Updated: Dead Space Is Isn’t Pining For The Fjords

Little did they realise

Update: despite earlier declining to comment, EA have since told Eurogamer that the report is “patently false”, while Viceral’s UI lead has tweeted that “The reports of our death were greatly exaggerated.” Perhaps it would have been better to say that when a whole bunch of people asked the first time?
Update 2: EA’s Peter Moore has claimed, in comments on GI.biz, that the entire story was made up by Videogamer in the pursuit of traffic. Who knows the truth? Certainly, we shouldn’t have run the story here without some kind of confirmation – frankly, I let myself be too guided by the fact EA were initially giving out ‘no comment’ comments. Live, learn, update posts.

It’s not pinin’! It’s passed on! This franchise is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! Its metabolic processes are now ‘istory! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible! It’s f-ckin’ snuffed it! This is an ex-franchise!

This post brought to you by a sense of humour from 1969. You know us Brits, always with our Monty Python gags. Perhaps it’s the only way I know how to pay tribute to Dead Space, the EA action series which has reportedly uh, taken a holiday in the wake of lacklustre sales for the recent third game.

Videogamer today cites sources as claiming Dead Space 4 canned while in pre-production at Visceral Games. Lower-than-expected DS3 sales were blamed, and allegedly will also lead to a ‘restructuring’ of Visceral. Restructuring’s a funny word, because it sounds a bit as thought something is being built. In fact, it usually means things – specifically, people – are taken away. Videogamer is also reporting the outright closure of Visceral’s Montreal studio. God speed, gentle developers.

I can’t say I’m particularly sorry, which isn’t (for once) out of spite for DS3’s microtransactionpocalypse, and instead because, well, it’s not a particularly ambitious action series, is it? I mean, the first two games are pretty good but they’ve done what they set out to do, and we’re not exactly bereft of guns and space-monsters, so if it clears the way for something else that’s not so bad. Big if, I guess.

Also alleged is a troubled development for Dead Space 3, in which some of its more notorious aspects (generic ammo, microtransactions, a more straight-up run’n’gun approach) were reputedly due to publisher stipulations. This would seem to to tally with recent EA comments about the major role microtransactions will play in “all our games” going forward.

Dead Space 3’s sales weren’t terrible, and it even managed to top the UK games charts, but with sales some 26% lower than Dead Space 2’s. That’s not what a large business entity wants from its franchises – growth is the only success that counts for a megacorp, so ruthlessness would scarcely be any surprise.

None of this is confirmed of course, and even if a Dead Space 4 design has been canned it doesn’t mean that another one won’t appear at some point. As you’ll see across the web, EA’s been telling assorted sites who inquire about this that it doesn’t comment on rumour or speculation, so I shall allow myself to be governed by laziness this time.


  1. Meat Circus says:

    If only it had more microtransactions. :(

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Jim Sterling had some comments on twitter that I think I agree with. “Dead Space failure isn’t about microtransactions, it’s about bloated publishers killing middle-tier games and needing every game to be huge.”

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Yeah, basically this.

        • Lars Westergren says:

          Also “Welcome to the last years of Rome, console gaming. Have fun.” His argument is that PC will not be as affected by the downturn as it is a more diverse market, not as dominated by the output of a few big publishers.

      • RobinOttens says:

        “… needing every game to be huger” When topping sales charts isn’t even enough to satisfy them, I don’t know what is. : ( <- YOU SEE THAT EA, I PUT AN UNHAPPY SMILEY THERE TO SHOW MY DISSATISFACTION!

        I thought Dead Space 3 was A-OK by the way. Aside from the ridiculous last five chapters.

        • RakeShark says:

          If the chair I sat on was alright save for the five massive splinters on the seat rest I sat on, I would view it as less than a “A-OK seat”.

          I don’t know the length of DS3’s chapters, but five of them in a row is pretty damning.

          • RobinOttens says:

            Nah, it’s about 20% of the game, and overshadowed by the good stuff. The past two dead space games also had about that much of their contents that were better ignored.

            Most games’ last (or middle) 20% is better ignored.

      • Muzman says:

        Yeah ,pretty much. That was the talk from a lot of decent Kickstarters when asked “Why didn’t you go to a publisher?” and the answer was something like, even with a potentially large and demonstrable audience for these games, financers/publishers won’t commit unless they think there’s a good shot at something like a 300% return.

