I’m a Dead Space 3 apologist. While the more action-oriented sequel to a great modern horror game series wasn’t a hit upon release, the benefit of hindsight makes me love it all the more. Carver’s co-op mechanics, the weapon customization, overall narrative ideas, and focus on action were a lot of fun in my opinion, but Dead Space 3 lost old fans and didn’t make enough new ones, so the series went on hiatus until this year’s Motive remake. Now, original Dead Space story producer Chuck Beaver has outlined what he’d love to do with DS3 given the chance, and it sounds really interesting.
Beaver appeared on a ‘CaptainBribo’ podcast to talk all about the Dead Space series, and while his thoughts on Dead Space 3 in retrospect are definitely fun ‘what if’ ideas rather than any sort of concrete word on what Motive will do next – as Beaver hasn’t worked on the reboot – hearing his perspective on the horror game series is incredibly interesting. We at PCGamesN gave the interview a watch and transcribed some of what Beaver has to say below.
“Now in this [Dead Space] remake territory I would redo Dead Space 3 almost completely, but I would keep the lore beat it’s predicated on, keep the lore you find out, and I would have Ellie there but in a different relationship [with Isaac] and redo the entire main story,” Beaver says.
Beaver adds that he would remove the Isaac, Ellie, and Robert love triangle while starting “from complete scratch.” Saying that after the ending of Dead Space 2, he’d love to have seen “Broken Isaac” in the third game, and turn the character into an unreliable narrator that shifts how the player engages with him on a personal level.
CaptainBribo and Beaver go on to talk about how they’d rewrite DS3 to focus much more on Isaac, recasting the narrative roles of Carver and Robert to help bring the focus on Isaac’s struggles as a character. They talk about keeping in the co-op mechanic of the two players seeing completely different visuals at specific parts of the game, but focus it on Isaac, who they call “shadow Isaac,” a sort of split in his psyche and character after the events of the last two games.
I love this idea. The Dead Space 3 mechanic of seeing different environments and scares depending on who you played as was amazing, so I can see how focusing that idea on a single-player experience and using it to have the player question if Isaac is seeing the truth or effectively ends up lying to himself, would be brilliant.
Beaver describes the split as the relationship between Gollum and Sméagol, and the story would explore which side would win out in Isaac’s mind. All of the supporting cast would still be in the game too, but each rewritten to serve as a foil or support to part of Isaac’s journey and character state.
It’s no secret that, especially back in 2013 when Dead Space 3 was released, horror was a smaller videogame genre. There are successes in the space of course, but Dead Space 3 shifted the focus to co-op action and a more Uncharted-style narrative setup to appeal to more players.
“The plan [with Dead Space 3] was that we’d expand into other gameplay genres,” Beaver says. “All those bits together not only didn’t generate a new audience, they lost the old audience.
“We weren’t allowed to make a horror game from the beginning,” Beaver adds of Dead Space 3, and this is what sank the series for a decade. So in going back to DS3 Beaver would remove as much of the co-op and action-focused mechanics, but keep some of the split visual elements that the co-op had.
As I say up top, Beaver and CaptainBribo know this will never happen, but with the benefit of hindsight and the success of the Dead Space remake, it’s still fun to speculate. If you now want to go back to the USG Ishimura the Dead Space remake is on Game Pass, and it’s an incredibly faithful reimagining and expansion of the original that folds in a surprising amount from subsequent games in the series.
A big Steam Halloween sale is happening right now if you want even more spooky games including Dead Space, and we’ve broken down the best upcoming PC games you should be keeping an eye on alongside some essential horror VR games too.