A recent chat between Kotaku and Steve Papoutsis renewed my hope for the future of the Dead Space franchise. According to Papoutsis, the General Manager of Visceral Games, the franchise is far from “dead.” Papoutsis seemed to imply that the franchise could see a return on the new generation of consoles. While there have been many rumors to the contrary, I am at least relieved to see some reinforced support from Visceral for the Dead Space property.
A break for Dead Space is probably a good thing. In terms of sales, Dead Space 3 did not do as well as earlier installments of the franchise. The game received a great deal of criticism for abandoning its survival horror and scare-heavy roots in favor of a more mainstream style with more action. Many of the criticisms against the game were unjust. One of the major criticisms against the game concerned its utilization of micro-transactions. Personally, I am not a big fan of micro-transactions for games, but a lot of games use them. Many major popular games use micro-transactions. However, I never once needed micro-transactions in order to beat Dead Space 3 on Normal or Hard modes. Micro-transactions were in no way necessary to play the game. So there was quite an extreme overreaction to that aspect.
In terms of the action: I actually played the entire game, and I was not dissatisfied with the action at all. Dead Space and Dead Space 2 both had quite a bit of action and shooting. In Dead Space 3, the involvement of the Unitologists in the gameplay made sense in the context of the world that had been established for the franchise. The game was still sufficiently nerve-wracking during the exploration of the derelict Sovereign Colony ships and facilities on Tau Volantis. To say the game completely abandoned its survival horror roots is inaccurate. The co-op mode did not hurt the game either. Some of the most tense moments I experienced during Dead Space 3 occurred when I played as John Carver for the optional co-op missions. These moments are brilliant because if you play as Isaac Clarke in the co-op sequences, he basically sees Carver reacting to nothing and going batty.
Another good reason for the break is that the third game essentially wrote itself into a corner with the ending of the Awakening story DLC. It is almost impossible to decipher how the main story will continue after that ending. Hopefully, Papoutsis and the Dead Space team will have time to figure that out. However, now that Visceral is working on properties such as Battlefield: Hardline and a new Star Wars game, this time out will recharge the batteries for the Dead Space franchise.
Absence makes the heart go fonder. Some time off could help rebuild anticipation and desire to see a new installment. Having a new generation of consoles ready to go is also a big opportunity for the franchise. If Visceral does bring back Dead Space, it would be using the new-gen tech which could significantly raise the stakes of what a sequel could accomplish.
I am glad to hear that Visceral and EA still see value in the property. Hopefully, this means that once Visceral wraps up Star Wars and Battlefield, there will be a renewed push for a triumphant return of the Dead Space franchise.