        Mid tier games are non-starters. (They will tip squillions down a CoD shaped hole however. See Homefront, Aliens: Colonial Marines etc etc)

        • chargen says:

          Not to sound like EA’s BFF or anything, but 300% is kind of standard for any product investment. You need 1/3 to cover the cost of development/manufacture of the product, 1/3 to cover the business overhead (sales, clerical, accounting, contracting, management, etc.), and hopefully the remaining 1/3 actually makes you money.

          • Muzman says:

            While I’m likely to misunderstand any offhand investment jargon they were probably using, isn’t that a 150% return on investment not a 300% return on investment?
            (as I said, I am fool enough to think they mean what they say even though “investment” can mean many things and only a fraction of actual costs. Seen that enough in movies)

          • P.Funk says:

            The irony is that their absurd conservative and unimaginative stipulations often do more to kill the marketability of the product.

            They spend huge chunks of money marketing these products then have to invent new forms of income, like microtransactions, to salvage a business model thats broken from the top down.

            Its the strangest blind spot publishers have. They refuse to “restructure” the one aspect that breaks the model – themselves.

            Not exactly a new thing. Big business trundles on but rarely does anything to advance the cause. Usually they fall mightily. One day EA… one day.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          More likely the 300% return has to do with a lot of projects being huge failures, not some evil plot. If 2 out of every three projects you fund fails you need the successes to be big successes. It is the same model Hollywood uses.

    • KikiJiki says:

      If only there had been microtransactions to unlock microtransactions. Then those microtransactions could have provided further revenue for the microtransactions that power the microtransactions.


    • Morlock says:

      If only we could talk to them!

    • Zogtee says:

      “…clears the way for something else that’s not so bad. ”

      Yes, quite. Because that’s totally how these things work.

      Just look at the magic EA has performed with Bioware, Maxis, and now the Dead Space franchise!

  2. Koozer says:

    The worst outcome I can think of is that the people against microtransactions didn’t buy it for that reason alone while people not fussed bought it anyway, so when EA look at their numbers the amount made off DLC looks reasonable, while overall sales were a bit pants.

    • Kar says:

      Microtransactions put me off playing a title. I used to buy every iteration of NHL Hockey, but one version, NHL11 I think it was introduced a slew of ‘earnable’ content that you basically had to play everyday for 12 hours a dayto unlock….or you could pay like £1.99.

      I am a completionist and that just did my OCD in and I refused to pay for it out of principle. It felt cynical too because there was the motiviation for the publisher to make things hard or unfun enough to make you want to pay for content.

      So I never bought another copy of NHL.I don’t know how many other people are like that, but if a bunch of content is ‘grindwarre…or payware’ I just don’t bother with the product.

      • Spacecraft says:

        What stinks is that people have no idea what the DLC in Dead Space 3 is actually like. It’s totally unobtrusive. My co-op partner had no idea the DLC store existed until I had to buy some DLC packs with IN-GAME resources and we needed to find a bench. And the in-game resources you can collect to buy the DLC packs come quite easily. The only crap you can buy with real money and only real money is basically “cheats” and other useless garbage.

        • Rumpel says:

          lets just make them wear star armbands. its totally unobstrusive. they can still walk around and everything!

    • Shuck says:

      I understand that industry sales are down about a quarter compared even to last year, so a 26% decrease in sales may not mean as much as we’d like it to. Sure, sequels usually see better sales , as they build on the awareness of previous marketing efforts, but a general downturn muddies the waters and prevents isolating the cause of the poor sales. In terms of deciding to cancel a series, the cause really doesn’t matter to EA, though.

  3. Meusli says:

    Next up Maxis to be restructured…

    • Bhazor says:

      “”Sims 4 to be reinvisioned to attract broader market” claims insider source”

      • Nallen says:

        Not enough DLC sales to microbial life I assume?

      • Javier says:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        The last things Maxis has done are Spore and Sim City. And I certainly expect Sim City to be a total disaster for pretty much the same essential reasons Spore was. And in both cases, it’s been a shame.

  4. DeanLearner says:

    Exec 1: As we can see from the chart, sales for Dead Space 3 featuring skinned knees, stubbed toes and excruciating migraines sold 26% less than Dead Space 2 featuring no skinned knees, no stubbed toes and no excruciating migraines.
    Exec 2: Hmm you know what that means don’t you?
    Exec 1: Indeed I do, people are DONE with Dead Space

    *Exec 3 pulls Room 101 lever*

    • The Dark One says:

      It’s one thing to dust off something creaky like Medal of Honor and try to copy Call of Duty. But to try to turn your science fiction survival horror title into an actiony shootfest in order to ape your other science fiction franchise?

