EA Doesn’t Want to ‘P*ss Off Fans’ With ‘Dead Space 3′ Co-op

Jun 15, 2012 by  

Dead Space 3 EA Coop Fans
Gamers have witnessed some genuinely terrifying moments over the years between Visceral Games’ Dead Space and Dead Space 2. We’d be more than happy to go in-depth, flesh a few out, but we also want to preserve the metaphorical eyeballs of anyone who hasn’t yet stepped behind the metallic mask of Isaac Clarke.

Because of its deep horror roots, however, it wouldn’t be wrong for fans of the series to expect something equally M-rated in Dead Space 3. Announced this month at E3 2012, the game crash-lands Engineer Clarke on the planet Tau Volantis, where he finally hopes to discover an antidote to the Necromorph scourge. The Dead Space 3 trailer, showing off some of Visceral’s early gameplay and cinematics, doesn’t appear any less, well, visceral, but with details on a brand-new co-op mode accompanying last week’s unveiling, the question has apparently been raised.

Frank Gibeau, president of EA Labels, the publishing arm of Electronic Arts in charge of Dead Space 3, gave a recent interview to CVG where he touched on the design changes being implemented to the third-person shooter. He states that while, yes, co-op was added to lend more accessibility to the game, it still fits within EA’s goal to continuously evolve Issac’s story while keeping Dead Space grounded as a horror pillar:

“What we’ve tried to do with each installment is tell a different story about Isaac but at the same time bring in new features and ways to turn the game into a more connected experience.

“… so we embraced [the co-op] idea and we tried to open up the accessibility of the IP a little bit by adding a little bit more action, but not undermining the horror. We can’t not be a horror game because that’s what Dead Space is.”

Gibeau didn’t express whether or not co-op might appear as a concession in the eyes of those who view Dead Space as defined by certain brand of horror – the isolating, alone-in-the-dark variety – but he’s convinced that the new direction of the series won’t alienate its original fan base. Doing so would be bad business:

“…we definitely do not want to piss off our fans by taking it too far from horror.

“We’re very self aware of that – we listen to the fans and we hear them. We’re going to be releasing more assets over the coming months that show you how deep the horror is. It’s definitely not getting away from gore or horror, but at the same time it’s opening up to a larger audience by adding some elements.”

The bottom line, says Gibeau, is the profit line; it all comes down to giving the publisher a reason to invest in the game:

“…ultimately you need to get to audience sizes of around five million to really continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space.

“Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them.”

It’s hard to say whether or not gamers will be put off or encouraged by Gibeau’s sentiments. It’s clear that Visceral and EA know how Dead Space is perceived – and that its success is inexorably tied to that perception – yet we don’t have to look far for examples of co-op sending fright off into the night.

Dead Space 3 Coop Gameplay Trailer

Take Resident Evil 5: occasionally an AI-buddy adventure but traditionally an offline, solo horror experience, the Resident Evil franchise was dramatically changed when RE 5 added a similar drop-in/drop-out online co-op format. The game was overwhelmingly received as an action-oriented deviation from the series’ bedrock, and it’s a crossroads Capcom now finds themselves facing with the stylistic approach of Resident Evil 6.

The development process is still young for Dead Space 3, however, and so we’re hoping the best of both worlds – more customers, more exposure in the public eye without a crisis of identity – is still within reach. One encouraging example Gibeau did cite was Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The 3D Alien-prequel-in-spirit stacked itself with A-list talent (Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, and Idris Elba), was marketed intensely by 20th Century Fox through social networks and mainstream media outlets, and still received reviews like that from our own Ben Kendrick hailing its horrifying subject matter.

Ranters, where do you think the addition – and emphasizing of co-op will place Dead Space 3 as a true horror experience? Should companies draw a line between accessibility- and sales-searching, and keeping their franchises geared towards their core fans? If so, where?

Dead Space 3 releases in February of 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

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Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: CVG

25 Comments

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  1. EA doesn’t want to piss off fans: Says the most dreaded words on a videogame franchise “we want to broaden the audience.”

    • Can’t always be bad.

