Dead Space Remake Devs Discuss Recreating the Story and Remaining Faithful to the Original

"The bones of the story are very close, but what you do and who you interact with may have different context," says senior writer Jo Berry.

Posted By | On 12th, Jan. 2023

dead space

We’ve heard a lot about the changes the upcoming Dead Space remake is making on both storytelling and gameplay fronts, with developer Motive Studio promising an experience that will remain faithful to the main beats of the original while also being enhanced, improved, and more fleshed out. Ahead of its imminent launch, the developer has now also published its final “Inside Dead Spaceblog, where it talks about its story, how it remains faithful to the original, and how it has improved and evolved.

“All the departments approached it with the same philosophy,” says lead level designer Catherine Stewart. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For the most part, it was all about leaving alone the beats that made the game so great, and improving the ones that were problematic, where we thought we could do better. Walking that line was often difficult, but I think we struck a really good balance.”

As has been previously confirmed, Dead Space will also be bringing in additional narrative elements from the sequels and the comics. According to creative director Roman Campos-Oriola, those adjustments now make for a story that has “better continuity with the broader universe.” Meanwhile, as previously confirmed, the remake also features several new side quests that will not only flesh out side characters and their stories, but also give screentime to others who only appeared in the original in audio logs, like Jacob Temple and Elizabeth Cross.

“It was important to give them more background, depth, and motivation so the personal connections feel more meaningful,” says realization director Joel MacMillan. “So there are some very compelling threads the players can follow through these new side quests.”

“And the side quests also allow us to look at the ship’s descent into chaos a little bit more, kind of going backward and investigating that,” adds Stewart.

“The bones of the story are very close, but what you do and who you interact with may have different context,” says senior writer Jo Berry. “A lot of the changes live in the characters, and they ripple through the story. It’s sort of like going on your favorite road trip again, but this time with some interesting detours. And the people you’re with are old friends, but they may have a little more to say.”

Another significant change being made in the remake is that unlike the original Dead Space, protagonist Isaac Clarke is now a fully voiced protagonist, and will be a much more active participant in the story. As revealed in the recent launch trailer, he also has a new face that’s modeled after Gunner Wright, the actor who portrays him.

“He’s now a bit more involved in events and solving problems,” says Campos-Oriola. “He’s part of the conversation. And that gives more depth to the character; it gives him more agency.”

“We wanted to show him thinking through the problem, and ‘engineering’ a solution,” adds MacMillan. “Plus, with all the drama playing out around Isaac, to not respond or acknowledge that leaves him feeling a bit disconnected from reality.”

Stewart, however, assures that in spite of Isaac having a much bigger role to play in the story and how it’s told, he still isn’t going to have “too much of a voice”, to ensure that players still feel connected to him. “But we didn’t want the player to feel like what they’re feeling and what Isaac is feeling are disconnected. So it was really important that we didn’t give him too much of a voice.”

Dead Space launches on January 27 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.


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