LOS ANGELES — Dead Space 2 is the Wii-exclusive prequel to Electronic Arts’ gripping, ballsy horror action game. The original Dead Space was announced here at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last year, and to see a second game already well through development “" set for a Sept. 29 release “" is impressive and shows EA’s dedication to the genre and to this new intellectual property.
Blast had the chance to play Dead Space Extraction at E3, checking out the two player co-op mode with Chase Colasonna from Fortyseven Communications.
I also had the chance to chat with Steve Papoutsis, senior producer at EA’s Visceral Games, the studio behind Dead Space, Dante’s Inferno, and other hot titles.
The game is on a rail. There are tons of cut scenes and lots of story tidbits that reveal themselves as you progress. Papoutsis told me that they weren’t going for an arcade game feel, but seconds through the first level I was thinking “Time Crisis,” and I stand by the comparison.
The visuals are impressive, especially for a Wii game, and the co-op mode is fun, with tons of weapons and powerups that the players can share. The arcade feel actually works very well for the game, so it was surprising to hear that EA is shying away from that label. They are really going for a thick plot that sucks you in, and though I didn’t get that far in Extraction, I’ll buy the argument.
One thing I like is that there are puzzles throughout the game that the players have to complete together in order to advance. This adds to the game significantly with a bit of cerebral exercise, though it’s mostly about moving the Wiimote in the right direction.
But the main thing is that the game is fun and lets you jump quickly into the action, like raining molten fire down on some serious baddies.
Q&A with Visceral Games’ Steve Papoutsis:
Blast: So this is the Dead Space prequel. What does the Nintendo Wii add to this game?
Steve Papoutsis: So right off the bat, the Nintendo Wii brings a whole new kind of design thinking to the game. You have the unique Wii Remote and the nunchuck controls “" you have to really think about how you’re going to use those. So for Extraction, it’s just a perfect analogue for pointing at the screen and shooting. The controls first and foremost are the big difference.
Blast: Dead Space is still a fairly new product. Where do you want to take this IP from here?
SP: Well right now I’m personally, solely focused on extraction, but I’d love to see more games in the Dead Space universe in the future.
Blast: Were you going for an arcade feel with this game “" a kind of classic shooter game?
SP: No. Our goal with Extraction was to try to deliver on the same atmosphere, mood and visuals that Dead Space had. The way that extraction plays, you’ll notice that it’s not just a shoot-’em-up every five seconds. There’s areas where there’s pacing and story and there’s puzzles and different things that bring innovation to this type of game.
Blast: What do you think is the best part about the game so far? What should fans be looking for?
SP: My favorite feature is co-op. It’s really great to be able to play with a friend. When we started making the game, one of our goals was to make sure that it was easy to play with a friend. Jump right in. That was one of our goals. It’s really fun playing with a friend, making up different strategies and piecing the story together.