An Introduction to Dead Space and Its Long-Awaited Remake

Dead Space protagonist Issac Clarke aiming a flamethrower at an approaching necromorph – Image Credit: Gamerscore Blog


After 13 years of anticipation, a remake of the critically acclaimed and fan-adored sci-fi action horror game has officially been announced by publisher Electronic Arts, in its EA Play Live digital showcase on July 22.


For those unfamiliar, the original Dead Space follows Isaac Clarke: an engineer sent to help repair the USG Ishimura Spacecraft, following the disappearance of its crew. Isaac soon finds that the entire ship has been overrun with horrific, zombie-like monstrosities called necromorphs, and must fight for survival as he attempts to fix the ship, slowly uncovering the mystery behind the crew’s demise, and the origin of the necromorphs in the process.


Dead Space is considered a classic by many, chiefly for its oppressive and tense atmosphere, due in no small part to the sound design.


In an interview with Wabi Sabi Sound, Andrew Lackey, one of three audio designers for Dead Space said, “often you’ll hear something and nothing happens…but sometimes it does…and sometimes you get no warning.” True to Lackey’s statement, there are many moments in Dead Space where you may hear a noise and be unsure of where it is coming from, or even if it’s or dangerous or not. When any hesitation in a moment like this could spell your demise, you assume the former.


This atmosphere is aided by the unique and terrifying threat posed by the necromorphs, who can only be efficiently taken down by the severance of their numerous and often pointy limbs.


“Dismemberment was sort of the thing we built the game on,” says Dead Space Creator Glen Schofield in an interview with Ars Technica. This intention is clearly communicated through gameplay, where severing a necromorph’s head will leave it blind, but swinging wildly in all directions, while severing its legs will knock it to the ground, slowing it down but forcing the player to aim their shots carefully as it scrambles toward them. Interesting choices like these appear in almost every combat encounter.


Dead Space’s unique approach to enemy design also allows the game to have some very unconventional and fun weapons compared to the standard pistols and assault rifles of its contemporaries, such as the iconic plasma cutter, which can alter the firing angle of its small energy beams to best mince your many-limbed opposition.


Currently in development by Motive, an EA subsidiary, the Dead Space remake has a lot to live up to and faces the typical challenge posed to a remake of any video game: balancing improvements in areas like graphics and quality of life, while also preserving the core of the original. Motive seems keen to take this challenge on, according to a quote from their official website, “Dead Space [remake] stays true to the original tone and atmosphere . . . while making improvements to the story, gameplay and exploration to create a deeper experience for newcomers and fans alike.”


For those new to Dead Space, this remake serves as a perfect entry point into the franchise. In addition, the original Dead Space is currently only $4.99 on Steam with a discount, and the game is available for $14.99 on the Microsoft Store, or free, along with the rest of the Dead Space trilogy on Xbox Game Pass

The remake of Dead Space will release on Playstation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows for PC, targeting a release date in the Fall of next year.