The Dead Space series of action horror games got off to an incredibly strong start with the original title in late 2008, but the franchise could just have easily been snuffed out soon after it began.
While the first Dead Space from EA and Visceral received accolades from every corner of the videogame world and was in many ways recognised as a game that outplayed classic genre titles like Resident Evil, the game struggled at retail but the response was just too overwhelming for EA to ignore, effectively allowing the series to continue.
Now a little over four years later, the Dead Space series has just received its second sequel in Dead Space 3 and El33tonline was fortunate enough to personally bear witness to its reveal, development and launch – let’s take a journey.
We Heard a Rumour…
As most videogames are ‘revealed’ nowadays, the existence of Dead Space 3 was first brought to light with a pre-order listing at South African retailer BT Games, and while it’s still unknown whether this was just a slip-up by the company or simply a forward-thinking database entry that accidentally went live, it certainly got gamers buzzing about the Dead Space series and the possibility of a reveal for Dead Space 3 at E3 months later.
These rumours and squalls of speculation didn’t let up, though, and despite heavy hint work by EA leading up to E3 2012 in June, we would have to wait until the annual videogame event in Los Angeles to discover the truth.
And discover it we did.
A Blockbuster Showcase
The El33tonline team gathered excitedly outside the Orpheum Theatre ahead of EA’s E3 2012 press conference with all kinds of hopes and dreams spinning in our minds, with one wish in particular: The official reveal of Dead Space 3.
Once bundled inside, EA and CEO John Riccitiello wasted no time in making our dream a reality as Dead Space 3 was the very first title to be announced during the event, with a blockbuster showcase revealing Isaac Clarke’s new enemies and overwhelming set-piece action in a setting ripe for horror.
Whoops and calls echoed through the theatre as Necromorphs lost limbs and a giant alien creature assaulted Isaac, and once the demo was done, the applause was deafening.
That’s Not Dead Space!
After trying to a solve an intriguing Dead Space 3 mystery with two separate package deliveries, El33tonline was able to get some eyes-on time with Dead Space 3 as Visceral Games’ John Calhoun stepped us through some exciting features.
While weapon crafting and the new ice world setting of Tau Volantis were part of our demo, it was the inclusion of seamless drop-in/drop-out co-operative play that caught our attention the most… but it also caught the attention of long-time Dead Space fans as a vocal portion of the gaming community bemoaned the ‘watering down’ of the horror experience with the addition of a co-operative partner who would be able to take the edge off of the series’ signature tension and suspense.
Visceral pointed out, however, that you would still be able to play Dead Space 3 as a purely singleplayer game thanks to the team’s decision to add and remove dialogue and particular scenes depending on if you had a buddy in on the action.
During our E3 preview of Dead Space 3, we were shown how certain sections of the game could be affected by the inclusion of a co-op partner, but we were satisfied that Visceral had done enough to ensure solo players wouldn’t be phased by this feature, allowing you to enjoy the Dead Space experience as you pleased.
No Time to Slow Down
El33tonline barely had enough time to see the first official gameplay video for Dead Space 3, let alone collect together debut screenshots before we started ramping up again for gamescom 2012 in Germany, where we would no doubt be able to once again cast our eyes on the horrific loveliness of Visceral’s (by now) epic looking game.
We were once again blown away by another booming presentation by EA ahead of gamescom, with another Dead Space 3 presentation and a release date announcement our reward: February 8th in European territories was the day gamers the world over were to scribble down in their calendars.
Best of all, El33tonline was able to play Dead Space 3 for the first time at gamescom, managing to escape the terror with our first hands-on preview of the game.
We were also fortunate enough to be able to share that gamescom gameplay experience with our readers thanks to an official video of the demo from EA and Visceral, with further details surrounding the title emerging.
Just Ramble On
After such a spike in excitement, we needed to take a bit of a breather and luckily EA went a little easy on us with gentle reminders that Dead Space 3 was on the way. Batches of terror-inducing screenshots and an excellent new trailer kept us very interested as Visceral announced Kinect voice command support for the Xbox 360 version of the game, along with a demonstration video to help us understand how the feature worked.
We didn’t have to wait long before we could try this functionality for ourselves while getting another taste of Dead Space 3 thanks to the release of the game’s demo on Xbox LIVE, accompanied by fantastic artwork and news of a super limited edition version of Dead Space 3, the Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition, with loads of amazing goodies included in the package.
Excitement Builds, But Terror Doesn’t Wait
As we enjoyed the Dead Space 3 demo, we finally reached the home stretch in our wait for the full game to arrive with an interview with Visceral’s John Calhoun, more screenshots and a superb story trailer, the reveal of upcoming downloadable content and news of the whopping success of the Dead Space 3 demo, having been downloaded two million times!
If you needed to count down the seconds to the release of Dead Space 3, an offer to purchase one of only 500 super slick themed watches came to the surface, but not even this stylish timepiece would be able to gauge the jaw-dropping excitement spurred along by the Dead Space 3 launch trailer – if you missed it the first time, you can watch below:
Horror is Haunting Forever
Usually, the release of a game’s launch trailer marks the point in that title’s life when a publisher and developer hand their creation over to the fans and submerge into a quiet zone to regroup, recuperate and maybe even celebrate their achievement, but this definitely wasn’t the case for Dead Space 3.
Since the launch trailer, the team has continued to keep gamers gripped with a four-part mini series delving into the game’s history, while revealing a variety of behind-the-scenes tricks and techniques used to fill us with all-conquering dread – here are all four parts of the series:
Just the Beginning
Is this the end of El33tonline’s Dead Space 3 journey? As we await the fourth part of that mini series and look back on our time with the game from reveal to release, will we be content to simply move on to the next big game release? Not on your life.
As we creep through shadowed corridors, frantically carve up lurching Necromorphs, feel the cold fingers of space slowly curling around our throats and get severely creeped out by music stings and split-second glimpses of scuttling creatures just on our periphery, we look forward to bringing you our review of Dead Space 3 in the near future while continuing to play co-operative online games with our community, soon.
For now, however, we would like to wish you all a Happy Dead Space 3 Launch Day! We hope you all enjoy your time with EA and Visceral’s latest game as you ‘Take Down Terror’ solo, as well as with a friend to help you through the horror…