Dead Space Remake Alpha Gameplay Revealed
Remakes aren’t something that many fans are into. It’s been a constant in the film industry, with other filmmakers remade classic titles multiple times. The same can be said for the gaming industry as well. Capcom has been on a reboot spree over the past few years, remaking Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 and taking the first two games in the series and turning them into films. Classic series like Tomb Raider has been rebooted, and even massive titles like Call of Duty started rebooting their titles as well, with 2019’s reboot of Modern Warfare. However, it seems that Dead Space is up next in the remake factory, but the team remaking them has some promise.
EA Motive is the developer behind the Dead Space remake. While they’ve previously been known for their work on Star Wars Squadrons, it seems that they’re taking this classic title very seriously. So seriously, they’re showing off early alpha gameplay footage to ensure that fans are giving feedback for the game as it’s being made.
The Dead Space Livestream
The Twitch livestream started around 1 p.m. EST and was 40 minutes of Motive talking about the game with two popular Dead Space fans. During the conversation, a lot of information about the game and the goals that Motive has set for the remake proves to be something more than just EA trying to cash in on the popularity of the series. However, the conversation is very productive.
Honoring the Legacy and Community Development
The stream begins with Philippe Ducharme, senior project producer, and Roman Campos-Oriola, creative director. Both of these men talk briefly about the overall goals for the Dead Space remake. They mentioned that the reason behind the livestream is to make sure that the game they’re making is exciting, citing their experience on Star Wars Squadrons. It was built off the team’s experiences with the X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter franchise. They wanted to put those same experiences in the game for players. This same philosophy also follows true for Dead Space. They aim to honor the legacy and the source material by showing off the game at almost every stage of development. This allows players to follow the progress and for the community to help drive development for the game.
If Motive is doing something that players don’t like, they can change it before it’s too late. This is to help the original game’s experience, using more modern technology the previous game could have used and injecting it into the first game without worrying about ruining the title’s legacy. Motive also mentions that the game is an immersive title. They want to keep players hooked for long periods. With the Dead Space remake, they’re planning to make an unbroken experience from start to finish, without loading screens. To ensure that this is going to happen, the game will be pushed to its limits and will only be available on PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Using Legacy Assets as a Base
After introducing everyone and explaining the goals of the remake, viewers got an inside look into how environments and assets are used to stay true to the game. The section shown from the game is the “headbanger hallway.” This is a section in Chapter 2 of Dead Space, where Isaac encounters a single survivor, who bangs his head on the wall until Isaac comes close, which causes the survivor to die on the spot after one hearty whack against the wall.
This hallway was shown in an unfinished state. Motive mentioned that the beginning of making assets comes with looking into the Legacy assets from the original game first, with their goal to recreate the original Ishimura from the first title. Next, the team would start adding more fidelity to the level of detail in the hallways from the original game. This would, in turn, make for a more faithful remake of the game’s environments. Shaders would then be added to add to the metallic look and keep the gritty look Motive is looking for. Lighting is also important, being that Dead Space is a horror title. Motive is using the frostbite engine and is planning to keep the game a next-gen only experience.
Motive also showed off a small playable section of the game. While it’s still in very early development, players got a look at Isaac and his outfit. This new version of the Level 2 RIG shows that Motive is still aiming to keep the spirit of Isaac’s classic armor, but they include more to the game to make Isaac feel more equipped in his environment.
The stream continued with the reveal that the game will enhance one of the key aspects of combat for Dead Space. Now, the game will still have Isaac shooting the limbs off of any necromorphs he’s running into, but this will be enhanced with the inclusion of the “peeling” mechanic. Shown inside of Motive’s “dismemberment gym,” this test level was used to show off the new mechanics in the game. Making the game more visceral, Motive has shown that using weapons like the Pulse Rifle will have a different effect on the necromorphs. Since the Pulse Rifle isn’t a “carving weapon” like the original plasma cutter, shooting a necromorph with the pulse rifle will cause the enemy’s flesh to peel away, revealing the skeleton underneath. This works on all sides of the necromorph and shows the amount of damage done when being shot at. Shooting a necromorph once with the plasma cutter will reveal the bone underneath its skin. Shooting it again will dismember it.
Motive mentioned that the game would require more precision in the game’s combat loop, which means that Isaac will have to aim his shots carefully. As demonstrated by Motive, shooting two parts of the leg isn’t going to dismember it, but shooting the same part of the leg twice will dismember it instead. In the game, they’ve also shown that Isaac can use Kinesis against the necromorphs, using their removed limbs to fire back at them. The focus with the peeling mechanic was mentioned with the Brute enemy, the miniboss Isaac fights on the ship’s main deck.