      And then decide that you’ll need to sell five million copies to consider it a success, but then cut back on their budget throughout development? I’ve really got to hand it to Visceral thatthey managed to release anything functional.

  5. D3xter says:

    They also shut down “BioWare San Francisco”: link to venturebeat.com
    With BioWare Victory being back to Victory Games, BioWare Mythic being back to Mythic and BioWare Ireland being converted to general EA support center only the main studios remain for “redundancies”: Edmonton, Montreal and a severely weakened Austin that already had major cuts of over 200+ people after all that The Old Republic deal.

    I’m guessing Dragon Age 3 and next Mass Effect sales and reception will be the deciding factor if “BioWare” is allowed to creep along continuing to do what they do or not.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Pretty much what I was thinking too. Using the brand for the name recognition doesn’t work went you use it to put out crap.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the various arms of Bioware (and by extension EA) have gotten bloated with middle management. Something’s gone terribly wrong if a game with a track record of selling 2 1/2 million copies is suddenly expected to double it’s audience.

        Sucks, because the first people out the door are generally the hardest working. Best of luck to all those developers/QAs and anybody else who was let go in the since the feb. announcement.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      I for one, look forward to the day they finally put a stake through Bioware’s cantankerous undead heart. We’ve all known it was a vampire since the Doctors left.

    • Shuck says:

      “Bioware San Francisco” was one of their Facebook game studios (doing the Facebook DragonAge, I believe), so its closure is pretty irrelevant to actual, Bioware games, studios and operations.

  6. Hoaxfish says:

    Don’t forget, it had to sell 5 million to survive

    A neat reminder of when Kingdoms of Amalur had to sell 3 million to break even.

    • unimural says:

      Wow, that was quite an expectation.

      It’s been my understanding that EA is and has been in huge debt for ages, and that they’ve never quite gotten their business eggs in a proper basket, but that still doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. EA seems like such a bizzare company, with such short term strategic thinking that it’s a bit of miracle (read: sports games) that it hasn’t gone under.

      I do hope EA won’t go down. I don’t personally like EA, and they don’t make many games that interest me. However, I do think EA going down would be terrible for the gaming industry. It would cost a huge amount of jobs and it would make Actizzard the only behemoth of a publisher.

      • Prime says:

        On the contrary, I think EA’s death would only benefit gaming, as long as the reaction from the rest of the industry was to not make the same mistakes EA seem to do every time they release a game. They’ve been a force for ‘evil’ in gaming for too long. Instead of the cookie-cutter production-line behemoth thinking that every AAA publishers seems obsessed with, gaming needs to get back to smaller titles with creativity and flair. smaller outfits have been showing them the way for many years now -how to craft engaging titles, how to treat games as games, not ‘product’, how to interact with and respect customers…if EA do die they’ve only themselves to blame for their extreme myopia and arrogance.

        • unimural says:

          Large publishers will never bring gaming back to smaller titles with creativity and flair. I do think the indie market is both taking care of that and fairly healthy, all things considered.

          Now I understand that the determinants of your point of view were that a) the rest of the industry shouldn’t do what EA does and b) small games are great.

          I don’t believe EA dying would change anything. Actizzard would still make CoD, Ubisoft would still use Uplay, some people would still play Farmville. However, this is mostly a belief vaguely based on the feeling that the lure of CoD or Sims level of success will always draw big bucks both from customers and corporations.

          I sometimes like large games. Huge, sprawling messes. They way I see it though, for an independent developer, there aren’t that many publishers to partner up with. If you’re making a larger game you need a publisher. There’s Ubisoft, Take Two, Square Enix, Sega, EA and Activision Blizzard. Perhaps I’m forgetting some. Sure, there’s plenty of smaller, but still sizable publishers, like Bethesda/ZeniMax, Koch (Deep Silver), Paradox or Focus for example. However, they usually have the resources for a very limited number of titles at one time. Cutting EA out would certainly limit the options for the few remaining independent developers shopping for a publisher.

          • Llewyn says:

            Are EA such an option in any case? Genuine question, not being snarky. Some possibly relevant questions that I don’t know any answers to:

            – What proportion of EA’s output is published/distributed work by independently-owned studios, and what proportion is work by wholly- or partially-owned subsidiaries of EA?

            – What proportion of those independent studios’ games are funded by EA, and what proportion are merely distributed after completion?

            – What proportion of EA’s spend on game development funding is spent by independent studios, and what proportion is spent by EA subsidiaries?

            I’m going to steer clear of secondary issues, such as the extent of creative supervision or requirements for ownership of IP, for the moment. Even without these issues I’m not sure that EA are doing much for large independent games.

