After a ten year-long hiatus, Dead Space is back from the dead, and it’s safe to say that it has re-entered the stage in convincing fashion. EA and Motive Studio’s remake is an excellent game, one that reminds us why everyone fell in love with the survival horror franchise when it first debuted 15 years ago, and at the same time, why it is perfectly poised to make a bigger impact now than it ever has. The survival horror genre is in the best shape of its life, publishers like EA are no longer reluctant to greenlight AAA linear single player games, and with Motive Studio, the company has a developer that clearly understands what makes Dead Space tick, and is capable of enabling the franchise to blossom in delightfully grisly ways.
With that in mind, what does the future hold for the series? Sure, the Dead Space remake is only just a few days old at this point, but it’s not surprising that long-suffering fans and freshly turned enthusiasts are already eager to find out where EA is going to take Dead Space from here. And assuming that the game is successful enough from a commercial point of view (which its critical reception suggests it has a very good chance of being), there’s a couple of directions that EA could take the series in.
Obviously, the company could always greenlight a remake for Dead Space 2. That seems like a very likely scenario for multiple reasons. Even a cursory glance at Dead Space and the context surrounding the recently-released remake makes it abundantly clear that EA has borrowed heavily from how Capcom has approached Resident Evil over the last few years, to the extent that it would be fair to assume that if not for Resident Evil 2’s critical and commercial success upon its launch in 2019, it’s highly likely that EA would never have greenlit a Dead Space remake. And if EA does see encouraging signs in the game’s critical and commercial performance, it wouldn’t be a leap to imagine that it would want to replicate that success with another similar project, much like Capcom has done with Resident Evil remakes.
It’s also undeniable that a Dead Space 2 remake would be a very safe project for EA and Motive Studio to take up- or at least as safe as a major AAA production can be in this day and age. Since its launch in 2011, the game has been widely regarded as one of the best survival horror games ever made (much like its predecessor), and unlike its sequel, it holds a special place in the hearts of series fans- which is to say there’s no shortage of people who would love to see Motive Studio building upon it and enhancing it as it has done with the original Dead Space. A faithful remake that builds upon an already incredible foundation is always going to have high chances of succeeding on all fronts, and EA is obviously going to be very aware of that fact- it has very recent evidence of that, after all.
But as exciting as it would be to see a Dead Space 2 remake, there’s surely going to be a sizeable contingent of series fans who would rather see a completely new instalment. It’s been a decade since we last got a new mainline Dead Space game, and given the way Dead Space 3 ended, it goes without saying that series fans have been desperate to see the story to move forward for quite some time. A new instalment with a new setting and a new story would indeed be something that would be very hard to say no to, and now that Motive Studio has the experience of developing a Dead Space game, perhaps the studio might feel it is better positioned to deliver something completely new in the franchise rather than going back to its greatest hits.
Regardless of which of the two EA decides to greenlight next, there will, of course, be some interesting questions that it will need to give some thought to. For instance, if a Dead Space 4 is something that it does want to move ahead with, how will it tackle the story? Dead Space 3 was not only not a massive seller, it’s also a decade old at this point (and will, of course, be even older by the time the next game comes out). With that in mind, would EA be more inclined to develop a sequel that’s more of a soft reboot? One that is set in the same continuity, perhaps, but doesn’t have too many overt links to the original trilogy- similar to, say, 2018’s God of War. Or would a completely new protagonist be a better choice?
On the other hand, if a Dead Space 2 remake is the next project for the series, will Motive Studio approach it the same way it approached Dead Space and deliver a largely faithful experiences that makes additive changes rather than drastic ones? Or, now that the studio has made itself at home with the franchise and got to better grips with it, will it be inclined to take more risks and do something that’s more similar to what Capcom has done with its recent Resident Evil remakes?
And if a Dead Space 2 remake does get made, will Dead Space 3 be next? Many might argue that out of the original trilogy, that’s probably the game that’s always been more in need of a remake than the other two. Perhaps Motive Studio could take its larger story beats and shelve everything else in an attempt to reimagine Dead Space 3 as a proper survival horror game? That’s surely something a lot of series fans would be more than a little interested in seeing- not least because it would also provide an excellent platform for a full-fledged sequel.
Regardless of what EA and Motive Studio decide to do, it does seem like the future is going to be bright for Dead Space. It’s still early days for the remake, of course, which means we don’t yet have a good sense of how it will perform from a commercial viewpoint, and whether that performance will be enough to warrant a sequel in EA’s eyes, but given the popularity of the survival horror genre and the incredibly positive reception that Dead Space has enjoyed, it seems safe to assume that it’s going to do rather well.
Interestingly enough, it looks like there are already signs of what the future might hold for Dead Space. A new easter egg discovered in the remake’s New Game Plus mode seems to be pointing to a Dead Space 2 remake being next up, while recently, the remake’s developers also said that they are interested in exploring the franchise further, and already have ideas for how to do that, with discussions planned within EA about the series’ future.
Of course, Motive is also busy with a single player action-adventure Iron Man game, so it remains to be seen whether it will be taking on any other projects in the immediate future. Hopefully, however, it won’t be too long before we get some idea of where Dead Space will be headed from this point forward.
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