EA's classic sci-fi horror game Dead Space is currently free on PC via Origin.
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The environments of massive open-world games, particularly in recent years, have been rightly praised for their representation, scale and design accuracy. However, there are some gems at the other end of the spectrum - environments that make you feel cramped, tense and desperate for a break. This is an approach to environment design utilised in our real-world, from gardens to architecture, and is mirrored excellently in some game environments, creating areas that trap us in cramped, claustrophobic conditions.
Editor's note: In light of EA closing Visceral Games, we thought it would be a good time to remember the game and series the studio is known best for: Dead Space. This article was first published in February this year.
My initial plan for this article was to write about the space bits of Dead Space, also known as everyone's favourite bits of Dead Space. I was going to write something cool and arch and critical like "the true horror of Dead Space lies not in the snarling, gibbering Necromorphs that attempt to rip and tear the flesh from Isaac Clarke's body, but in how the game imagines the inky void of space as a direct physical threat. Throughout its length, Dead Space constantly reminds us the USG Ishimura is a tiny lifeboat spinning in a vast, black vacuum. It sucks the air out of Isaac's lungs, and forces us to fight in environments where even simple things like the concept of 'Up' become entirely redundant."
Something like that anyway. But then I played Dead Space, which I haven't done in about five years. I arrived at the first jump-scare, the one where Isaac is separated from his crewmates in the docking bay as Necromorphs start falling from the ceiling like coconuts on the galaxy's worst tropical island. I wish I could tell you that I was stalwart in the face of danger, hardened by my years playing horror games in the name of games journalism. Instead I completely bricked it. Again. I'd prepared myself mentally for it as well, playing the scene over in my head as the game downloaded. It made no difference. The moment Dead Space dropped the NecroMic I panicked, racing blindly through the corridors, fingers stabbing at the wrong keys, swearing with increasing volume as I tried to get the goddamn elevator doors to shut.
EA has allowed three old games out to play on on GOG.com and they are discounted for the occasion. The games are Dragon Age: Origins, which I love; Dead Space, which you told us off for giving 7/10 to; and SimCity 3000, which is how we'd prefer to remember that series.
Those who subscribe to EA Access - the Xbox One service granting access to several EA games for £3.99 a month - will now be able to play Dead Space.
Dead Space and Saints Row 4 are now backwards compatible on Xbox One.
April's Games with Gold - i.e. free games for Xbox Live Gold subscribers - has one of the service's best offering's yet.
Sometimes video game characters fall on hard times and, despite being the hero / heroine of the kingdom / world, they have to take a part-time job. These jobs (much like some of the part-time ones I've had in the past) are frequently mind numbing and occasionally demeaning.
How clever of Sony to start the PlayStation Summer Sale when the weather outside is s***. Even the promo-man pictured on the PlayStation blog wears a rain snorkel.
Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral Games' VP and general manager of 15 years, Steve Papoutsis, is no longer at EA.
EA has launched a new PC game promotion on its digital platform Origin - and as part of it Dead Space is free.
John Carpenter - director of Halloween, The Thing, and Escape from New York - would like to make a Dead Space movie.
Update 2: EA has accused VideoGamer of fabricating its Dead Space story, but the media outlet isn't taking these allegations lightly and claims that EA knew about the story in advance and was given an opportunity to deny it prior to publication, but for whatever reason, didn't.
VideoGamer has a detailed account of its correspondence with EA prior to publishing the piece.
But first, the accusations. Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore left a comment on a GamesIndustry report regarding the whole affair.
Outspoken Dead Space story producer Chuck Beaver has defended his critique of Gears of War, claiming his remarks were taken out of context.
The story producer of the Dead Space franchise believes Gears of War has "literally the worst writing in games".
You-hoo, PC gamers, there's a juicy sale going on over at EA's digital distribution shop Origin.
EA has plans to uproot its survival horror series Dead Space after next instalment Dead Space 3, a new report suggests.
The live action Dead Space movie still exists and will happen, its director has insisted.
Sales of Dead Space 2 have been double those of the original, but it won't be until the release of Dead Space 3 that the series will really take off, EA said.
Amidst all the frenzy surrounding Sony's NGP, the company's upcoming PlayStation Suite platform for Android-compatible handsets became something of a footnote.
In case it passed you by, the plan is to offer owners of handset (of a certain specification, presumably) the chance to download old PSone games such as MediEvil, Syphon Filter and Cool Boarders 2 as well as unspecified original content via a PlayStation Store.