          • unimural says:

            Good questions, I don’t know the answers, except that yes, the portions are very minimal. Then again, there’s not may independent studios. If you look at the wikipedia list, most of the developers fall outside of the scope of the discussion.

            link to en.wikipedia.org

            Non-subsidiary games that EA has published in the past three or so years that I can see would be Crysis games, Brütal Legend (yeah, Activision, lawsuits etc.), Syndicate, APB, the McGee Alice game, Bulletstorm and Kingdoms of Amalur. And the Valve games but there EA was just a distributor for sure. I’m sure I missed some. So not that many, yes. Especially considering that excluding handheld/Facebook stuff EA published at least 24 games in 2012.

            But how many non-subsidiary games did Activision, or Ubisoft publish? I’m sure there’s more, but for Activision the only games that satisfy the criteria of not being studio-owned and having reasonable scope were the NASCAR games from Eutechnyx and the 2012 Battleship movie tie-in. For Ubisoft, there’s the Call of Juarez series, Might and Magic and Brothers in Arms that I can find.

            Of course all of this is just splitting hairs. The point is, there aren’t many big publishers and there aren’t many independent studios. I cannot see how loosing EA would be a good thing for the studios. Less publishers means the publishers can dictate the terms of the agreements even better.

            We’ll see. I suppose I just get a bit weirded out when people wish that their hobby would die a little.

          • P.Funk says:

            unimural said “Large publishers will never bring gaming back to smaller titles with creativity and flair.”

            Right, so they have to die to free up the IP’s for smaller publishers. Most big publishers started with the creativity and flair that sold so well and slowly watered it down to maintain the market share of growing millions upon millions.

            The greatest danger is that we think that big sales equals mediocre. Its not purely true. Its just true now the way they approach it. Inception was an enormous film, very popular, and yet it was a pretty good film all in all by modern crap hollywood standards. Same with the reborn Batman films. Triple A doesn’t need to be crap, it just need to have the right sources backing it and sadly right now the bulk of our publishing giants need to die.

            You know how it works right, bloated corpses of the dead can fertilize the verdant fields of tomorrow’s regenesis etc etc.

            Imagine how much great IP would become available if EA had to auction everything off! :D

      • MOKKA says:

        Do we really want an industry which nowadays is based on exploiting not only their employees, but also their customers, to continue existing in its current state?

        • The Random One says:

          No. Let it burn; the ashes of their timbers shall fertilize the grounds for what grows next.

  7. Agricola says:

    Short of doing something sensational with this 3rd game, I don’t need how they could expect anything other than a drop off in sales. The release of DS2 was a big deal because the first game was a true survival horror and showed lots of potential. People gave a shit about seeing what happened with the sequel. But everyone was expecting (and got) a by the numbers shooter for DS3. With so many other great shooters out now, the only way was down.

    Im not sorry to see the end of this franchise because of the way its gone. It would only ever be a COD in space every year from now on anyway, had it continued.

  8. Screamer says:

    So they stick in stuff people wouldn’t like, change the game to piss-off the fans, and then can it if said fans didn’t go out in droves to buy it?

    EA seem to be run by a pack of clowns, with no talent for the industry they are in, and are in power because that is the position they find themselves in. Very similar to Wall Street I imagine…

    • drewski says:

      EA’s model is basically that everything has to be FIFA, The Sims or Battlefield.

      As soon as you prove you’re not going to be FIFA, The Sims or Battlefield, you get canned.

  9. solidsquid says:

    So, how long til Dead Space Reloaded, it’s first (of many) reboots?

    • RedViv says:

      Reloaded? What? No. It will be called “Dead Space”, of course. Anything else would not make sense.

      • Koozer says:

        What, no subtitle? Are you quite mad?

        • RedViv says:

          Oh yeah, 2008 called, it wants its trend back. Subtitles, pah.

        • USER47 says:

          Subtitles are out. Reboots with the same name as the first game in series are in now…

          • Milky1985 says:

            Don’t forget to give the sequel to the game in your rebooted series the same name as a sequel to the game in the original series , like say “Most Wanted”, for added confusion when PC gamers need to google for patch notes and fixes.

        • brau says:

          Maybe it can be just called “DS”

      • P.Funk says:

        No no no… it’ll be Dead Space: Reborn.

        See that play on words? This marketing scheme, brought to you by $97 million in fees from EA’s marketing department. Don’t worry, bulk of that should be passed on as debt to the developer.

        Part 1.1 out next fall! For part 1.2 pre-order the pre-alpha build now, only $4.99.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Dead Space Reloaded looks like something on tpb

  10. tikey says:

    So, are you saying that Dead Space is like a parrot?

