It was only yesterday that we received the official word about EA planning to release a new game in the Dead Space series by April of next year. Of course, this only acts as confirmation for long-held expectations and really opens the floodgates for speculation to begin. It had previously been rumoured that the primary setting of the third game in the series would be a desolate, icy planet, a drastic change from the dark, claustrophobic corridors that made up the USG Ishimura and Sprawl Space Station, and the latest unnamed source corroborates this, as well as throwing out a whole lot of other ideas that add up to a colossal shake-up to the core formula.
What will likely come as the largest shock to fans of the series is the purported inclusion drop-in, drop-out campaign co-operative play. Considering that the previous games have had players delving into the splintered mind of Isaac Clarke, with ancillary characters playing very minor roles, it naturally seems that this will detract from the strength of the plot. However, if the information given about the way this is being handled is true, then this may not necessarily be the case. One of the examples cited is a scene in which Isaac clambers from a twisted wreckage. In single player, he does this alone, while a second character accompanies him when playing co-op. The report further mentions that certain experiences will not play out in co-op, meaning that single-player will very likely remain as important as it ever has been.
This is an interesting inclusion, given the psychological horror elements of the series, but the way that it is detailed means that it shouldn’t take anything away from this aspect when played alone. This isn’t the only change though, as gameplay alterations come in the form of being now able to crouch and combat roll. Both of these seem designed to make combat more fluid, which may be a double-edged sword. The more empowered a player is the less likely they are to feel afraid of what they have to face, lessening the horror, but it also improves the gameplay experience for action gamers, widening the appeal of the game. It’s hard to know my feelings on this. In addition to this you are now able to rotate items when using the Telekinesis module, which plays into the puzzles that the game will include.
Along with these new abilities comes changes to the weapons, and the upgrade system of them. While no explanation is given on the latter, it does mention that customisable weapon loadouts are a possibility. What is made clear is that the standard Plasma Cutter weapon no longer features the angle change as its secondary firing mode. This has been replaced by the ability to blast enemies backwards, an effect previously attributed to a different weapon. Similarly, the Pulse Rifle now fires saw blades as its secondary fire, again replacing its original with that of another weapon. Peculiar indeed, but this may be possible via the customisation already mentioned, rather than being permanent changes.
A couple of new Necromorph enemies have been mentioned, including a taller version of the ‘Pack’ from Dead Space 2 (undead toddlers that swarmed with quick attacks)(probably very reminiscent to the Grims from the Resistance series, among other staple enemies) and a set of legs with tentacles growing where the torso should be. Clearly, the fear of biology will again influence some of the designs. The report further mentions mechanical enemies, a recurring spider-like foe and bosses the size of skyscrapers. Seems like things are being scaled up. This time around you’ll also be facing off against humans, carrying guns and grenades, for the first time in series history. This possibility was alluded to in the closing chapters of Dead Space 2, but was never realised and so makes sense as a logical continuation of events from there.
If even half of this is true, I must confess to being worried. Not because I think that it will come across as a poor, rushed effort, but because they all seem to add up to an experience that is more action-focussed than the series has been in the past, and I’ve always considered it to feature too much action for the horror to really take hold. My gut tells me that this is the wrong approach to uphold any sense of purity. How about you? What do you think about these possibilities?
Source – IGN