But given the advancement of mobile content in recent years, is there much demand for old games at the kind of price that Sony demands for them currently? I'm not convinced there is. With the exception of the occasional timeless gem (like Broken Sword II, reviewed below), time has not been especially kind to the PSone generation - even on the small screen, as the PSP amply demonstrates.
This week's Dead Space 2 not enough to fulfill your intergalactic space horror needs? Worry not, EA has your back. A mobile version of its action-packed nail-chewer hits the App Store today.
A new Dead Space game will be available on the App Store on 25th January, EA has announced.
Mirror's Edge, EA's 2008 parkour-flavoured FPS, "fell short" of the publisher's expectations.
A new Dead Space game for the iPad will launch in December, EA has revealed.
Like one of its horrible beastly necromorphs, Dead Space 2 is creeping up on us with unnerving silence. EA's action horror is out in three months, which means it's time to sit down with creator Visceral Games and find out what the hell is going on in here.
Development on a sequel to Dante's Inferno is not underway, developer Visceral Games has revealed, and there are no immediate plans to get started.
Joystiq asked Visceral's Zach Mumbach whether we'd be seeing adaptations of the remaining sections of Dante's Divine Comedy.
"I'm sure that if enough people are like, 'I got 60 dollars for Purgatory or Paradiso,' then we would make that game. But I don't know. I don't get to make those decisions."
Dead Space 2 isn't out until January next year, but developer Visceral Games hopes it'll be successful enough for EA to sound the call for a third game in the action horror series.
A new job advert has kicked off speculation that the next Dead Space game could feature an online multiplayer mode.
Microsoft has confirmed that Dead Space and Colin McRae: DiRT will both be made available on Xbox 360's Games on Demand service today.
Electronic Arts is working on two more Dead Space games plus a movie adaptation of the survival horror series.
Visceral Games boss Glen Schofield has suggested that used-game sales doubled the amount of people who played Dead Space.
"We also did studies on sort of how many unique users there were on the PSN network and Xbox Live and realised, you know what, there's over three million people that have played Dead Space," Schofield told the EA Underground podcast (thanks Kotaku).
"Maybe we've only sold one and a half million or whatever the number is, but there's something there because that means that, okay, there were a lot of used sales."
EA Games president Frank Gibeau reckons that losing the James Bond licence brought out the best in Visceral Games, formerly EA Redwood Shores.
EA technical director Patik Patel may have unwittingly confirmed the existence of a Dead Space sequel.
EA Games Europe's Patrick Söderlund reckons that Dead Space and Mirror's Edge will be considered "successful" based on their lifetime performance, despite a slow start contributing to a massive loss in the company's third quarter.
Sony has stuffed the PlayStation Store with new content but there is still no sign of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
EA has let the birds fly on a brand new Dead Space and Mirror's Edge game.
Silver-haired EA boss John Riccitiello has hinted that more Dead Space and Mirror's Edge games are likely to appear.
"We're very pleased with a lot of our new franchises this year. Spore... [looks like an] ongoing franchise, Dead Space looks like a long-term big winner for us... Warhammer will continue to perform very well," said John Riccitiello in a financial call, listened to by Gamasutra.
EA plans to offer a Dead Space demo tomorrow on Xbox Live and on Thursday from the PlayStation Store.
EA will release bundles of Dead Space downloadable content for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this Thursday, 13th November.
Eurogamer's dogged, relentless coverage of the latest in cross-platform console development continues into this mammoth 15th round, where six more high-profile games are torn apart to the sounds of rage, applause and occasional reasoned debate from the internet assembled.
Of course, you all know the deal by now. Key to our quest is mastery of the video outputs of the respective consoles. Zero-compromise 24-bit full-range RGB captures from the HDMI ports of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 allow us to produce the best comparison screen grabs, while Eurogamer's h264-equipped video player means the best in streaming video (make sure you have that 'high quality' feature enabled). And if all that isn't good enough, the high-def captures in all their 720p 60FPS majesty can be downloaded for playback on fast PCs, Xbox 360 or PS3 via the author's blog where similar content for the technically obsessed can also be found. [Enough plugs. - Ed]
In terms of releases covered this time around, we've centred on a collection of the most recent, interesting or controversial titles:
Electronic Arts has dropped hints about sequels to Battlefield: Bad Company, Army of Two and Dead Space.
