A new video documentary charts the downfall of survival horror game series Dead Space. The original Dead Space arrived in 2008 and became an instant favorite with horror fans. The game mixed the over the shoulder, third-person action of Resident Evil 4 with production design reminiscent of Alien and Event Horizon. In addition to being a great game, publisher EA was keen to push that Dead Space was going to be the next major franchise, and launched it alongside tie-ins like comics, novels and an anime prequel movie.
The success of the original quickly led to a Wii spin-off titled Dead Space: Extraction, and while the game didn’t sell well, it received great reviews and is considered an underrated gem. Dead Space 2 upped the action and deepened the mythology, but while it sold strong numbers, EA still felt it underperformed and wanted the series to have broader appeal. To this end, they forced developer Visceral Games to add co-op gameplay, cover shooting, human enemies and microtransactions to Dead Space 3. This 2012 title was met with mediocre reviews upon release and failed to meet EA’s expectation, so the series was put on hold.
While there were plans at Visceral Games for Dead Space 4, which would have let players explore space and plunder other, infected ships for resources, the series has yet to return. Now a new video documentary from the YouTube channel Gvmers provides an in-depth history of the Dead Space series and the various factors and decisions that led to its eventual demise.
While the games had action, Dead Space was fundamentally a horror series, so when EA tried to force it into a different genre entirely with the third entry, it just didn’t work. It’s a real pity because the first two games are still highly regarded today, and the series could have continued to evolve like the Resident Evil franchise. There was even talk of a big-budget Dead Space movie during the heyday of the series, with directors DJ Caruso and John Carpenter expressing interest, but there seem to be no plans to resurrect it.
Sadly, Dead Space developers Visceral Games have since been disbanded, so if the franchise ever receives a reboot it will be by a whole new team. This also led to the cancellation of their much-hyped Star Wars title, though some of their work may reappear in another EA Star Wars game.