It’s almost here. Can you hear it? The scratches on the walls? The howls and screeches of the undead are echoing throughout the USG Ishimura. The tram is waiting for your repairs. The crew is hungry for your return. The Dead Space Remake is just around the bloody corner.
After years of waiting, Isaac Clarke, Hammond, Kendra and Chen along with the rescue crew from the Kellion are back. With upgraded graphics, a few returning voices, and increased amounts of the terror that made the original Dead Space so memorable, the remake is on track to be a hellva ride. Let’s break open this Necromorph and dig through everything we know about the Dead Space Remake.
A new type of horror
Dead Space bursts onto the survival horror scene in 2008, not too long after Resident Evil 4 came out and gave the franchise a new lease on life. While RE4 was held as something of a masterpiece, it didn’t quite transform the bounds of what survival horror could be. It did, however, inspire Glen Schofield’s imagination. Described repeatedly as “Resident Evil in Space,” Schofield pitched a game with zombie like creatures in a sci-fi space environment. He also drew inspiration from the Aliens franchise and The Thing. The result transformed the landscape of survival horror and still is seen in games like SIGNALIS, which we reviewed last year.
Dank atmospheres, echoing sounds, splashes of blood and gore, and that feeling we never knew what was around the corner, gave gamers a feeling of paranoia that lasted even after we turned it off. A silent protagonist added to the way the game played with our senses, giving a new meaning to “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
Speaking his mind
But Dead Space wasn’t just a run and gun type horror game where survival was all there is. It was rich with lore and mystery. The history behind the story had centuries of manipulations and mistakes made. It hinted at an evil governmental agency, and a deranged religious cult. Things call “Markers” loomed in the background, glowing with an ominous light. And for some reason, they were coveted by both factions.
Into the middle of all this, Isaac Clarke stumbled upon the literal bloody mess, searching for his girlfriend Nicole, a doctor on the Ishimura. Unbeknownst to him, he was already connected to the Markers and the Unitology cult. For most of the game, he thinks he is simply an engineer, sent there by EarthGov to help fix whatever problems took the Ishimura offline. If only things were that simple.
Without going into spoiler territory, what he and his crew find on the Ishimura is only the beginning of a world unraveling conspiracy that reaches far into the past and will have definite repercussions into the future.
Developer EA Motive really has their work cut out for them with the Dead Space Remake. One apparent change from the original is that Isaac Clarke now has had some upgrades. Fully voiced, by returning voice actor Gunner Wright, who voiced Clarke in Dead Space 2 and 3, the engineer will have more agency over how his story goes. Unlike the silent, stoic, take orders Clarke of the OG, this time, he’ll take part in the conversations, allowing him to take charge of situations as the story unfolds.
Additionally, Clarke will have other ways to interact with his environment. His flow through zero gravity areas will be more fluid. As an engineer, he will now have the ability to manipulate certain aspect of the machineries that litter the crumbling mining ship, including the lights, fan blades and more.
It can hear you now
The story itself is more fleshed out. Characters that previously were called only by their position now have names, adding to the immersion and connection we will feel to the crew. Sections of the ship where life changing events were once only observed behind glass will now have a fuller part of the story, placing Clarke front and center as not just an observer, but in some cases, an active participant. One such scene involved the “dead” corpse of the captain. Check out the video in our gallery to catch a glimpse of this hair-raising scene.
The writers of the script also took into consideration that there will be returning player to Dead Space. So, events will not unfold exactly as we remember them. Part of this is due to Motive’s Frost Engine’s builtin UI. Originally, the Ishimura was broken up into several floors and levels. This time, the ship is created to be one continuous area, enabling the player to move the full length of it, and go back again.
Because of this continuing shot, and the addition of a more mobility within the ship, the developers created an Intensity Director. More than just an AI spawner, the Intensity Director keeps an eye on where players are at in their mission directive. Much like Left4Dead’s AI system, it analyzed what you have been doing, where you are at in your experience and, if things have been calm for too long, will trigger events to give you a fright. This could be something as simple as flickering lights and slamming doors, or a full-on encounter with a necromorph. Therefore, in a way, the Intensity Director will ensure that players never have the same experience twice.
While the 2008 game has graphical limitations, it was still considered stellar by that generation of console’s standards. The details put into Isaac’s gear, the atmosphere of broken Ishimura and the wretched state of the necromorphs were outstanding. The jump scares and gore kept gamers on their toes.
The Dead Space Remake keeps all of that intact, while dialing it up to 11. Building from the ground up, Clarke’s suit is a beautiful blend of the first game’s basic design, and a steampunk style with gears, bolts and stretched soft leather. The details in his suit look to be so well crafted that the fabric looks almost touchable. His weapons, too, have had a rework in style, while still holding the nostalgia of the first game.
Dialing up the gore
Because of the technological advances made in the 15 years since it was first release, players of the Dead Space Remake will experience the space horror like never before. The developers went back to the bare bones of what really defines true survival horror, bring the atmospheric elements to a new height. Fog rolls around Clarke in some areas, so thick that shadows are distorted, and enemies may be lost in sight. The sounds echo deeper, causing confusion.
All of this sounds amazing, right? But what we’re really here for is the visceral gore that shocked the players of the first game in 2008. The necromorphs of then were terrifying, especially if you had seen Dead Space: Downfall, the animated movie prequel. They had unusually long limbs with knife-like ends, hanging jowls, exposed entrails and howls that still send shivers down my spine. And who can forget the baby necromorphs screeches and cries, along with their grotesque faces.
So, with the Frost Engine handling an extreme number of fine details, the development team has decided to take full advantage of its capabilities. Now, not only do the nercomorphs look even more terrifying, but their design has “peeling” animations. Meaning that when Clarke takes them out, they will explode in bone, sinew, bloody tissue and brain matter. Paint those halls red, before they do. It also means that Clarke’s own death scenes look even more spectacularly visceral. If I had to guess, the Dead Space Remake isn’t a dinner game.
Will the remake create an opportunity for a relaunch of the series? We’ll have to see. For now, we’re counting down the days until we can dive back into the original mysteries of Dead Space and the Ishimura.
Dead Space Remake launches into a bloodbath on January 27, 2023. It’s available for pre-order from the following platforms:
Limited Run Games also has Collector Edition physical copies for the Xbox X, PS5 and PC. ($279.99USD)
DEAD SPACE COLLECTOR’S EDITION INCLUDES:
- Physical copy of Dead Space Standard Edition for Xbox
- Digital Deluxe content includes 5 exclusive cosmetics (3 unique suits and 2 suit textures)*
- Unique Suits: Infested, Lone Survivor, and Venture
- Suit Textures: Sanctified and Bloody
- Dead Space Collector’s Edition Box
- Isaac Helmet (Full-size wearable helmet with working lights)
- Dead Space CD Soundtrack
- Lithograph Print
- Foil Stamped Lithograph Folio
- Four Mini Posters
- Ishimura Patch
- Marker Enamel Pin
- Metal 4″ Marker Statue
- Dead Space SteelBook
*All orders will include a separate code for the Digital Deluxe content which unlocks 5 exclusive cosmetics including the following suits: Infested, Lone Survivor, and Venture suits. It also will unlock Sanctified and Bloody textures.
As always, we will update with any last-minute announcements. Newcomer to the series and curious about the history before Dead Space 1? We’ll cover that next week. And if you want to know what we thought of the previous trilogy, check out our retro reviews here!