and flirts with madness.

As such, the masterful sound design is wonderfully nerve-wracking. Here a kind of growl, there a metallic screech… Sound is an essential element of the Dead Space experience, and this remake also takes advantage of the latest innovations in the matter. “As in any horror work, sound is fundamental, explains Roman Campos-Oriola. In 15 years, the sounds of video games have evolved as much as the graphics. It was very interesting to use these new technologies within the framework of this remake.”

The Dead Space experience takes on a whole new dimension with this title planned for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Because in the field of video games, eminently linked to technological development, the remake makes total sense. Ideas that have remained in an embryonic state can thus be fully exploited. Dead Space 2023 will ultimately not be the same experience as 2008. But it will certainly be a sublimated vision of what the original creators had in mind.

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