Dead Space’s Unpredictable Horror Will Be A Masterpiece

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The highly anticipated Dead Space Remake is less than a week away, and one can only hope it lives up to the hype. Judging from what we already know and from what we’ve already seen about the remake, it seems to be going in a pretty good direction.

The Dead Space franchise has established itself as a classic. It has been more than 14 years since the first Dead Space game came out in October 2008, followed by its sequel in January 2011 and Dead Space 3 in February 2013. The games were developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts.

Even after so many years, Dead Space is still a must-play game for fans of the horror genre. The video game industry has seen massive improvements in almost every field in the past decade. If the newest generation of gamers, even the old ones, were to play Dead Space now, it would look and feel a bit dull.

But they won’t be missing out on anything, as the remake of the original Dead Space is set to come out in a few days. Dead Space Remake is set to bring forth many improvements from the original game, as any remake should.

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The Dead Space Remake’s unpredictability makes it a significant improvement from the original. Unlike the original Dead Space, you can continue to enjoy subsequent playthroughs, as every playthrough will be an entirely different experience.

The unpredictability will also make the game much more interesting for veterans who’ve played Dead Space games multiple times. Imagine walking past a usual jumpscare spot with your chest puffed that you just won against the Necromorph; boom, the game hits you with another jumpscare to put you in your place.

Experiences like this are what make horror games so much fun. And judging from the recent gameplay leak, the remake will be an even better experience than the original.

The Original Dead Space

The original Dead Space was something that will always keep you on your toes. The player always had to be aware of their surroundings as the Necromorphs can appear from any corner of the ship to ambush the player.

These gory creatures didn’t look anything close to your average zombies. Necromorphs came in wide different varieties, all of which looked like mutilated corpses that would strike fear in the hearts of anyone who came across them.

The original Dead Space takes place on the USG Ishimura, a Planet Cracker-class ship. Ishimura served as an ideal environment for the horror game. It was a commercial ship designed to excavate and drill into planets to harvest their natural resources.

If you take out the blood and gore-covered hallways and lounges, the massive drills and grinding machines on the Ishimura give off a dystopian vibe on their own. Despite being a huge mechanical monstrosity, it was nothing more than a commercial ship in the Dead Space universe.

When you roam around the commercial ship, you come across many things that will help you learn how life was on the ship before the outbreak struck and everything went crazy. Every room on the ship has a new story to tell the player about how life was when everyone was alive.

All in all, the environmental storytelling of Dead Space is something we rarely see in video games, making it such a great game.

The immersion is also next-level with how Isaac Clarke, an engineer, and our main character, deals with his ordeals in the game. The UI only told you what you needed to know without breaking immersion. Isaac’s health can be seen at the meter on the back of his suit. The rest of the inventory showed up as a holographic projection.

The insides of the USG Ishimura from Dead Space Remake.
The insides of the USG Ishimura from Dead Space Remake.

The game does its best to remain relevant to the lore. Isaac, as an engineer, has to make do with what he finds on the ship. Most of the weapons he finds on the USG Ishimura are basically just glorified mining tools, which he then uses to cut down hordes of Necromorphs.

Despite being perfect in many aspects, there was one major flaw in the original Dead Space. Once you get used to it, it gets pretty boring, like most horror games.

It still keeps you on your toes, but it is hard to feel scared when the same type of scary creature ambushes you out of a vent again when you’ve just murdered his twin, who tried to pull off the same trick in the last room.

Of course, it has its moments, like the reveal of the first Divider. However, it is a fact that once you keep playing, the game keeps getting progressively less scary. The phenomenon is even more evident on subsequent playthroughs as you’ve already experienced the jumpscares and are pretty sure where the next one is coming from.

The devs working on the Dead Space Remake were aware that this was one of the flaws that held back the original. They decided to include the Intensity Director as it would drastically improve the experience compared to the original Dead Space without going against the game’s lore or immersion.

But what exactly is the Intensity Director? How does it improve the user experience in a horror game?

What is the Intensity Director?

The Intensity Directer is undoubtedly one of the best features in the upcoming Dead Space Remake. It has been introduced in games like the Warhammer Vermintide and the Left 4 Dead games.

It is an invisible factor that reacts to the player’s feedback and sets new events and encounters based on it. For example, you’re casually blasting through hordes of Slashers, and then suddenly, a bigger and tougher Brute shows up to increase the challenge for you.

The intensity director considers the player’s actions and then creates an unpredictable and unexpected event that will keep the player on their toes. This type of setting is ideal for horror games like the Dead Space Remake.

Joel MacMillan, Dead Space Remake’s realization director, has revealed that about 1200 random events and encounters can occur when the player enters a new area. These encounters and random events aren’t just limited to more enemies but also to new jumpscares and new audio cues.

Joel MacMillan, Dead Space Remake's realization director, talks about the intensity director.
Joel MacMillan, Dead Space Remake’s realization director, talks about the intensity director.

Joel MacMillan also said that the remake almost didn’t get the pause feature. He added that removing such a feature will make horror games more impactful for the player.

This type of randomization is often seen in survival horror games because of its effectiveness. It plays around with the player and keeps things interesting for them.

The intensity director will also make subsequent playthroughs more interesting. Imagine you’re on your second playthrough, and you’ve memorized all the locations of jumpscares. But then, out of nowhere, the game throws another jumpscare at you.

It fixes one of the major flaws of the original Dead Space, and an improvement like this is what all remakes should strive for.

Takeaway

So far, it looks like the Dead Space Remake will do justice to the original. The devs had learned from what worked with the original and what didn’t and improved upon those aspects to create this game, and hopefully, it will be a much better experience than the original ever could.

The Dead Space Remake will also feature Gunner Wright as Isaac Clarke’s voice, another feature lacking in the original Dead Space. Gunner Wright was also the voice behind Isaac Clarke in Dead Space 2 and 3.

A voice will also add more depth to Isaac Clarke’s character in the first game, and paired with the unpredictability that the intensity director brings to the horror game, the Dead Space Remake is pointing towards a much better experience than the original ever was.

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