  11. mouton says:

    So, it’s out of the rotation, then?

  12. drewski says:

    I think I got less and less interested in Dead Space as the series progressed, and now that it’s a fairly generic if somewhat entertaining sci-fi shooter that has almost completely shed whatever horror influences it had, I can’t say I’m going to lament this too much.

    Besides, it’s one less EA franchise for me to have any remote interest in.

  13. Themadcow says:

    Knowing EA, I think it’s safe to say that Dragon Age 3 will now contain elements of sci-fi survival horror.

    Y’know, to catch the demographic.

    • Buemba says:

      Wouldn’t surprise me. Now that I think about it, they tried to Mass Effectfy Dragon Age 2, it didn’t work and the game alienated a lot of fans of the first game. They try to Mass Effectfy Dead Space 3, it doesn’t work and the game alienates a lot of fans of the previous games.

      Bet they’re still going to keep trying.

    • Nick says:

      Don’t know why it would, Dead Spac 3 didn’t..

  14. goatmonkey says:

    I wonder if EA will even bother being creative in the future their attempts with Mirrors Edge, Dead Space and buying Bioware don’t really seem to have turned out the way they wanted.

    They spend for to long chasing what is already popular to ever hope to set a trend themselves.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      The problems with those were not the ‘being creative’ part, though…

  15. Maxheadroom says:

    1/ Take a perfectly good IP
    2/ Call of Duty-ify it (because Call of Duty sells millions so anything in the same vein has to sell millions too, right?)
    3/ Can franchise when sales plummet becaus eobviously that IP has ran it’s course

    Next up, Farming Simulator 2014! You and fellow farmer team up in first person to fend off nazi (or possibly zombie) farmers out to steal your crops with AK-47s and grenades! Pre order now for a TF2 hat or something!

    • mouton says:

      Dead Space was never a “perfectly good IP”. It was always a generic horror-y TPP console shooter. An okay game for some, but nothing special at all.

      • nanowired says:

        Dead Space 3 is jokingly referred to as Gears of Dead Space War 3.

    • nanowired says:

      I think that the current trend is to actually take a Generic Cover-based Shooter, grab an old franchise, and shoehorn it in..

      Max Payne, Dead Space 3, POSSIBLY Hitman Absolution – I have to actually play it to pass further JUDGEMENT on it. Same for Syndicate.

  16. Buemba says:

    I used to want a Mirror’s Edge 2 so bad, but I’m not confident the EA of today would be capable of releasing a worthy successor to that game.

    “Can’t make that jump? Would you like to pay $2.99 for a one time use trampoline?”

    EDIT: Huh, looks like Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3 are already 30% off on Origin literally days after release. Guess they’re both selling pretty bad here.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Also it’ll be co-op with a cover based shooting system

      • Ignorant Texan says:

        And zombies.

        • Sander Bos says:

          And it will be called Mirror’s Edge without any suffix or number behind it.

          But seriously, I play Mirror’s edge from time to time, it’s a game I love to hate. And I don’t really understand why people would want a sequel. The graphics still hold up very well, for that style it would be hard to improve upon. So just more levels? Or more story? I really like FEAR but I don’t need any sequels (they do exist) because I just play the original over and over again.

          • mouton says:

            More levels. The story sucked horribly. Only the setting was nice.

  17. ColonelClaw says:

    I don’t get it. Surely if you take a respected survival horror game series, turn it into a generic action fps and add microtransactions, sales should go up, not down?

    I tell you, those gamers are so fickle.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Hey, if Lost Planet 2 sold well, I don’t see why Dead Space 3 looking like a new Lost Planet wouldn’t.

      Now if only they can get Mass Effect 4 to be Halo 5, Dragon Age 3 to be Skyrim 2, and cows to be horses.

  18. gibb3h says:

    of course, the fact that Dead Space 3 isn’t on Steam couldn’t possibly have anythign to do with lower sales…

    • Zogtee says:

      The biggest digital distribution platform in the world? Why on earth would we want our games there?

    • welverin says:

      Unfortunately I doubt PC sales have that much of an impact. Certainly not enough to double the sales of previous games in the series.

      • TsunamiWombat says:

        Not enough to double, no. But they can certainly make a dent. Not that anyone would know since STEAM REFUSES TO RELEASE IT’S FIGURES LIKE A BUNCH OF JERKHEADS

        • DrScuttles says:

          If we are to believe that Steam does make 70% of PC sales, then maybe EA would have shifted a couple more electronic crates of Dead Space 3 had it been sold there.
          But then isn’t it Valve’s DLC policy incompatible with EA’s? So in a way… perhaps, did Gabe kill Dead Space?

