Electronic Arts has found themselves at an crossroads with Dead Space 3.
After the game was unveiled at E3 – EA announced an all new co-op mode and cover system, and premiered an action-packed trailer – a few of its longtime fans launched vociferous attacks at the company, uttering accusations that Dead Space 3 was phasing out horror, softening up and selling out with co-op. (One reader even referred to the game as a “Gears of War clone”.)
Now, though, new comments from the EA Games marketing department reveal the company arriving at a different conclusion during the outset of the game’s development.
EA found that Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2 did, in fact, carry a spine-tingling tenor. They also believed, however, that Dead Space 3 could add a co-op mode for those who find solace (or more entertainment) in a helping hand – all while maintaining its macabre motif.
EA Games’ marketing boss Laura Miele told MCV that the insight was sparked during market research:
“We were doing research coming out of Dead Space 1 and 2 and we’re really proud of those products. We received feedback to understand how we can take the game out to even more consumers.
“We were hearing feedback that they love the thriller game, but it was pretty scary, and the obvious next step was that they wanted to play with someone. So we introduced co-op into the game.”
Initially, an easy misinterpretation of Miele’s comments is that she (and, therefore, EA) possess a notion of Dead Space 1 and 2 being “too scary.” That its brand of survival horror – sitting alone in a darkened, screen-lit room, Issac Clarke and his visceral encounters unfolding by your trembling hands – is simply too much for the general public. EA finally admitted it, submitting to the criticism and conjecture.
“The horror of Dead Space is still all there. It’s still true to its roots and no less scary, but people felt far more comfortable playing it with someone else than they did doing it on their own.
“Personally, I would rather go to scary movie with my husband rather than sit at home with the lights out watching one on my own. We’re looking for that to reach out to consumers that perhaps were not open to Dead Space 1 and 2.”
It’s reassuring to hear Miele address Dead Space’s “roots” in conjunction with co-op, the one feature seemingly the most capable of uprooting the finely-crafted elements in Dead Space 2. Despite EA and developer Visceral Games’ full knowledge of the spirit of Dead Space – what it means to fans and the genre of survival horror – worries regarding Dead Space 3’s direction are certainly founded with the drastic changes set to take place. Whether or not horror and the new touches of action tropes can co-exist remains to be seen, but it’s clear those working on the game have made it their vision.
For anyone still seeking a greater understanding of where Dead Space might be headed, EA released 20 minutes of Dead Space 3 gameplay footage (which provides a healthy mix of singleplayer action – still a fully-supported mode) and even more details from producer John Calhoun this June.
Ranters, do you think Dead Space 3 can provide as many thrills and shrills as previous iterations – even amid co-op and its newly designed gameplay? Are EA’s main intentions with co-op as Meile asserts, or are they more in line with EA Labels President Frank Gibeau’s sentiments about sales and marketability?
Dead Space 3 releases in February of 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
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