    • As a publisher they HAVE to broaden the franchise. Dead Space sells well, but not as well as say Resent Evil games, and of course they want to get to that level. Plus, no one wants to play the same game over and over again, so they have to take new risks and try new things with the gameplay. I’ve honestly gotta say that they’ve got some balls with the co-op move, knowing how it could destroy the franchise for some.

      • “no one wants to play the same game over and over again” Call of Duty would like to have a word with you…

        • And everyone bitches and moans about lack of innovation, then when a series tries to evolve and innovate everybody is up in arms

          I hate the gaming community sometimes.

          • @mike

            I absolutely agree, people do find a way to complain about everything. HOWEVER, if what they are complaining about this development is true, that it’s becoming more like Gears of War, then I understand, because that’s not innovation at all. Gears of War has some of the most lame and overused gameplay mechanics ever. I could never understand why people like it except that it holds your hands through the entire game and that people are just too lazy and dumb now-a-days to have it any other way…

          • A new game in a series shouldn’t completely change the formula, that’s what new games are for. Dragon Age: Origins was a success so what did they do? Made Dragon Age 2 which is so disappointing that retailers wont even take an ultimate edition (according to BioWare). Call of Duty doesn’t change hardly anything from game to game, Modern Warfare 3 made one billion dollars in sixteen days.

            You want innovation and evolution go indie. There has been far more innovation from the indie companies in the last two years than from the big’ems in the last ten.

          • Sure and I bet you think Splinter Cell Blacklist is innovative. A series isn’t the point where you say “Hey you know what, lets add something to it because we can!” And how exactly is adding co-op going to make a game sell more? If you want something new, go play another game. Dead space has been about being alone, in the dark, with scary as hell monsters. If you want innovation, how bout adding more to the element. Try chaning the enemy, the location (which I will give them credit on that), or at least with combat. You can change the game, they made it, they just shouldn’t be surprised when people are pissed.

    • Nothing but lies, ea pisses off everyone, they now add cover system and universal ammo.

      fuuuuuuuuu

  2. RE5 didn’t do too bad, however, it was no where near horrifying. co-op is fun but should be adjusted to higher difficulty automatically. More enemy’s and powerful enemy’s. Dead Space imo has became the best and my favorite horror game. It was RE2. I hope DS3 doesn’t lose it’s touch with co-op.

    • See that’s the thing, they change and people get mad. They stay the same and people say its stale. Gamers will complain no matter what, the trick is to find a way to get the best of both worlds. Plus, it’s not even as black and white as I iust made it sound, there are TONS of gray areas. Some games get flak for everything they do, others get a pass. Example: Call of Duty annual release, Battlefield/Medal of Honor too. BF/MOH is the equivalent to CODs Modern Warfare/Black Ops, EA was smart, different names and few people notice.

      Sorry, the end was a bit off topic.

    • crap! Reply to wrong comment again! This was for That_Coop_Kid lol

  3. It looks like Visceral is at least trying to save the Dead Space experience while giving EA what they want by making the co-op have a significant effect on how the game plays and on the cinematics. But I’m still worried. The cover-based shooting of regular human enemies with guns just seems so out of step with the franchise. Isaac is an engineer, not a soldier. He may have gotten pretty good at killing necromorphs, but he has always avoided direct confrontation with other humans.

    Dead Space 2 certainly upped the action, but I thought it retained enough of what made the first game great. It just looks like they might be pushing things a little bit too far with the third game. Dead Space has always been more suspense/thriller than outright horror (i.e. more of an Aliens than an Alien), but they really do need to be careful about how much of the unsettling atmosphere and sense of vulnerability and isolation they remove. The dark spaces, claustrophobia, jump scares, and overall shock value are essential to the Dead Space experience.

  4. I for one can’t take another “horror” game treading in “action” footsteps. Nevertheless, I dont think Dead Space is heading in that direction. The biggest change in DS2 was that Isaac had a voice, and it was very welcomed. I trust in the development team.

    • I trust Visceral. I think they’re awesome. I just don’t trust EA.

      • You & Me both CrowMagnumMan.

