Posted on February 13, 2013, Phil Hornshaw Visceral: Dead Space 3 Never Designed to Force Micro-Transactions
Check out our story Visceral: Dead Space 3′s Priority is Quality, Not Survival-Horror for more of our interview with Dead Space 3 Executive Producer Steve Papoutsis.
Dead Space 3‘s weapons crafting system includes micro-transactions for players to purchase additional resources, but developer Visceral Games never intended those transactions to be the major way through which players get their resources.
During an interview with Game Front, Dead Space 3 Executive Producer Steve Papoutsis said the transactions were a means through which some players might be able to shortcut the search for materials they need, but the game was designed with the intention of keeping those transactions optional.
“One of the things that we noticed, while we were developing the game, just in gaming in general, is that some people are looking for shortcuts,” Papoutsis said. “They’re looking for ways to get through the game a little bit faster. Whether that’s just because of the limited amount of time they have, or just the way that they want to experience the game, that’s something that we’ve seen in gaming recently. And so what we thought was, if we’re going to create this resource system for our crafting, that’s an opportunity to let people kind of accelerate their game a bit.
“At the same time, something that people need to realize as they’re playing Dead Space, our chapter select system enables players at any time to go back to a previous chapter. So if you want to go back and farm for resources in an area that you’ve already cleared out, you totally can do that, and you don’t even have to interact with the MTX system if you don’t want to. So that’s been there and we decided that from Day One: we wanted to make sure players were able to do that, because for some people, time is available.”
Papoutsis also said that not needing micro-transactions to accomplish goals or create weapons is “exactly how the game was developed,” and that most players on the Normal difficulty would probably find themselves with an abundance of crafting material anyway.
“You know, we balanced the game so you’d be able to purchase all kinds of stuff with what drops in the world, and be more than amply powerful to complete the game,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we encourage players that are not new to the franchise to jump in at a higher difficulty, because that’s probably going to be more challenging for them versus playing normal. Because with normal, we wanted to make sure new players had a chance to kind of understand the game, in hopes that once they complete it and go back through in co-op, they understand the systems and now they’re motivated to try a higher difficulty, or they’re playing in New Game + modes. So the micro-transaction stuff wasn’t a huge deal for us, in terms of a balancing thing, because we were always going to allow people those other avenues to get resources.”
Some players have reacted negatively to the micro-transactions, which Papoutsis said was unfortunate because it seemed many people didn’t have all the information — namely that the MTX system is not necessary to beat the game. In fact, Game Front published a video that showed players a means of “farming” for resources at a specific point during the campaign that could theoretically award a multitude of items, should players be willing to put in the time to get them. That video kicked off speculation that Electronic Arts might patch the apparent “glitch,” as it helped circumvent micro-transactions; there also was discussion that exploiting the apparent glitch would be tantamount to stealing from Electronic Arts.
EA, however, issued a statement to Game Front that reiterated such locations were purposely built into the game, and that the MTX system was intended to be optional. Some gamers and even media outlets suggested that farming opportunities in Dead Space 3 were indeed a glitch and that EA was pivoting after realizing that patching out such issues would be difficult, costly or potentially damaging to the publisher’s image. Papoutsis’ comments suggest otherwise, though — that Dead Space 3 was never intended to have anything more than optional micro-transaction content.
Papoutsis encouraged players to interact with him about Dead Space 3 via Twitter. You can find him at @leveluptime.