        • Grey Ganado says:

          The right to publish Steam sale statistics lies with the respective publishers.
          Still makes you wonder why Valve doesn’t release their own.

      • P.Funk says:

        People seem to underestimate the value of the PC platform. There was actually an article on RPS recently that demonstrated that the PC is still 1/3 of the major gaming platform market. Basically its an equal part if you consider consoles not as one market but as 2 (Xbox and PS 1/3 each).

        They pretend the console is somehow more important, but anybody who ever juggles money or plays to win in the financial world knows that even margins as small as a few percent or less matter.

        33%? Pfft, PC still gets taken very seriously. They just have huge corporate executive hissies that its a more open platform and therefore harder to control than a proprietary console OS.

        • Kamos says:

          Not to mention some PC gamers are so entitled that they actually want their games to be playable on launch, to not contain always online DRM, to be innovative, etc. We’re just complete hippies.

  19. Harlander says:

    I read something somewhere which opined that Dead Space could only get less and less horror-y as the series went on, as the protagonist had already survived Necromorph events twice and had clearly developed a fair sense of how to deal with them

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think there was the option to simply change the main character. Make Isaac a mythical space hero at the other end of the galaxy, and have a new person with their own horror ride.

      You get to keep the monsters, the look and feel, everything except being called Isaac. Perhaps he could be a space-plumber this time.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I thought the second game did a pretty smart thing by focusing the threat of the necromorphs on everyone but Isaac. He’s survived them and knows how to deal with them, sure, but now they’ve been unleashed on a space station full of helpless civilians. DS2 works to make you feel horrified about what’s happening to everyone else on Titan Station since Isaac and the player aren’t so easy to threaten any more.

    • Lemming says:

      I agree. I think it could’ve worked better had Dead Space been a series of science fiction-horror games with different settings and protagonists. Make Dead Space = Tales from the Crypt/Black Mirror/Outer Limits.

  20. psepho says:

    Here’s a suggestion, EA: let’s try ditching all of the fancy online connectivity, all the micro-this and coop-that and online the other. License some well-established engines and tools and for once try making a simple, self-contained game that doesn’t take 9000 hours to ‘complete’, aims to do one or two novel things really well, and doesn’t have to sell five million copies to ‘succeed’. Multiplayer, online and (even) microtransactions have their place but forcing all of this crap up perfectly decent single-player games is just burning money and killing the host to boot.

    For a company with their arms around plenty of leading talent, they seem to be fucking dumb about the creative process.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Sounds like Syndicate. Or Alice. Or the other 80 games EA puts out a year that don’t have tons of DLC or require multiplayer as a core feature.

  21. Danda says:

    Some executives should be fired TOO every time a game fails because of their meddling. Just saying.

  22. Arithon says:

    I propose an FPS where you go into the head office of EA and shoot worthless middle-men before they ruin any more games.
    Extra points for destroying the DRM floor, Micro-transaction lab and Origin departments.
    You get unlocks for preventing browser based interfaces and multi-platform versions and for shooting reviewers that give high scores for ad revenue.

  23. Deptfordx says:

    Personally my heart sank when i saw ‘Universal Ammo”, always a sign that a game franchise has taken a turn for the worse.

    I am playing it now, a rental copy. It’s ok so far, it does look great i’ll give it that.

  24. maximiZe says:

    Good riddance.

  25. TsunamiWombat says:

    “growth is the only success that counts for a megacorp”

    And therein lay the fundamental problem. Even if your turning a tidy profit, if it’s not better than last years you’re a miserable failure. Capitalism is running on an unsustainable bubble. You cannot have -ever increasing profits-. Eventually you reach market saturation and shit peters out.

    • Niko says:

      But of course it’s an unsustainable bubble, otherwise those executives will be forced to live in semi-luxury!

    • Lamb Chop says:

      Yeah. I’m looking forward to when we reach resource saturation.

      Also, some stats on semi-luxury: link to upworthy.com

      • Niko says:

        Oh my. Thanks for that video. I’d like to see one for my country now.

      • P.Funk says:

        The only thing that blew my mind is how many people don’t seem to realize how unfair things are.

        Explains why so many people hold onto political ideals that make no sense.

