Dead Space developer Visceral was infamously shuttered by EA last year, but the people that made that studio such a notable part of modern game history are still hard at work at other studios. One of those people, former creative director of Dead Space and current creative director at Crystal Dynamics, Ben Wanat, recently spoke to Eurogamer about what the Visceral team had in mind for Dead Space 4.
“The notion was you were trying to survive day to day against infested ships, searching for a glimmer of life, scavenging supplies to keep your own little ship going, trying to find survivors,” said Wanat of the planned sequel’s core concept. “The flotilla section in Dead Space 3 hinted at what non-linear gameplay could be, and I would have loved to go a lot deeper into that.”
It’s interesting to hear Wanat reference the flotilla section of Dead Space 3 as that area felt stylistically and narratively detached from the rest of the game. While that survival-heavy aspect of the game would have apparently hinted at the team’s intentions for the planned sequel, Wanat suggests that the scope of Dead Space 4 would have been much greater than anything that Dead Space 3 featured.
“I figured you’d start in a section of space, maybe following a trail of ship carcasses to an orbital station you think might have the parts and fuel needed to get your ship Shock-capable,” said Wanat. “You’d start to form a picture of what happened in that region while fighting through scores of Necromorphs from ship to ship. And you’d learn a new, critical bit of plot info along with the means to Shock to a couple of nearby sectors.”
While Dead Space 4 would have focused more on Issac’s background as a mechanic and engineer, the team also planned to incorporate more instances of having to fight Necromorphs in zero-g environments. Their belief was that the loss of gravity would have prevented players from relying on the same combat tactics.
So why didn’t this incredible idea for a sequel ever come to fruition? Apparently, the answer to that question is exactly what you think it is.
“As much as everyone wanted to keep making Dead Space games, the cost of development was just too high compared to how much they sold,” said Wanat. “Nobody ever officially came out and said, ‘there will be no more Dead Space‘. But for the first time in a while, it no longer appeared on any SKU plans.”
That said, Wanat stopped short of spoiling the team’s intended ending for Dead Space 4 just in case EA decides to resurrect the franchise in some form.