Dead Space Remake Developers Talk About How They Improved Upon the Survival Horror Classic

From technological boosts to improvements with atmosphere to the new Intensity Director, the upcoming remake is looking like a significant upgrade.

Posted By | On 20th, Dec. 2022

dead space remake

Dead Space was an absolute revelation when it launched in 2008, and is still widely considered as one of the greatest survival horror games ever made, so it’s no surprise that expectations from its upcoming remake are monumentally high. From changes to storytelling to new side quests to gameplay improvements and more, Motive Studio’s remake is looking to step things up in a number of areas, and in a recent video uploaded by IGN, various members of the development team have spoken more on that front.

Specifically, the developers discuss the several steps that the remake takes to improve upon the original and help it flourish even better. One of the biggest boosts that Motive Studio has had for that purpose is the much better technology it has at its disposal than Visceral did for the original’s development.

“We have more tricks and tools, so we were able to go back to the original inspirations of Dead Space like The Thing, Alien, Event Horizon, these types of movies, and look for elements in those movies, that either were tried and did not succeed that much in the original because of technological constraints, or were not even tried because we could not do that. Today, now we can,” says Campos-Oriola. “But if you think about the original Alien, when they enter that big room with all the eggs hidden in the fog, the fog is more than ambience. Well, now [in the Dead Space remake] we have real dynamic and physical fog. So yeah, we could hide creatures in them. You could actually lose an enemy inside the fog.”

That, of course, means the remake promises to be a much more atmospheric experience than the 2008 original. According to the developers, in fact, making key improvements in that area was always a goal from the outset.

“I think for me, the most important thing is the atmosphere,” says art director Mike Yazijian. “So we wanted to come back to that horror. What’s the thing that’s the scariest in a horror movie is the sense of lighting, light and dark, the play between the two. When you play the game now, it’s darker. So as the player is moving through the environment, the enemies are moving, you can see that play of light and dark.”

Meanwhile, the developers also talk about the restructured USG Ishimura, which, in the remake, is a single, seamless map rather than being divided into multiple broken up sections. Of course, to make exploration feel constantly tense and ensure that players don’t ever get too comfortable, Motive Studio also came up with the new Intensity Director, which is looking like one of the remake’s most promising new features.

“if you’ve got this one ship, then you’ve sort of created another problem, where you need to fill it, because there’s a lot of going back [due to] the way the mission structure is built,” says technical director David Robillard. “So how do you fill those empty moments? How do you fill that ‘dead space’, if you will? Well, we created this Intensity Director, which is more than just an AI spawner. It creates moments for you to freak out, and that’s the whole point of it. And it follows you through an intended intensity curve that the level designers place in the levels, and modulates it based on where you’re at within your mission briefs.”

“It’s got sound bites, it’s got animations, it’s got environmental triggers,” he adds. “So you’ll have a fan that’ll start up, you’ll have creaking from the ship, you’ll have lights flickering, you’ll have lights turning off, you’ll have psychosis events happening. It’s everything. Everything that happens in the script can happen with the Intensity Director, and that’s how we manage to make sure that the lines are blurred and you’re never really sure what is scripted and what isn’t.”

Check out the video below for more details and new glimpses of gameplay footage.

Dead Space launches on January 27 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. The game recently went gold.


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