  26. ZyloMarkIII says:

    Dead Space had nowhere to go but action with Isaac at the helm. His character has developed to the point of, “Oh boy. Necromorphs. Shoot the limbs. Rinse. Repeat.” I have only played the first one, so my opinion may be a bit dated, but if they had retained that feel of isolation and claustrophobia, it might have done better rather than adding co-op (which is a feature a lot of games do not really need or do not implement well) and cultists with guns.

    This is going off on a tangent, but don’t be throwing around the megacorp word around yet. Wait until Lofwyr becomes the owner of Saeder-Krupp, then you can throw it around willy-nilly.

  27. kibble-n-bullets says:

    I think I’m starting to feel bad for developers getting their game published under EA’s banner. It’s like some bizarre ride-with-the-devil type thing: All the goodness gets sucked out of peoples hard work as they succumb to EA’s bidding, and when it’s gone all that’s left are worn franchises and worn employees. Happy day.

  28. theaborted says:

    Dear Visceral,

    Thank to you leaving a MASSIVE F**KING hole in the microtransactions, our sales are down. While Dead Space 3 might be seeming to do very well, because of your oversight, we haven’t got our greasy mitts on enough of the players credit card details.

    Henceforth, you are being shitcanned.

    Expect head office to send someone down shortly to personally collect all prospective transactions from your salaries and jobs,

    Keep up the good work,

    Lots a love,

  29. derella says:

    I’m quite worried about Bioware, to be honest. If EA is putting franchises that sell less than 5 million copies out to pasture… well, Dragon Age 3 will probably be the last in the series, even if it turns out to be amazing.

  30. clumsyandshy says:

    Shame, the first game was really good. Second one was mediocre. Oh well…

  31. Grey Ganado says:

    Spoiler Alert

    I had fun with it while it lasted and Isaac is dead anyway.

    • Doghaus says:

      goddammit you even said *spoiler alert* and I just read it anyway.

    • nuclearjudas says:

      *More spoilers:

      Well, there was that after-credits audio that hinted to him still being alive. Not that I care that much, though. Where would they go from killing moons? Killing gas giants?

  32. Kinth says:

    The Dead Space story (Abridged)

    Long ago in a galaxy of bad customer service yadda yadda yadda…. EA was doing some good for once and supporting new risky IP’s one of which was a game about some Space that is Dead.

    Dead Space was released and had critical and commercial success, not bad for a rookie IP and so a sequel was put into works. But for some reason EA thought the game being critically and commercially successful was not enough. “CODify it!” screamed evil emperor EA (Turns out he was from the dark side all along, this story to be divulged in 3 prequels when money is running short) he then hit Mr Visceral on the head with a long staff, some claim it was made of rolled up bank notes and was held together with the blood of old dead franchises.

    And so Dead Space 2 was released, it maintained some horror but also had lots of them shooty bits with corridors and enemy waves the 12 year old’s love (despite the game being 18+) “Hurrah” bellowed emperor EA as he looked over the sales figures for Dead Space 2 “These higher sales are down to CODifying it and certainly nothing to do with word of mouth about the first game leading to more people buying the second at launch!” Mr Visceral sobbed quietly to himself in the corner. “CODify it more!” The emperor demanded ” This time cut the horror, nobody wanted that and replace it with micro-transactions and co-op! Bitches love micro-transactions and co-op!”

    When Dead Space 3 did release there was no one there to buy it. emperor EA used the blood to hold his staff together and proclaimed the franchise dead.

    Prophecy has foretold that Emperor EA will use the staff to kill Mr Visceral and will cover up his murder of both Dead Space and Mr Visceral by claiming Space Pirates did it!

    The end….

  33. gurtana says:

    Alec Meer Wrote:

    I can’t say I’m particularly sorry, which isn’t (for once) out of spite for DS3′s microtransactionpocalypse, and instead because, well, it’s not a particularly ambitious action series, is it? I mean, the first two games are pretty good but they’ve done what they set out to do, and we’re not exactly bereft of guns and space-monsters, so if it clears the way for something else that’s not so bad. Big if, I guess.

    I don’t agree with this Alec.

    Personally speaking, I rather enjoyed the Dead Space games, precisely because I am rather fond of being scared witless by space-monsters. I remember the animated promotional movies for Dead Space 1 (on Xbox live) in particular that caught my attention precisely it had a very subdued, adult-centric narrative, taking nods from sci-fi horror movies like “Alien”, “Event Horizon”, and “The Thing” – and also from games like “Doom”. It was clearly a well thought out IP, and originally had a very distinct direction to itself.

