After months of speculation about a potential revival of Dead Space, EA has finally made an official announcement. A full remake of the original game, Dead Space – just Dead Space and not Dead Space Remastered or Dead Space Resurrected or anything like that – will introduce and welcome new players and devoted fans to the Isaac Clarke’s harrowing journey into the USG Ishimura.
A teaser showed us the familiar halls of the derelict ‘Planet Cracker,’ a single necromorph emerging from the dark and of course, engineer Isaac Clarke rising up from his workbench as he fires up his RIG suit. According to the press release, the remake will be “staying true to the original,” while making “improvements to gameplay.” You know typical remake PR stuff.
Here’s everything we know about Dead Space including the trailer, what the remake is about, the release date, and a few more.
What is Dead Space?
Dead Space is a third person survival horror series that started with the original Dead Space, released in 2008 for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3. It starred engineer Isaac Clarke, who is part of a repair and refit crew sent to get the USG Ishimura up and running again. On the Ishimura, Clarke encounters the Necromorphs, mutated monsters made from the infected corpses of its crew.
The critical and commercial success of Dead Space led to two sequels, a mobile game, two spin-offs and a nascent media franchise that saw two animated films and several comics and novels before the franchise suddenly went on ice. There are conflicted feelings about Dead Space 3, but for the most part the franchise was warmly received and fondly remembered.
What is the Dead Space remake?
The Dead Space remake is a reimagining of the original game for next-gen consoles and is being developed by Motive Studios. This is the Montreal-based studio that developed 2020’s Star Wars: Squadrons and provided development support for Star Wars: Battlefront II. Motive was founded in 2015 by Jade Raymond, the veteran producer behind Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs.
The original Dead Space games were developed by Visceral Games, the Redwood based studio that developed several Tiger Woods PGA Tour games before creating the series and later developed Battlefield Hardline and Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel. The studio was famously shut down while developing a Star Wars project under the codename ‘Project Ragtag’
Philippe Ducharme, who serves as senior producer on the remake said that the team is looking to modernize the game. “The Dead Space franchise made a huge impact on the survival horror genre when it was released 12 years ago, and I came to Motive as a fan first to specifically work on this game,” said Ducharme.
The Dead Space remake is being developed on the Frostbite engine, the same tech used to build Star Wars: Squadrons and will be powering the upcoming Battlefield 2042. When combined with a focus on the new generation of console hardware, this means much higher quality visuals to render Dead Space’s distinctive Event Horizon meets Resident Evil outerspace slaughterhouse aesthetic.
What’s going to be different in the Dead Space remake?
As a remake, this is a complete rebuilding of the game from the ground up. “In terms of visuals, sound, gameplay, everything, we are rebuilding all of these assets,” said creative director Roman Campos Oriola. “We are not porting them, it’s not uprezzing the texture or adding more polygons to the model. It’s really rebuilding all these elements, shooting all the animations, et cetera.”
“The foundation is the Dead Space 1 story,” Campos Oriola said in an interview with IGN. “So, by default, that’s what is canon. But then there are some improvements that we want to make to that story […] because of what came after.” The implication from Campos Oriola being that they would like to bake in references to future lore in the remake.
Campos Oriola also hints at the possibility of using “the original level design” by talking about how “technical constraints” and other reasons changed those designs. “What’s funny is that you can see some of the iterations that were made prior to ship by the team. In the first chapter, you can see some corridors that they wanted to do first in a certain way.”
Other changes being entertained are the possible addition of mechanics from later installments such as the zero gravity mechanics of Dead Space 2 that allowed for freer traversal than in the first Dead Space. Motive is also looking into improving features of the game’s signature diagetic interface — that is to say the RIG suit that displays health and holographic menus — and deeper dismemberment options.
Accessibility is also being explored. “Something that is also really important for us that was not there 12 years ago… is all those options or different ways to play the game if you need it,” said Campos Oriola. “All those elements of accessibility will [be] important […] in terms of opening the Dead Space experience to a broader set of people.”
Will the Dead Space remake have microtransactions?
Motive has confirmed that there will not be any microtransactions in the game. While this might seem like a strange question to ask about a single-player survival horror series, franchise devotees remember well the controversial inclusion of microtransactions in Dead Space 3. Phillip Ducharme told IGN while they’re exploring the possibility of adding new things into the remake, microtransactions are a no.
“We’re looking at what can be taken and reinjected into the first game from a future standpoint. We’re also learning from mistakes such as microtransactions, which we will not have, for instance, in our game,” Ducharme said.
Will the Dead Space remake feature multiplayer?
For now, there’s no reason to expect multiplayer or co-op functionality in the Dead Space remake. There’s no confirmation of this yet, but considering that Motive is trying to be about as faithful as possible, any multiplayer or co-op features would be a surprise.
That being said, Dead Space 3 did feature co-op, so there is precedent for it and as such, is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. It would simply require a fundamental rethinking of the original Dead Space experience.
Which platforms will we see the Dead Space remake on?
The Dead Space remake is being developed exclusively for the latest generation of console hardware. That means it will be coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC and PlayStation 5. It’s not a given, but we’re expecting the usual assortment of features on Xbox Series consoles such as Quick Resume, super fast loading via the Velocity Architecture and possibly support for ray tracing on quality mode settings.
When is Dead Space remake release date?
Right now no release date has been given for the Dead Space remake, not even a release year. Officially, “development is still early” so a 2021 release is incredibly unlikely. A 2022 release date is possible but we’ll have to wait until EA and Motive give us a clearer picture of when the game can be expected.