Visceral's DEAD SPACE 4 Would Have Featured A Female Protagonist And Non-Linear Gameplay

Visceral may be dead, but their vision of Dead Space 4 still lives on, featuring a female protagonist, greater threats in zero-g environments and non-linear gameplay focused on scavenging abandoned ships...

Electronic Arts made the decision to close down Visceral Games, the studio behind games like Dante's Inferno and Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, on October 17, 2017. Months before the closure, Visceral had been working on a secret action game set in the Star Wars universe codenamed Ragtag, a Battlefield spin-off titled Hardline and a sequel to the studio's beloved horror trilogy - Dead Space 4.

When it comes to Dead Space, the end of Isaac Clarke's trilogy launched in February 2013 and nothing suggests that EA is interested in continuing the horror series without Visceral. According to Ben Wanat, who was creative director of Dead Space and is now creative director at Crystal Dynamics (possibly working on the secret Avengers game), the company had some fascinating ideas for Dead Space 4.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Wanat revealed that the game was supposed to pick up where Dead Space 3 left off as the player would have scavenged supplies in order to survive. "The notion was you were trying to survive day to day against infested ships, searching for a glimmer of life, scavenging supplies to keep your own little ship going, trying to find survivors," Wanat explained.


"We would have finessed a lot of existing mechanics," Wanat said. "The flotilla section in Dead Space 3 hinted at what non-linear gameplay could be, and I would have loved to go a lot deeper into that." Visceral used to think about creating a hybrid between a chapter format, and the non-linear style the team wanted to go for. "You'd start to form a picture of what happened in that region while fighting through scores of Necromorphs from ship to ship. And you'd learn a new, critical bit of plot info along with the means to Shock to a couple of nearby sectors," Wanat continued. "The further the player would get in the game, the broader their exploration options would be."

The team understood that Dead Space 3's crafting system went too far and took away from the synergy that made the weapons special. "I think in our exuberance to really lean into Isaac's mechanic background, we managed to diminish that synergy with the Dead Space 3 crafting system," he said. Naturally, DS4 would have featured new Necromorphs the player would be using these weapons on.

"The problem with all of the ground-based enemies was that they couldn't follow you through zero-g and that made them much less threatening," Wanat explained. "But make a zero-g enemy that can snake through zero-g corridors, propel itself in open space, and grapple with the player to tear off his mask and eat his face? Then I think you'd have yourself a good old time."


Visceral imagined Ellie Langford, not Isaac Clarke, as the protagonist of Dead Space 4. Lanford debuted in Dead Space 3 as one of the survivors of the Necromorph outbreak aboard the Titan Station, Sprawl. "With the apocalypse, there was the opportunity for a clean break," Wanat said. "It wouldn't be necessary for the story going forward to include any of them." He also said he'd have loved to do a game with Ellie at the helm and had always "imagined her as the protagonist of Dead Space 4".
During the rushed development of Dead Space 3, Viseral Games had realized that the fourth entry in the beloved horror series will probably never happen. "After the third game, some folks stayed on to finish up the DLC, but the rest needed to move on to help other projects," Wanat said. "At this point, it was pretty clear that Dead Space 3 was going to be the last instalment."
Wanat, like many Dead Space fans, still hopes it may one day return. "You never know. Someone might look back at the old EA catalogue one day and say, 'Whatever happened to Dead Space? Maybe we should bring that back'," Wanat concluded. Considering that Dead Space is not the best material to turn it into a "game as a service," the series will remain dead, just like Dead Space's universe...

Journey across space to the icy planet of Tau Volantis with Isaac Clarke and Sgt. John Carver to discover and destroy the source of the Necromorph outbreak. Comb the harsh environment for raw materials and scavenge parts to create the ultimate customized weapons and survival tools – you’ll need them if Issac and Carver hope to make it off the planet alive. And Necromorphs are just one of many enemies they’ll face this time around. Overcome avalanches, treacherous ice climbs, violent wilderness, and an army of deadlier, more evolved enemies on your mission to save mankind from the impending apocalypse.

Dead Space 3 launched back in 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox One and PC.
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