EA Claims They Don’t Want To “Piss Off” Fans With Dead Space 3
At some point, we need to just assume Electronic Arts is trolling us. Because when their spokespeople say something like “we listen to the fans and we hear them,” but the company does stuff like release Mass Effect 3 with an ending that ruins the series (and, frankly, is clearly the result of meddling in order to meet an arbitrary release date), or making it impossible to play a single player version of SimCity, the obvious conclusion is that they’re daring us to call them liars.
The latest example of EA’s commitment to listening and hearing the fans is the awesome changes in store for the Dead Space series with Dead Space 3. They’ve created a very different game from previous entries, so much that it feels like Dead Space is a brand name rather than a continuing story. Survival horror is out, action run-and-gun is in. Creeping terror is out, action movie banter is in. And EA even remembered to force people to play yet another stupid multiplayer by making critical story details available only in two player co-op. And if that wasn’t bad enough, co-op players are forced to play some rando new character instead of one that has already been introduced and bonded to the players (Ellie Langford).
But whatevs, because EA swears they’re still doing right by the fans. “What we’ve tried to do with each instalment is tell a different story about Isaac but at the same time bring in new features and ways to turn the game into a more connected experience,” said EA Labels president Frank Gibeau, speaking to CVG. “… so we embraced [the co-op] idea and we tried to open up the accessibility of the IP a little bit by adding a little bit more action, but not undermining the horror. We can’t not be a horror game because that’s what Dead Space is.”
So, if I understand correctly, Dead Space is horror, therefore, Dead Space 3 is a horror game, even if it looks like an action shooter, because like Gibeau said, Dead Space is horror. Problem solved! “We definitely do not want to piss off our fans by taking it too far from horror. We’re very self aware of that – we listen to the fans and we hear them. We’re going to be releasing more assets over the coming months that show you how deep the horror is. It’s definitely not getting away from gore or horror, but at the same time it’s opening up to a larger audience by adding some elements,” Gibeau said, and since, as he makes clear, it’s a horror game because it’s a horror game, we believe him. Fans listened to! QUELL YOUR FURY WHINERS!
But about that larger audience. “In general we’re thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise,” Gibeau also said. “[B]ecause ultimately you need to get to audience sizes of around five million to really continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space. Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them.” That’s interesting. So the series has previous done well enough to warrant another sequel, but not well enough that the sequel can be the same kind of game? Why is that?
If I were a much more cynical person, I’d say it’s because EA can’t be bothered to invest in new IP anymore, so they just want to rely on brand name recognition to pump out increasingly generic games. People have heard of Dead Space. They haven’t heard of “generic run and gun sci fi title set on an ice world identical to Lost Planet”. So basically, this is Die Hard With A Vengeance which began life as a hackneyed generic action script called “Simon Says” before they decided John McClane would make a great lead character.
Basically, this means we should probably say goodbye to Dead Space. You can put it in your fond memories, next to Mass Effect and SimCity.