    I think the first two Dead Space games were successful because they focussed on survival horror and psychological terror. This denotes a slower, more considered gaming-pace. Aside from the Dead Space IP, what actually occupies this realm currently in videogames? I can’t think of a single title that is currently being developed that meets all of Dead Space’s previous sci-fi survival horror criteria, so I do not really accept the argument that it was released into a saturated market for its genre.

    Turning my attention to EA, I would say that it’s very disappointing that they ran this franchise into the ground, and a huge reason is obviously because of their micro transactions (which they are insisting the public “want”, and are completely misinterpreting our purchase motives), but another reason (and more crucially) is they obviously wanted Dead Space to become something else: a sci-fi shooter. Fans can see that the horror aspects are not being maintained. I remember when I loaded up the Dead Space 3 demo and discovered I was on a snow world, the first thing that came into my mind was “Oh, this is EA doing Lost Planet…”

    My commiserations go out to team Visceral games, who had a great IP and didn’t deserve this, or the absurd expectations and manipulations of EA – who I doubt will learn any lessons, or understand that they as publishers are solely responsible for sabotaging Dead Space.

    • Caiman says:

      Yes, I loved the original Dead Space and it’s one of the few games I’ve replayed on a harder difficulty. The atmosphere makes this game, it’s unmatched in my opinion. That Dead Space 2 remains playable despite the unwelcome direction it took is due largely to the remaining atmosphere from the first game, especially when you revisit the past. Yet DS2 is a pale imitator of the original, nearly every decision they made to streamline the game or meet publisher requirements was a failure that sapped its strength. DS3 is clearly another step in that destructive direction, and I certainly won’t be buying it while it’s at full price. I’m sure it will have elements of what I loved about Dead Space, but I expect the rot to have further set in. Just another example where the people who most trusted EA’s new IP are the ones who get the least respect in the sequels.

  34. frightlever says:

    Is using another gaming website’s story as your primary source, without first getting confirmation from EA, in any way similar to actual journalism?

    • TCM says:

      No, but it sure is a lot like other games journalism.

      link to x-surface.tumblr.com

      Pretty disappointed in RPS for not learning from this sort of thing a month back. :/

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        “The games industry is the only one I can think of that will quite happily publish guesswork as news.”


  35. Barchester says:

    This just reminded me I had a dream last night in which I needed that exact Python quote for some reason or other. I’d quite forgotten about it until now.

    I loved the first Dead Space, liked the second, but the demo for the third part didn’t click with me, but I’ll be buying it sometime in the future when it’s cheaper. Too many good games coming out at the moment for me, and I guess I’ll be having some waiting to do in Simcity queues later this week.

  36. F3ck says:

    Dead Space (and much of 2…I’ve not even started 3 yet) was a good game. It was likely the closest to an Alien game as we’re going to get. Had atmosphere, unique (and fun) weaponry/combat, did some really smart things (anyone who’s played it knows the joy of stomping out a necro’s guts after he’s just caused you to fudge your Huggies).

    Maybe I’m a big pussy, but I thought DS & DS2 were fucking scary. I’m finishing DS2 right now and (maybe I want to like it so bad ’cause we got nothing else like it but) I keep my cat close…for protection…shit, worked for Ripley.

    Anyways, this really appears to be the death of EA’s last shred of imagination.

    • Retorrent says:

      Yeah save yourself some pain and stay away from DS3 it no where near the type of game DS and DS2 where. If you must play it I say wait for the bargain bin because this is going to head there real soon.

      Its a shame too because the first two scare the crap out of me this last one was just a yawn fest.

  37. x3m157 says:

    Well, people wanted horror, and they got action instead. The action game fans stayed away because of the horror, and the horror game fans stayed away because of the action.

  38. Retorrent says:

    Yeah the series was dead to me the minute I finished playing DS3. I played it waiting for it to get better, waiting for it to fill me with the sense of dread I got playing DS and DS2 , so much so I would have to take breaks to get myself together. But it never happened, it was a cookie cutter action game, it was a broken story that made it no where. It was a huge disappointment and I knew even if they made another DS game I would not be buying it.

  39. Megakoresh says:

    The only reason it didn’t sell well is because it’s EA. For example neither of my friends actually bought the game, even though we played a lot of DS1 and 2. And we all didn’t buy 3rd for the same reason: EA. I don’t buy EA games. And those of my friends that do didn’t buy DS3 because of what EA has done to it with micro transactions, forcing it on Origin (which is terrible and buggy) and, well, because it’s easy to convince people not to buy EA games.

    DS3 was a good game, definitely, which is even more credit to Visceral for managing to pull off making a good game EVEN under EA, which is truly a miracle. But buying this game supports EA and not Visceral and I would never spend money on an EA title.