Video Games

Dead Space: Rewriting and Improving the Story of a Horror Classic – IGN First

The original Dead Space is a video game classic and a horror story that many will remember fondly. The story of one engineer fighting for survival in the gloomy, corpse-filled corridors of a dead mining ship left a lasting impression, so when it comes to the remake developer’s EA Motive, it’s time to take a closer look at the story. I’ve been careful with how I approach it.

But there are some changes. Just as the remake looks different, so does the script. That’s because all the teams working on Dead Space had the same goal.

Dead Space Senior Writer Jo Berry said: “As a player, what you generally want is to have that same feeling again, like you’ve played it for the first time. were you […] But for the veteran players, I wanted to give them a little surprise, like, “Oh, this is a little different.” A slight change in direction can take you to a completely different place. So it was such a dichotomy between making newcomers feel welcome and keeping veteran players on their toes.

The first significant change you’ll notice is that Isaac Clarke can now speak. The once-silent protagonist gets a full script and chats with both the other characters and himself. I looked at other games in the speaking series.

“I used to watch a lot of Dead Space 2,” says Berry. “How does he react in this moment? What is his sense of humor? How does he react under verbal pressure? How is his speech pattern? is it something?” […] And I just tried to correct that character. I’m trying to make him feel like Isaac, but he doesn’t feel like a different character. This very smart and savvy guy who has sympathy for. ”

Our goal was to give the story the same kind of brilliance as everything else.

Rewriting Dead Space’s script allowed the writers to improve on the original’s storytelling. One element the team wanted to emphasize more was the cult-like Church of Unitology, which was introduced relatively late into the original game. In the remake, the characters start talking about the church pretty early on, which lays the groundwork for it to play an important role later in the story.

“What I didn’t want to do was Isaac like, ‘What’s the Church of Unitology? I’ll go with them, I trust them,'” Berry says. Because the players are screaming not to trust the Unitologists, so we end up with a situation like Isaac’s beginning: “Yeah, I hate the Church of Unitology.” you may be wondering, “What is unitology?” That’s interesting’. The veteran was like, “Why would he hate Unitology at this point?” It unravels the mystery of why he has anything to do with the church, what their philosophy is, and why he is hostile to that idea. It’s kind of the theme of the whole script, and I think I made it all personal. ”

An effort to make everything personal means that some scenarios from the original game have been expanded into new, more emotional stories. Chen has become a key character that demonstrates the true horror of the Necromorphs.

“Chen’s transformation makes the Necromorph transition very personal for the crew,” Berry explains. “This means the Necromorph is very personal to Hammond. […] I mean, they’re all in the original game, just find those moments, polish them, and bring out a little more. ”

Dead Space’s script isn’t the only thing pushing the narrative. The environment is equally important, with the corridors, rooms and decks of the Ishimura spaceship all designed to tell a story.

“Many of the game’s original designs took many themes from Gothic motifs, Gothic architecture, and repetitive skeletal structures,” reveals Dead Space environmental artist Taylor Kingston. “So you can see the ribs being repeated throughout. This was to evoke the feeling of being inside a creature or skeleton. and is often referred to as a living entity, as if it were a dying entity.

Our challenge was, “How can we breathe more life into these environments?”

In the remake, the power of modern consoles and PCs has allowed EA Motive to improve on the original game’s excellent environmental storytelling.

Art Director Mike Yazijian said: “And our challenge was, how can we bring more life to these environments? Is not it?”

“If you look at Nicole’s office, for example, there are a lot of props and things that say a little more about what she does,” he continues. “When you walk into the medical area, for example, it feels like an actual medical deck, not just a generic space. add.

Thanks to its down-to-earth, industrial nature, Ishimura is littered with signs of all kinds. And thanks to HD graphics, each one is a whole new opportunity to inject even more story into every corridor and crevice.

“There were a lot of labels, posters and billboards in Dead Space,” says Kingston. “Many of the original games were too low resolution to really read what was there. Put warning labels on the wall and you could walk up there and read all the individual instructions. ”

“At one point, I was working with an artist and they said ‘The Marker has all the papers on Unitology, but at the moment the resolution is too low to read them in the original. What text do you want here?” Berry recalls. “I try to think about it because people have his 4K monitors and high resolution stuff so they can read all this stuff. So I think if the text is readable, it’s I was just trying to make sure it was there in a meaningful way.”

Various diaries and audio logs can be found on Ishimura’s journey. Many of them are recognizable from the first voyage.

“Quite a few of them are very similar or just the same,” Berry says. “There are some new ones for various reasons. […] But some of them have actually been converted into AR scenes. For example, in the original game, you can pick up a video log from Nicole when you go to the doctor. It seemed like a strong candidate for an AR scene that would record the message “commands are useless, we’re overwhelmed”. This man is dying. i need someone help me. Again, personalize it and bring it to the moment. Also, creating this atmosphere makes it almost ghostly to see these AR figures around the ship. ”

Unlike the Final Fantasy 7 remake, Dead Space isn’t trying to completely reinvent it: EA Motive’s approach to story is very similar to the approach Capcom took with Resident Evil 2. It updates and refines the story players know and love. And from what we’ve seen so far, we promise to make the horror classics just a little bit better.

For more on Dead Space, see how the developers recreated the iconic gun and see how the remake compares to the original.

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

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