GameFocus Sits Down With Dead Space 3's Steve Papoutsis
Published on Monday, 21 January 2013 16:05
Did anyone out there get the chance to check out the Dead Space 3 demo? The game itself releases on February 5, so we don’t have too much longer to wait for the real deal. In the meantime, GameFocus sat down with executive producer Steve Papoutsis to answer some questions about the anticipated sequel and series in general.
Question: Some fans of the survival horror genre fear Dead Space 3’s more action-oriented approach. What do you have to say to the fans of the series?
First, I’m not sure Dead Space should be classified as survival horror. I prefer to designate it as a series that has more to it than that. A Dead Space game should provide tension, rich history, action and sound quality. I can assure you that Dead Space 3 makes good on each of these aspects.
Question: In the first two games, we have seen big changes in Isaac Clarke, the protagonist goes from being an engineer to a seasoned fighter. Does this not go against the original concept?
Actually no. We wanted Isaac to be like a normal person. If you have to deal with fighting, you will get better with time and this is the case for Isaac, who has accumulated experience against everything he lived through. For example, while eliminating all Necromorphs aboard a ship, it would be ridiculous to be naive, as if the second game was the very first time Isaac faced the Necromorphs.
It’s a bit like those horror movies, where the characters are stupid once and continue to be, while they should know not to make the same mistakes because of what happened in the previous films. It comes to more laughter than fear in these films because the characters are so naive. This is what we wanted to avoid in Dead Space with Isaac Clarke, giving him the notion of the past. In addition, we rely on the experience of the player with the series to make Isaac better, based on the fact that the player is also better.
Question: How did you approach Dead Space 3 when we know that the fans can be peculiar with their demands? They demand change, but at the same time they want the same experience. Did you feel pressure to deal with this duality during production?
Yes, fans are heard and we try to provide the best experience possible. The way to do this is to stick as close as possible to our basic principles. There is always someone who wants to make the game scarier and others want more action. We simply must remain close to our own vision of the game and not just try to please everyone. Finally, hope that the passion we put into the project reflects what the fans want.
For example, in regards to the co-op mode, we knew that some wanted it and others felt that it could have a negative impact on the game, but we wanted it. So, we wondered how we could make Dead Space cooperative while keeping its essence? How, for example, could we keep the suspense and tension of the single player campaign in co-op? We worked on the co-op experience knowing that it is not possible to please everyone. We wanted to continue with what the players liked the previous games while adding new elements, and the cooperative mode is one of these.
Question: While the recipe of the first two games called for closed, stifling environments to add tension, how do you do this with Dead Space 3, which has an open environment?
There are several ways that we used to bring tension in Dead Space 3. From darkness, to shadows, to environments, and audio design, as well as through actions that the player must perform.
Question: You have introduced the character Carver in Dead Space 3. Is there any chance that you’ll continue with characters other than Isaac in future games in the series?
At this moment we have not looked at what is going to follow. I’m not saying this is impossible, since the Dead Space universe is vast, we can obviously do many things. But we will begin by examining the reactions of fans and critics alike. We had discussions on the future of the series, but for now we want to focus on the release of this game.
Question: At what point in the development of the game did you decide to incorporate the cooperative mode?
Very early in development we knew that the cooperative would be cool to have. Like on some places such as the ice planet. But the co-op has been discussed several times early on and the decision to enter and exit the co-op mode on the fly without stopping the game was made quickly. We really wanted the opportunity to have the same experience whether you pick solo or co-op.
In fact, the cooperative mode should have been part of the franchise since the first Dead Space. We even thought of adding the feature through DLC.
Question: Is it better to play together?
No, the real fans of the series can do solo without problems. But we expected the game to have the character Carver’s side of the story and perspective on things. So trying both is a good idea. But there is no alternate ending if you play solo or co-op.
Question: Do you intend to make a Dead Space movie?
We have nothing to say in this regard, but if even considered, we must have the right partners capable of reproducing the real Dead Space concept. It would certainly be interesting, but nothing tangible has been done in this direction for the moment.
Question: Did you at some point toy with the idea of pushing the project until the release of the next generation of consoles instead? Or even coming out on Wii U?
No, this game was always intended for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Waiting for next generation has never even been questioned. As for Wii U, we find that the controls we offer on other platforms will not work with the Wii U GamePad and did not want to give the impression of not using the controller to its maximum potential. It was just simply not in the plans.
Question: Tell us about weapon changes in Dead Space 3
The weapon customization system is something that we felt fans loved. So we thought we should take it further in Dead Space 3 because, after all, Isaac is an engineer, so he should be able to combine weapons to create new ones. So there are many possibilities when it comes to creation of weapons in the game while still giving access to all functions without using the tool.
Question: And the future? If you planned far ahead and with an unlimited budget, what would you do with the franchise?
I do not know. I could see an open world, why not an MMO or an RPG? This is a fun question, but whatever the case may be, it would have to keep the essence of Dead Space.
Here we are. The next generation of consoles is among us and it is finally time to start thinking about finally unplugging our beloved current-gen systems. Could there be a better swan song for one of these systems than taking a trip back to Rapture?
In some sort of cosmic twist, I have seen the future. No, I didn’t find out where/when/why I’ll die, nor did I even find out what I’ll have for breakfast tomorrow (I hope it’s pancakes). But I assure you, I have seen the future.
The future of video games that is. I recently got to test out Morpheus - uh, I mean PlayStation VR - Sony’s answer to the ever-growing interest in virtual reality. Although the headset is currently far from completion, it’s also far from shotty.
Whether it’s a rainy day, a sickness, or some other reason not to go outside and enjoy the beautiful summer air, video games are the perfect way to spend your time - that is, if you can find a game to play. In terms of releases, summer generally isn’t the most fruitful of seasons, and this year is no different. So what games could/should you be sinking your teeth into during the dog days?
Since its reveal at E3 2009, The Last Guardian has not resurfaced other than in rumours and in statements regarding said rumours. Sony admits to major studio problems during the game’s development, but constantly reassures those anticipating the game that it is still not, and will not, be canceled. So is this the year that we finally see the resurrection of The Last Guardian? In my opinion, the answer is a big fat NO.