Motive Studio’s Dead Space is now available on Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC, and the response has been pretty good. It currently has a Metascore of 89 from 65 critic reviews, and of the over 10,000 user reviews on Steam, 90 percent are positive. Upon its release, it charted in Steam’s Weekly Global Top Sellers list for the week ending January 29th, ranking in multiple top ten positions (which Forspoken failed to do).
Though debut physical sales in the UK haven’t exactly been amazing, averaging less than half of The Callisto Protocol’s at launch, it still topped the charts. We’ll have to wait for more data and see if the higher price helped offset lower physical sales.
Thankfully, it seems that Motive is already interested in what’s next. Dead Space producer Phil Ducharme told GQ it hopes to discuss the franchise’s future with Electronic Arts. There’s interest in “exploring Dead Space more,” with Ducharme stating that there are “ideas, for sure.” But for now, the team is fixing technical issues and then going on vacation before sitting down with the publisher. With the remake garnering praise for both expanding on what made Dead Space great while retaining the core and being amazing in its own right, the future looks bright.
But where does the franchise, which was on ice after the failure of Dead Space 3, go from here? To discuss that, we need to look at how the remake ends and how this could factor into the future, if not a potential remake of Dead Space 2. Spoilers ahead, so be warned.
For those who played the original 2008 sci-fi survival horror, the canon ending is pretty similar but has some neat twists. In the remake, protagonist Isaac Clarke speaks to horticulturist Elizabeth Cross. She tells him of the Leviathan and how to weaken it before setting off to find her boyfriend, Jacob Temple. In the original game, the two never speak directly, and though Cross reunited with Temple, the two would be captured and eventually killed by antagonist Challus Mercer.
The remake does things slightly differently. Kendra Daniels, who arrived with Isaac as part of the Kellion’s crew, works for Earth Government and knows all about the Marker on Aegis VII. It was set up on the planet hundreds of years ago to serve as an experiment, and now the government wants it brought back to Earth. Isaac and Nicole take it to Aegis VII, which is on the verge of destruction.
They encounter Kendra, who attempts to take the Marker. She then reveals that Nicole, as in the original, is dead. However, it turns out that Isaac was imagining Cross as Nicole, while Cross had been seeing Isaac as Temple due to the Marker’s hallucinations. Cross is shot by Kendra, but before the latter can transport the Marker to Earth, she’s killed by the Necromorph Hive Mind. Isaac battles the monstrosity and defeats it before escaping the planet. Aegis VII is destroyed, taking the Marker with it as Isaac flies off to safety in space.
While stopping short from viewing Nicole’s final message again, Isaac looks to his right and sees her sitting next to him. She then quickly attacks as the screen cuts to black, just like in the original. As Dead Space 2 would reveal, this was a hallucination caused by Isaac’s exposure to the Marker.
New Game Plus becomes available in the remake, and players will discover new logs in the Ishimura, including a discussion between two characters about the ship’s decommissioning (before the Necromorph outbreak, of course). There’s talk about seeking new jobs, and the Sprawl on Titan Station comes up. This is the setting for Dead Space 2, and while it could simply be Motive inserting a clever secret to tie both games together, it’s a clever way to tease the sequel’s remake if it ever happens.
Once again, however, a remake of Dead Space 2 isn’t confirmed. Besides, that’s not the only new story-related content in the Dead Space remake. Throughout the story, the player discovers various Marker Fragments, some in plain sight and others are more carefully hidden. Collecting all 12 and entering New Game Plus lets you place them in Captain Mathius’s room in the Executive Quarters on the Crew Deck. Upon activating, the lights go out, and the pieces light up, humming with a strange energy.
When finishing a New Game Plus playthrough, players experience a different ending. Instead of Nicole suddenly being next to Isaac and attacking him, the two enjoy a pleasant conversation about seeing Ishimura in its prime. Nicole asks if they’re “going home”, and how there’s “so much work to do.” Isaac responds that they will soon, but he has to “build a little something first,” and it’s a surprise that he thinks Nicole will like. The ship’s interior is covered in Marker writings, indicating that Isaac has completely given himself over to it.
From a canon standpoint, this is an alternate ending and can’t directly connect to the sequel as we know it. Isaac’s dementia led to director Hans Tiedeman using the data in mind to recreate the Marker on the Sprawl. Memory blockers were used to prevent the data from permanently damaging Isaac’s mind and causing him to lose his sense of time. He’s still plagued with hallucinations, this time much more vivid, of Nicole as the Marker attempts to complete Convergence.
However, in this alternate ending, Isaac is lucid and at peace with Nicole. The implication of building something seems to indicate that he’ll recreate the Marker himself, and then he’ll go home, potentially to spread its influence on Earth. It would have dark consequences for humanity’s future and significantly alter the timeline.
It’s possible that the Marker Fragments and makeshift shrine in Mathius’s room were a failsafe created by the Aegis VII Marker. Should it fail to “go home,” it would distil the data into the mind of a single individual, who would then carry it forward.
Let’s say, for a moment, that Motive decides to completely upend the story of Dead Space 2 when remaking it. Isaac has to escape confinement on the Sprawl and destroy the recreated Marker created using data in his mind. Memory blockers prevent him from knowing how he got there or what he was doing till that point.
However, the big twist would be that Isaac himself worked with the Sprawl to recreate the Marker and that he’s directly responsible for the outbreak on the station.
This could lead to two outcomes. One could see him having second thoughts and trying to halt Convergence, battling his hallucinations of Nicole. The other sees him giving in and spreading the Necromorphs to Earth, perhaps the entire Solar System.
It would be an incredible set-up for a Dead Space 3 remake, which would be a far more drastic remake and completely undo the original’s events. It certainly seems more likely than, say, creating a spin-off based on the alternate ending that doesn’t connect to Dead Space 2 in any way.
Of course, Motive could also create other games in the Dead Space universe that don’t star Isaac. The potential is there. It could also simply greenlight Dead Space 4 and build on the universe in new ways, having it take place several years later with a new protagonist and setting. The potential is limitless unless Electronic Arts isn’t impressed with the remake’s sales and does nothing with the franchise for several years again.
Regardless, it’s nice to bask in the fact that Dead Space is back, even if Motive focuses only on Marvel’s Iron Man for who knows how long. Whether the alternate ending is just a fun little bit or a sign of things to come, Isaac Clarke lives on.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.