Video Games

Dead Space: Creating (and Recreating) Isaac’s Suit – IGN First

Isaac Clarke stands out in the lineup of survival horror characters. Dead Space’s protagonist is not your usual Joe trying to outrun zombies, but a space engineer ready to survive the harshest conditions. You can see that in his now-iconic spacesuit, which received a dirty upgrade for the upcoming Dead Space remake.

The original suit was designed by Chiwai Rao, a concept artist who worked at EA with Dead Space creator Glenn Schofield in the early 2000s. “[To begin with] My suit designs were all over the place,” says Rao. [carried] huge sword. They were very different from the Dead Space suits we know today. “

As Rao refined the concept, he found inspiration in pop culture, especially the beloved Japanese mecha anime. “One of the rare candidates that inspired me the most in the initial stages of designing the suit was his design for the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, specifically Eva’s spine and entry his plug,” he reveals. to “It was a prominent functional and visible element of Eva’s design, which in the early stages led to the implementation of a very prominent spine and some kind of life support system on the back of the suit. However, the idea of ​​placing a HUD on Isaac’s back was quickly picked up by the team, and Spine has since undergone dramatic changes to implement that HUD.

The final design for Rao’s suit came together when he ventured into repeating sci-fi motifs that he traditionally found very boring. Kind of like exhaust vents that are often used to fill blank spaces in a design. “But if I [used] Something like a visual language for the suit, with this ‘boring’ repetition as a motif?” he asked himself. “Does it work well with the theme? It might convey an interesting clunky look, something I usually don’t like.

The rib motif has become an aesthetic that resonates with the rest of the game.

“So as I [did] more sketches, i [started] “The idea is to implement this ‘rib’ design into the suit, which has long, thick horizontal armor strips rather than traditional armor plates,” he says. Added more space between [organically] in some sketches more than in others [turning] Bringing the iconic Dead Space suit to its current form as we know it. “

That rib design soon became an important part of not just Isaac’s suit, but the game as a whole. It may have worked on the exterior of the Ishimura, the ship where 1 was carried out,” says Lao. “The rib motif has become an aesthetic that resonates with the rest of the game. [could] Apply it to create our version of the gloomy Gothic architectural environment in space. “

A concept sketch of Isaac’s suit in the Dead Space remake.Credit: EA/Motivation

The Industrial Gothic aesthetic has since become iconic, and one of the biggest challenges facing the Dead Space remake team was upgrading that look for 2023. His Director of Art at EA Motive, Mike Yazijian, said: “And so we did. Early on we did some sketches exploring a completely different version of Isaac. It seemed sci-fi all the way through. But it wasn’t right.It felt too futuristic.It felt like Isaac turned into a robot.He has a lot of glowing lights and things and I don’t know what it is. I felt it wasn’t right.”

“There’s a lot written about bones and amputations in characters. Basically, there’s something inside that shouldn’t be allowed out,” says Roman Campos-Oriola, creative director of Dead Space remakes. explains. “What’s really strong in Dead Space is the body horror theme. […] I’m looking at those bones or something, it shouldn’t be outside. So there are metal plates that look like ribs and all those elements.Don’t just match the world view […] Also to reinforce the horror theme of Dead Space. “

From a distance it looks like the same suit, but up close it looks more realistic.

“Like everything else in the game, we want to make sure we honor the legacy of Dead Space,” says Yazijian. “We want it to feel exactly like the original game, but of course with enhancements we want to add. So after those first passes [of the suit] We said, ‘No, no, we need to go back and check the original design. We want to make sure the silhouette is the same as the original.

The final design stays true to the look of the original ribbed brass diving suit, but with an increased level of detail. The aim was to sell the suit as genuine, functional equipment. How do we do that?” recalls Yazijian. “So we started from scratch. We were like, ‘Okay, the helmet looks cool. It’s very iconic, but let’s model the whole thing. Let’s add some padding to make Isaac feel comfortable, that’s the way we think it’s going to be very reliable, and if you have to wear that suit, you’re going to want it. what are you going to do?”

To ensure reliability, the team reviewed materials available to engineers in the Dead Space universe. “What is it made of?” Campos Oriola asked himself. “For example, a good insight from my work as a director is that [Dead Space is set in] A universe where resources get stuck. That’s why you have to go to space to mine the giant planet, because there is nothing left on Earth. Such a society must be really, really rare. So you have to make sure it’s not his leather. “

While most of the design remained faithful to the original Laotian suit, some changes were necessary. “The original version felt very simple, but we went back to that design and actually gave him a proper boot with more articulation in his feet, shins, etc.”

“We added a little light in the heel to indicate that the mag boot is on,” Campos-Oriola reveals. “But now it also has thrusters, because it allows you to float in zero gravity and navigate and fly around. Where are the thrusters on the suit? How do they work? How would it help you navigate in zero gravity? That was reflected in the design of the rig.”

Of course, the rig is the most important feature of Isaac’s suit. An illuminated spine serves as his bar of diegetic health, and a half-moon-shaped stasis his indicator completes her HUD in space. The design of the remake version remains the same.

“It looks a lot like the original rig and I like the design,” says Yazijian. “It’s a very unique and iconic look and we wanted to keep it. We don’t want to ruin it. It means that we have modeled all the individual parts in . Actually, if you zoom in on each section, you can see the internal mechanism. […] We also added a stasis meter and kinesis to the back. So there are a lot of details there. ”

“From a distance it feels like the same suit, so I think it works well overall, but when you look closer, it becomes more realistic,” concludes Yazijian. “And the final pass was the ingredients. [added] Added more realistic shaders to make it really feel like the material it should be. It wasn’t just boring and flat. “

The final version of Isaac’s suit represents the entire Dead Space remake. A more detailed and believable version of what you’ve loved for years. At first glance, it looks the same, but if you look closely, it contains many new elements that sublimate it to the present day.

For more on Dead Space, see how the development team recreated one of the original game’s most chilling scenes, and how the remake fits into the modern survival-horror renaissance. please.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.

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