The gameplay remake of the new Dead Space takes an 8-minute tour of Ishimura

The gameplay remake of the new Dead Space takes an 8-minute tour of Ishimura

The gameplay remake of the new Dead Space takes an 8-minute tour of Ishimura

EA Motive has been unusually vocal during the development of its Dead Space remake, with the studio hosting various live streams to show off the likes of improved art, sound and gameplay changes – but now, with the game’s January 27th launch ever closer, we’ve had the clearest look yet at how all those elements will come together, thanks to a new eight-minute gameplay walkthrough.

Hot on their heels last week’s 2-minute game trailerEA celebrated Dead Space’s 14th anniversary today with an extended sequence from the remake’s third chapter, in which protagonist Isaac must investigate the infected USG Ishimura in order to reach the ship’s engineering deck and repair its engines.

The sequence began in Ishimura’s Hanger – an area now much larger than it was in the original (a side-by-side comparison made the differences abundantly clear) – with players now able to zero-g their way around the area. Some of the remake’s environmental changes were made to improve the atmosphere, while others were needed to accommodate the fact that the Ishimura is now one seamless, interconnected ship, with players no longer having to rely on trams to get around.

Dead Space – Extended Game Guide.

This transition to a vast, interconnected space that can be crossed and recrossed presented EA Motive with an interesting challenge – namely how to authentically fill a space that didn’t exist in the original game – and the solution is called the Intensity Director. Now, if players retreat or choose to explore far from the objective, they could encounter a “completely different experience” dynamically generated from varying degrees of system events.

These moments are built from elements – including enemies, ambience and lighting – based on an intensity curve designed to maintain tension and keep players on edge. So, for example, after a dynamically generated fight, a director of intensity might decide to create quieter, more tense moments, with players suddenly discovering that a previously visited corridor is now full of flashing lights and eerie sounds – all with the aim of ensuring that things remain “unpredictable and brings additional tension and challenge”. The director can even mix things up and scare into a seemingly safe area.

Further in the guide, EA Motive showed off a sequence where Isaac must navigate the ship’s machine shop to reach a refueling station. Here we get an example of scripted intimidation, where the necromorph falls from above. Many of these aspects will be familiar to those who played the original game – EA calls them “memorable moments authentic to the original” – although changes have been made to enhance encounters, including “tons of graphical enhancements that support strategic dismemberment”.

At this point, EA Motive’s guide jumped forward again, this time to a sequence where Issac must find a way to enter the fuel management office and access the power functions that control the fueling station. Here, EA notes that one of its goals with the remake was to add more context to the objectives and “expand what was there and add a little more detail and depth,” and we get an example of this once in the fuel management office.

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To progress, players must direct electricity to a refueling station, but this requires them to choose which system will make it impossible for them to do so, changing as the sequence unfolds. Lower life support, for example, and players will have to rely on oxygen canisters until they reach a refueling station. Alternatively, they can disable the lights – as you see in the guide – forcing them to progress in the dark.

EA Motive’s next stop is the Ishimura decontamination room, where the studio demonstrated how it uses “new technology” to “raise the tension.” Specifically, dynamic smoke is deployed here to create a claustrophobic, “thick, opaque atmosphere” that makes it harder to see lurkers, even when they’re inches away from the player.

Then finally we’re in the spinner, where EA talks about the new effects it’s using – including particle effects, lighting and floating debris – to create a more “impressive” location that’s also “awesome [and able to] tell the story at the same time”. Additionally, the expanded zero-g space has an impact on gameplay, with EA noting that it’s now harder to track incoming necromorphs, requiring more spatial awareness.

All of that is shown in the eight-minute tutorial above, but the full 14th anniversary of the live broadcast talked a little more after that. In general, there were few details, but it did reveal that EA created more diverse looks for the slashers – to make them feel more like the individuals of Ishimura’s crew – and discussed Isaac’s newfound voice in a bit more detail.

While the goal with the latest addition was, EA said, to flesh out Isaac as a character and give him a bit more agency, the studio once again stressed that he won’t be babbling throughout the experience. Instead, in order to maintain tension while investigating the Ishimura, Isaac will (barring one or two instances) only speak when spoken to – basically, at times when it might feel weird if he showed no emotion or had no reaction .

All in all, it was another extremely promising look at EA’s Dead Space remake, and it won’t be long before all of its secrets are revealed – what with the game launching for PC, Xbox Series X/S and PS5 on January 27 next year.

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