EA has told Eurogamer that Dead Space downloadable content released for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the horror title will not go live in Europe until 23rd October, the day before the game's European release.
If you're in the future, and you work on a spaceship, and you get a call telling you to go and check out some remote colony because contact has mysteriously been lost, do yourself a favour and call in sick that day. Skive for your life. The only reason space colonies, and the drifting spacecraft spookily orbiting above them, stop communicating is because they've been overrun by bloodthirsty monsters. This is scientific fact.
Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what has happened to the USG Ishimura, a deep space mining vessel - or "planet cracker" - which has been tearing up chunks of some distant dead world in the quest for greater profits. When it all goes eerily silent, the crew of the USG Kellion are despatched to investigate and you, as petty engineer Isaac Clarke, are along for the ride. Isaac has a personal reason to hope all is well on the Ishimura. His girlfriend, Nicole, is on the ship and the last contact he had with her was a disturbing plea for help.
Needless to say, things don't start well. The Kellion shuttle crashes, and the investigators are attacked by fleshy shambling things as soon as they enter the Ishimura. Isaac is separated from the two other survivors - computer technician Kendra Daniels and gruff military man Sgt. Zach Hammond - and must make his way through the bowels of the ruined vessel to organise an escape plan.
EA has presented the internet with an Ultra Special Edition of Dead Space that costs a chunky USD 150.
EA has pulled the release of Dead Space forward another week in the US, and now plans PS3 and 360 releases on 14th October, followed by the PC version on the 20th.
EA has announced that sci-fi survival horror Dead Space is to launch a week earlier than planned.
EA has signed a top Hollywood agency to help turn game IP into blockbuster movies and television series.
Unless it's Madden under that welding mask, EA must be serious about adding variety to its portfolio of familiar licences. Dead Space isn't based on a sport, a children's novel, or a sport in a children's novel. It's not family friendly - it's not particularly friendly at all - and it's certainly not casual. In fact, it's a chance to remember how broad EA's output can be: this isn't from the company that made endless Sims 2 expansions, it's from the company that sits back patiently waiting for Spore to come to the boil, and recently allowed Criterion to drive Burnout so far out of its comfort zone.
Electronic Arts is teaming up with film company Starz Media to produce an animated movie based on survival horror game Dead Space.
Electronic Arts is planning to show off titles such as Spore, Dead Space and Boom Blox at this year's Sci-Fi London festival.
Good news, PC gamers! That expression is probably a Googlewhack by now, but here is some anyway: EA has told Eurogamer that Dead Space will be out on 31st October on PC.
EA's upcoming science-fiction shooter Dead Space will be released in Europe and the US on 31st October for PS3 and 360, the publisher announced today, although there's no word on the PC version.
Full disclosure: I love Event Horizon. I own the odd-looking limited edition box set DVD, and cherish it despite it being precisely the wrong size to fit on any DVD shelves. I've seen it sufficiently often that I can probably lip-sync to most of the really good scenes.
Electronic Arts' promising survival horror game Dead Space was being shown off in a suitably creepy basement in London this week - and we couldn't help but notice that hero Isaac Clarke is sporting an ability that he's definitely picked up from Gordon Freeman's playbook.
EA has confirmed that Dead Space will appear on PC, and says downloadable content for all three versions is under way.
Speaking exclusively to Eurogamer Germany, executive producer Glen Schofield also revealed the story would not finish there, opening the door to future sequels. Shock.
"I would definitely like to make future Dead Space games," said Schofield, probably through Gordon the Gopher. "I'd love for this to become a well established franchise; we've created a huge and rich back story and universe, so other games could easily be made."
Spooky broken spaceships.
EA has let fly new details for Dead Space, the survival horror game due next autumn on 360 and PS3.
It turns out the team handling its creation is EA Redwood Shores, previously responsible for The Sims, The Godfather and Lord of the Rings.
It all takes place in deep space. You fill the boots of Isaac Clarke, an engineer on a routine maintenance trip to a mining vessel. But the dodgy communications system you're on your way to fix soon turns out to be the least of your worries.
EA has stomped its giant money-filled boots into the world of survival-horror today by confirming to us it's working on a new game called Dead Space.
Details are hidden like zombies in cupboards at the moment, with a big reveal feature due to air in the latest issue of magazine Game Informer, which describes it as sure hit for fans of films like Event Horizon.
Apparently a "renegade team" at EA is making the title, which will be "the most chilling sci-fi horror game the world has ever seen".