Zombie horror games are ten a penny in the video game world. There have been literally hundreds made over the years, with the “Resident Evil” and “Silent Hill” series being arguably the most successful of them. For many gamers, though, the scariest zombie horror game of all time was 2008’s “Dead Space.” From horrific mutated space monsters to a creepy child singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” right on the edge of your hearing, it’s the kind of game that gives you nightmares and lives long in the memory after you’ve finished playing.
EA struck gold when they made the first “Dead Space” and did well with its sequel, but the third game in the series was a letdown and effectively killed the franchise. For the best part of a decade, it looked like they never intended to go back to it, but it retained a devoted following on the internet. The official “Dead Space” Reddit is still busy, and people still play the first two games regularly even though the consoles they were built for are considered obsolete. Now, after years of rumours that went nowhere, the game is finally making a comeback. At the recent EA Play live showcase, the company showed off a brief, tantalising trailer for its next-gen remake of the 2008 original.
The news of the remake has delighted long-standing fans, and gamers in general should be excited about the prospect of playing an all-new version of this much-loved classic. The shortness of the trailer suggests that the game is in an early stage of development, but all the hallmarks of “Dead Space” are there. We heard the same terrifying music that chilled us to the bone all those years ago, and we saw brief glimpses of a necromorph, central character Isaac Clarke, and the haunting message “cut off their limbs” written on a wall in splattered blood. That was all it took to send the internet into a frenzy.
We can’t confirm anything about gameplay at this early stage, but we do know that EA is using the Frostbite engine to build the game. We also know that it’s going to be a next-gen exclusive. In bad news for anybody still clinging to their PS4 or Xbox One, no version will be created for the old formats. It sounds as if EA intends to push the latest hardware to its limits, which is promising news from a spectacle point of view. Owners of gaming PCs will also be able to get their hands on the game when it’s eventually released, which probably won’t be for some time. A game of this size takes a lot of development, so we may have to temper our excitement for a while. We don’t think we’re likely to see the game before the second half of 2022 at the earliest, although we’d love to be proved wrong about that.
Another thing we’re happy to be able to tell you is that the game won’t contain any microtransactions or loot boxes. Game mechanics of that kind have been under scrutiny recently because of their similarity to online slots. Just as you have no guarantee of success when you play slots online regardless of how much you spend on doing so, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get anything worthwhile when you spend money on a loot box in a video game. The controversy stems from the fact that it’s illegal for anybody under the age of eighteen to play online slots, whereas children can play video games and may spend large sums of money irresponsibly. The inclusion of loot boxes can also sometimes make it difficult for video game developers to release games in territories where online slots websites are restricted or outlawed. So long as EA sticks to their guns on this, playing the new version of “Dead Space” shouldn’t cost you any more than the purchase price.
While the game is a remake rather than a continuation of the story, it’s still possible that EA will include some new content to provide surprises for those who remember the original. It may even be necessary for them to do so to justify charging an AAA price for the game. Although there were very few criticisms levelled at the first game, the one that was repeated most often was the idea that the game was too short. Considering the way that video games have developed over the past decade, players have come to expect much longer stories. “Dead Space” would need at least fifty per cent more content to match the latest version of “Resident Evil,” as an example.
Some of our readers might have been aware of the remake long before the press found out. When announcing the game, EA also confirmed that the company has quietly reached out to fans of the original to provide them with feedback on the development process. They seem especially keen to ensure that the remake stays true to the factors that made the original so great and that nothing is lost as new features and layers of next-gen paint are added. We’ve been promised improvements to characters, gameplay, and the story as a whole. From the sound of this, the remake might be akin to Capcom’s remake of “Resident Evil 2,” which added to the plot of the original version extensively. That game was hailed as a triumph. If the reviews for the new “Dead Space” are as good, EA will be very happy.
There’s even more good news for “Dead Space” fans because this isn’t the only “Dead Space” related game in development. Glen Schofield, who co-developed the first game, isn’t involved in the remake. Instead, he’s working on a game called “The Callisto Protocol,” which he describes as a “spiritual successor” to “Dead Space.” That game is further along in development, is also a next-gen-only release, and is expected to land in early 2022. Schofield has promised to give us “the scariest video game ever,” so he’s given himself a difficult task to achieve.
When you eventually get to play one or both of these games, bear this advice in mind; in space, nobody can hear you scream, but your neighbours might if you shriek in horror at the jump scares!