This enemy has a weak spot on his back. The original game took a few shots at the weak point to take the monster down. However, in the new game, this peeling mechanic is going to be used to show how close Isaac is to finish the monster off, peeling the skin away with his weapons to focus on the weak point, rather than shooting it in the back. Later in the game, a feature will also have limbs dangle if enough flesh is still attached, which is where more of the Kinesis module will be used in the game.
Another improvement for the game is that the Zero-G rooms will be more in line with Dead Space 2 and 3. The player had to navigate the Zero-G room with the original game by jumping from wall to wall. However, in the Dead Space remake, Isaac can fly around rather than jumping from place to place. This is a welcome improvement from the original, as the second and third entries into the Dead Space series had fixed the Zero-G sections with the original that many disliked.
They also showed the Zero-G therapy room in the stream, which included the reveal that with the inclusion of Isaac’s thrusters, some sections had to be changed to accommodate the new changes made to the remake of the title. One of these things not mentioned in the stream but seen in the gameplay footage was security levels. In the original game, some doors had to be opened with power nodes. These items were also used to upgrade. Now, it seems that some pathways will be locked by security levels that Isaac will have to gain clearance for. This could open some more in backtracking into the game, seeing that there are only a few places Isaac goes back to in the original title, while it was optional to go to doors Isaac hasn’t opened yet to use the power nodes. However, with the introduction of security codes, finding the clearance for the doors would force the player to move forward without opening them.
Questions From the Community
The last part of the stream was dedicated to community questions. While it’s very apparent that the streamers included in the show are following a script, some of the frequently asked questions were addressed regarding the Dead Space remake. For one, microtransactions were brought up when discussing the game, seeing that they were almost intrusive in Dead Space 3’s campaign. Motive responded by saying that the Dead Space remake isn’t going to contain microtransactions at all.
Another question from the group was the story. What is going to change now that Motive is in charge? For now, Motive stated that the game would keep the story’s foundation, seeing that Isaac was the centerpiece of the title. However, the things that will be changed in the story are going to be the game’s connections to the broader Dead Space universe. This is something that was mentioned previously. Seeing that Dead Space is the first game in the series, the books, the animated films, the comics, and the sequels came after it. Motive’s goal with the story is to insert the remake inside the canon made from all the extra reading and viewing materials, which are all canon to the story. This will enrich the experience for players, as well as enhancing characters like Kendra and Hammond. Another thing mentioned by Motive is that the game will focus more on Isaac’s search for Nicole. However, since players who beat the original know about her demise, aside from actively looking for Nicole, they will learn what happened to her during the outbreak. This fleshing out of the characters and telling more of what happened before the arrival of Isaac will make the original title more cohesive in the long run.
Another question posed by the community was the possibility of Isaac being voiced in the game. If he’s going to have a voice, will Gunner Wright come back to reprise his role as Isaac in the game? This question was answered by Gunner himself, as he appeared on the stream to confirm he’s coming back as Isaac. Now, this is something that Motive considered, if they were going to remake the first game, Isaac was mute in the game, with his thoughts being written inside the descriptions for main missions. However, this changed in Dead Space 2, with Isaac now speaking all the time in that title and Isaac speaking throughout Dead Space 3. Now, with the new game, the prospect of giving Isaac a voice for the game has been considered. Motive has decided that they’re going to include a voice for Isaac in the game.
Although Isaac didn’t speak during the original title, some rules had to be applied to the remake to ensure that Immersion was kept for players who want Isaac to not speak in the game. There are two rules implemented for Isaac’s dialogue in the game. Isaac will only speak when spoken to, as he sometimes speaks in a situation where it would feel weird if he remained silent.
In any other situation where Isaac shouldn’t speak, he will remain silent. This is the perfect balance for the game and shows that Isaac is still someone inside the suit while keeping the scary moments. Motive mentioned that the game is about isolation, the feeling of being alone on the ship is paramount to the horror of the original title, and with Isaac speaking only in the cutscenes with other people, it makes for a perfect balance of the Isaac from the second game and the first title.
Motive also mentioned that since Isaac was the rescue team’s engineer, having him part of the conversations about his specialty, he will be the one to consult. With all this information in mind, this seems like the game will be something more than just a remake of a previous title. Still, an improved version of the first title dealt with care and love from people who love the game and want to see the series continue onwards outside of the original trilogy.