  5. DS3 will be awesome. The thing that stands out to me is co-op is OPTIONAL, so I don’t see the big deal. For me, as a fan, it’s like having the best of both worlds. I can enjoy the game solo (and get that alone survival horror feel), I also can play through with a buddy who loves DS as well and fight through the terror together. People are making it seem that co-op is the only way your able to play this game and it’s not the case at all. Then again, “fans” flipped out when they announced DS2 and it turned out awesome so i shouldn’t be surprised.

  6. With all the freakouts I’m surprised I didn’t see more offensive comments left on this. I don’t really see the problem with adding a co-op feature. Think of DS3 co-op this way: You’re on a rollercoaster with your friend and you happen to be only ones to be riding. To boot you chose to sit in the front car, you will still get the same suspense and thrill as you would if you went alone or with a giant group of people. So stop freaking out and just wait till everyones favorite rollercoaster ride arrives and judge for yourself then.

  7. I am hopeful that this will be a great Dead Space experience but, as I have said in other threads about this – this has a high probability of disappointing.

    Cover? What good is cover against monsters that pop out all around you and don’t shoot guns?

    How does Co-Op not completely obliterate the suspense?

    These questions alone give me pause about DS3 – but who knows, Visceral could surprise and cover & Co-Op could be amazing…but I sense the heavy hand of EA at work here and as a Mass Effect fan also, I don’t like it…

    • Yeah, I know the feeling with the Mass Effect, that’s what I’m mostly worried about…

    • I’m as worried as anyone, but I’ll take a break from my worrying for a moment and try to look at the bright side of all this. The co-op is optional, and playing single player doesn’t result in an AI partner tagging along with you everywhere. It’s almost like Visceral realized that in order to please both EA and its fans, they needed to make two different games in one. True, those shooting and cover portions are probably going to be in single-player as well as co-op, but I’ve read that the taking cover ability is only available during those portions of the game (you can still roll, though).

      I still think that they shouldn’t have put in any of this at all, but I’m hoping that the bulk of the game is more horror-oriented. I can understand why they’d want to show off the cover-based shooting portions first, even if they only represent a tiny slice of the campaign, because that’s what will get them bigger sales. But they really did run the risk of scaring away their core fanbase. Hopefully they’ll release more footage in the next few months that showcases the regular single-player, survival horror experience.

      I’m not too worried about fighting gigantic bosses. After all, there were at least a couple of those in the first Dead Space game (one of which took place in broad daylight), and I actually thought that there wasn’t enough of that in the second game (at least of the super gigantic type). However, those types of encounters need to be pretty rare, and they still need to maintain that sense of horror somehow, as the first two games did. I’m not sure how to accomplish that, but they made it work in the first two games. So hopefully they will here as well.

      I do agree with everyone that I’m not seeing enough darkness and fear in this Dead Space 3 footage. Probably the best piece of footage that I’ve seen so far is the first part of that demo they showed recently, where we get to see Isaac in single-player mode. They really do need to replace that reticle with the laser sight, and they need to fix the plasma cutter so it actually rotates, and this universal ammo thing is still ridiculous, but overall, that portion of the gameplay felt like “Dead Space”. It wasn’t very dark, but I liked how the blizzard conditions were used to replicate the poor visibility of a dark room. That’s something they really need to capitalize on for this game, if we’re getting more outdoor stuff.

  8. Where was this “we definitely do not want to piss off our fans” attitude when they released DA2? Or the ending to ME3? Or could this be a slim (very very slim) hope that EA has learned their lesson? Hey it’s free to hope.

  9. They will be to busy being dissapointed by isaac’s new ability to do somersaults

  10. Honestly, I immerse myself too much into games I enjoy and after playing through Dead Space 1, I didn’t want to play the 2nd one. Not because it’s a bad game but right now is not a good time to play through a game where I’ll have to be reminded of the concept of a lost loved one…

    Just FYI, no I didn’t have a girlfriend die on me, before some of you interpret what I said that way, lol.

  11. it happened to RE it seems Dead Space is going the same route..more action :(

    I really hope I am wrong,cause I dont like it !

    The new RS6 looks bad…only Leons Missions seem like the good old Games that I prefer !
    Now looking at Dead Space..it seems to go the action route as well,and thats not a good thing ! I want my creepy dark and lonely corridors..alone :)

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