'Dead Space' Remake: How the New Game Has Been Updated for Next-Gen Consoles

Fans have been treated to an early look at the upcoming Dead Space remake—courtesy of a developer livestream—and have already noticed a few key differences between this latest version and the 2008 original.

Motive Studios published the unusual broadcast on Tuesday, in which they gave players a sneak peek at some exclusive game footage, while also providing some commentary and behind-the-scenes insights.

Philippe Ducharme, the remake's senior producer, stressed that this was not a traditional "gameplay reveal," but rather an early look at some unfinished elements that would allow the team to gauge "reactions from across the community" and collate feedback.

As such, we did not see an abundance of footage and whenever a clip from the game was shown, it was always pre-empted with the caveat that it is in the "very, very, very early" stages of development.

A Next-Gen Visual Upgrade

Still, the remake looked unmistakably next-gen. Ducharme revealed that the team has used legacy assets from the original game and then updated them for a modern audience by adding extra details to the environments, applying shaders, overhauling the lighting and incorporating new atmospheric effects.

A split-screen comparison, highlighting the visual difference between the original Dead Space and its remake, was included at the livestream's 11-minute mark. Through this you could really appreciate all of the various enhancements that have been made.

The graphical upgrade was not the only thing that was revealed though, as Motive also announced that they have made several other technical changes for their Dead Space remake, including an ambitious move to eradicate loading times entirely.

Dead Space Graphics Comparison
The livestream featured a split-screen that showcased the differences between the original "Dead Space" and its remake. EA Games

Updated Dismemberment and "Peeling" Systems

The original Dead Space is known for its signature Necromorph enemies, which were reanimated corpses that had been mutated by an extra-terrestrial infection.

One of the distinguishing features of these monsters was that they could only be killed by what the game called "strategic dismemberment." This essentially meant that unloading a weapon into their torso would do very little damage and that you would instead have to shoot off their limbs.

Given how synonymous it is with the Dead Space franchise, it was only inevitable that this gory mechanic would be returning for the remake. Yet with technology having progressed quite a bit since 2008, it has also been refined.

As showcased in the livestream, the dismemberment physics are now much more realistic (if you do not fully commit to hacking off a limb, it will just dangle by a thread of sinew), and a "peeling" system has also been introduced.

The latter enables you to blast off layers of skin and muscle tissue, providing a visual indicator for all the damage you have done to a given necromorph. For those who played the Resident Evil 2 remake, it's somewhat reminiscent of the visceral zombie destruction effects that were so memorably featured in that game.

Dead Space Dismemberment Gym
The developers showcased the new dismemberment and peeling mechanics in a "gym" environment. EA Games

Overhauled Zero-G Mechanics

One of the few areas that we got to see for an extended period was the "Zero-G Therapy Room," as this gave the developers a chance to show off the new traversal abilities.

In the original Dead Space, navigating zero-gravity environments was a little clunky, as you had to point to an applicable spot on the wall and then press a button to jump over to it. The system was quite slow and restrictive, giving you very little control over where you could actually go.

The remake is throwing out this mechanic and swapping it for the thruster system that was used to better effect in Dead Space 2. This basically allows you to fly around zero-gravity environments like Iron Man, which is considerably more fun.

The developers also confirmed that they have redesigned and tweaked certain environments to accommodate this change.

Dead Space Zero-G Gameplay
The thruster system from "Dead Space 2" has been incorporated into the remake. EA Games

Isaac Clarke Will Now Be Voiced

Other than that he was named after two icons of sci-fi literature (Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke), there was not much especially interesting about protagonist Isaac Clarke in the first Dead Space.

We did not learn much about his backstory, his relationships with the other Kellion crew members were barely defined and he didn't even speak. Instead, he was meant to be a blank slate that audiences could imprint their own personality traits on to.

For the remake, Isaac will be getting brand new lines of dialogue and will be voiced by Gunner Wright (who is reprising his role from the sequels). While the developers hope that this will immerse gamers in the world of Dead Space, they have also established a list of ground rules for when Isaac is allowed to speak, so that constant chatter does not detract from the horror atmosphere.

#ICYMI from today’s livestream, here are the rules the team talked about for Isaac’s dialogue:

1. Isaac will primarily only speak when spoken to.

2. Isaac will sometimes speak in a situation where it would feel weird if he remained silent.

— Dead Space (@deadspace) August 31, 2021

No Microtransactions Confirmed

Dead Space 3 was notoriously plagued with microtransactions that disrupted the flow of gameplay. In a nutshell, players could use real-world money to purchase elusive resources in order to accelerate the otherwise sluggish pace at which they would be upgrading weapons.

When asked by a community member if the Dead Space remake will feature the return of these ever-controversial microtransactions, Ducharme gave an emphatic response. He said: "So, very, very clear [Sic]. No microtransactions. Not at all. Nada."

This was surely come as a relief to fans of the series, as the microtransactions were often blamed for a lot of Dead Space 3's shortcomings.

The Dead Space remake was formally announced at this year's EA Play Live broadcast and there is currently no word on its release date.

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