Before you take down the terror in Dead Space 3 on February the 8th, take a look back on Isaac Clarke's journey so far.
In four parts, the Dead Space Journey Through Terror series charts the evolution of the Dead Space series to date - its story, its gameplay and its scares, and also provides a glimpse at what the next chapter has in store for Isaac Clarke in Dead Space 3. The second episode of the mini series focuses on the art of scares.
As any engineer knows, a great creation is made up of many components, much like the human body and all its vital organs. The Dead Space series relies on many elements to make Isaac Clarke’s journey a compelling one; and if the story is the brains and gameplay its limbs, then the art direction must be at its heart.
Lighting in Dead Space is almost a character in itself; alive and always reacting to Isaac’s presence. Lights can direct player focus to specific objects or locations, give some small comfort in the dark, offer tactical assistance, or even provide tension through their utter unreliability.
The lighting is always changing, either fading, flashing or changing colour, creating an air of instability and tension. To match the shattered scenery of the Ishimura and The Sprawl, most lights seem dingy; yellowed and decayed. Rather than the bright reds and blues we’ve come to expect from sci-fi stories, Isaac’s path is lit with aged yellows and whites, as though these space stations have been lost in time.
The technology used by Isaac and the other characters also seems old and broken down, as if it could short-circuit at any moment. Since the last time Isaac spoke with Nicole was through a grainy, static-filled log shown at the start of Dead Space 2, video static and interference also play an important role in the Marker’s distorted vision of her.
Much of the technology in Dead Space 3 takes this feeling of brokenness a step further, as a lot of it is from an expedition lost 200 years prior to the events of the series. The buildings are falling apart, the doors screech when they open, and everywhere there is decay.
Each of the locations of Dead Space, The USG Ishimura, The Sprawl and now Tau Volantis, have their own unique design, but gothic-style architecture is prominent. Buildings feature protruding ribs, long wandering corridors, and vast underbellies; mimicking human body structure in their appearance.
But the true terror of Dead Space lies with the Necromorphs. These hideous, twisted visions of humanity exist only to kill, and yet the tiniest glimmer of the people they once were still exists in their clothes and corrupted faces. Their bodies have been bent, broken and repurposed from dead flesh to slash, gut and gore.
From the hulking Brutes to the nightmarish Lurkers, each and every Necromorph has been designed to terrify and horrify, as they haunt dark spaces in search of victims.
But thanks to lighting, location and sound, even when the Necromorphs aren’t visible, their presence is felt by Isaac every step of the way.
But he isn’t going down without a fight...
Join us tomorrow for Dead Space | Journey Through Terror Part 3 of 4 | Core Gameplay Features
Watch The Previous Episode:
Dead Space | A Journey Through Terror Part 1 of 4 | Isaac Clarke's Journey