Even though it's only been out for a short time, the Prey reboot from Arkane Studios is already generating quite a bit of buzz. And while it's not a full-fledged horror game in the traditional sense, the game has been earning praise for its horror elements. From the excitement over Prey's sci-fi horror trappings, it's clear that there is a market hungry for that type of game, leading us to draw the conclusion that now is the time for a new Dead Space.
While survival-horror games seemed to fade from the spotlight last generation, there were a couple of horror franchises that thrived and kept the genre alive, Dead Space being one of them. Dead Space's brand of sci-fi horror proved popular enough to spawn a franchise consisting of sequels, spinoffs, tie-in novels, animated movies, and more, but the series has been dormant since 2013.
There hasn't been a new Dead Space game since Dead Space 3 launched for last-generation consoles over four years ago. That's no surprise, as Dead Space 3 had the lowest reviews and sales for the main series of games, mainly thanks to a focus on action over horror. The poor reception to Dead Space 3 saw Visceral abandon the franchise to work on Battlefield Hardline and a mysterious Star Wars game with Amy Hennig instead.
Some fans may still have a bitter taste in their mouth from Dead Space 3, but it's not too late to return the franchise to its glory days. Dead Space 3's ending still left some threads that sequels could pick up, but we think it would be best for the series to abandon the story it's been telling so far. The plot became more convoluted with each new entry, and besides the focus on action over horror, one of the other main criticisms levied against Dead Space 3 was its weaker plot compared to the first two games.
Considering this, it may be best to reboot the franchise and start from the beginning. This way Visceral could ignore some of the poorly received plot developments of the third game and start fresh. Alternatively, if Visceral doesn't want to erase Isaac Clarke's established history, it could introduce a new protagonist to the franchise dealing with Necromorphs or some new alien threat elsewhere in the universe.
Visceral could look to Resident Evil 7 for inspiration on how to do a soft reboot of Dead Space. Resident Evil 7 served as a relatively successful soft reboot for the Resident Evil series, returning the franchise to its horror roots while providing a unique gameplay experience at the same time. A new Dead Space game could mimic this model, though it may be best for it to stick to its guns and not make any dramatic changes to the formula, like switching to a first-person view.
First-person worked for Resident Evil, but that doesn't mean it would work for Dead Space. Not only that, but Resident Evil 7, while a critical success that sold well, still failed to meet sales expectations set by Capcom, which could be attributed to its switch to a first-person view. Plus, now that the Resident Evil series is first-person, Dead Space is in a unique position to be one of the only games of its kind on the market.
A new Dead Space could retain the style of gameplay that made the series popular in the first place, but add impressive new features and graphics by taking advantage of modern hardware. And with even more powerful consoles like Project Scorpio right around the corner, a new Dead Space could be truly impressive from a visual standpoint. After all, not only could it utilize the horsepower of new consoles, it could also use DICE's Frostbite 3 engine for even more impressive graphics.
With more powerful consoles and technology at Visceral's disposal, a new Dead Space game that embraces the franchise's horror roots could take the series to new heights. But regardless of what form a new Dead Space game takes, it's clear from the buzz around Prey that there is an appetite for a full-fledged sci-fi horror game. While Visceral's plate is a bit full at the moment, here's hoping that the studio is keeping Dead Space fans in mind when it thinks about its future projects.
What would you like to see from a new Dead Space game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!