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Visceral "nerfed" tough Dead Space 2 levels

Initial concepts "harder, longer, more complicated".

Dead Space 2 developer Visceral Games toned down a number of the title's stages when playtesters struggled to progress through the game, according to one of its developers.

Speaking in a Q&A on EA's own site, as spotted by OXM, combat and control designer Brian Bartram suggested that early concepts for last year's survival horror sequel asked much more from the player than in the finished game.

"Oh, definitely. You should have seen some of the levels and puzzles in Dead Space 2," he said.

"Some players would love for us to have kept them harder, longer and more complicated. But when two or three people in a ten person playtesting session just can't get past it, we have to 'nerf' it. But that's just a playtesting example."

Bartram went on to explain that AAA game development is frequently a "benevolent struggle" between design and production.

"Design wants a giant game with all kinds of cool stuff in it. Production wants a game that will actually ship. When they compromise, things have to be cut away, reduced, and scoped down. But this process should ideally distill a game to its core - the real foundation of a game.

"For game mechanics, these become the known 'pillars' of the game - the three to five mechanics that will be used frequently and which are often mixed together to form the bulk of the game's experience."

Dead Space 3 is rumoured to currently be in development, with reports suggesting the game, or a significant portion of it, will be set on an ice planet.

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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