Dead Space 3 has lived in infamy thanks to some controversial decisions that were made about the game’s core design and story. Story producer Chuck Beaver, speaking with YouTuber CaptainBribo, has revealed that he would like to “almost completely” rewrite the game’s story.
According to Beaver, some of the more controversial parts of Dead Space 3 were developed because: “There’s a return on investment number that has to be hit, so there were some calculated risks that we all made that we thought would do it, and it didn’t work out.”
For context, Dead Space 3 was a major departure from the franchise’s roots. The game included a co-op mode for its main campaign, and also included a new weapon crafting system that was also monetised, allowing players to pay real money to get their hands on more crafting materials to make better weapons.
Beaver goes on to talk about the decision to include co-op in Dead Space 3, owing quite a bit to the relatively low popularity of the survival horror genre at the time of the game’s release back in 2013.
“I mean, that’s almost inarguable at this point,” Beaver replied, “because the cap seems to be around 2 million people who are really wanting to see it,” said Beaver in response to CaptinBribo suggesting that there was a cap on the number of players interested in single-player horror titles at the time.
“The plan was that we would expand into other gameplay genres and stuff, and I think all those bits together not only didn’t generate a new audience, they lost the old audience,” explained Beaver.
“The gun mechanic, the re-crafting, [we] missed a lot of the stuff that everybody loved about the old one, and then created a whole bunch of exploration space – we were on a big wide open planet because of that. And all these decisions had lots of follow-on. And then co-op – the hits just kept coming – it was like ‘what? Co-op?’”
Beaver goes on to talk about Dead Space 3 essentially losing its identity because it no longer became clear what the game was shaping up to be. Since it included co-op and a more open space for exploration compared to its predecessors, Beaver likens it more to a game like the Uncharted series, complete with big set pieces, puzzles, and a more adventurous feeling.
“We weren’t allowed to make a horror game from the beginning so [creative director] Ben [Wanat] and I were like, well, what are we making?” says Beaver. “If you look at it, it’s a beautiful Drake’s Uncharted game, an adventure with puzzles and set pieces.”
Beaver believes that the best way to tackle Dead Space 3 again would be to just start completely from scratch and tap into the ending of Dead Space 2 to tell the story of protagonist Isaac Clarke losing his mind, and the consequences of him being broken.
“I would just start from complete scratch and I would make this […] about the end of Dead Space 2,” he explained. “He’s broken, and now this is the adventure of Isaac in Dead Space 3 – broken Isaac. he tried to do the thing, tried to do the truth, it broke him, and now we’re in the consequences of him being broken.
“And I would make it like a Tyler Durden thing, an unreliable narrator where you’re like ‘what happened?’ and the player maybe doesn’t even know, Isaac certainly doesn’t know.”