Dead Space 2 was high up on many people's short lists coming out of E3. The game features slight tweaks to the core combat to make it more versatile, a revised zero gravity mechanic, and several action packed set pieces - check out our preview of Dead Space 2 for more. In addition, Gaming Union sat down with Visceral Games' Steve Papoutsis, otherwise known as the executive producer of the Dead Space franchise. In Part 1 of our interview, Papoutsis discussed what it took to make a sequel to Dead Space, Extraction coming to PlayStation 3 with Move support, and more.
Gaming Union: There was some uncertainty over whether the Dead Space franchise was going to be continued after the first game. How did that play out on your end? Did you ever have any doubts about being able to make a sequel?
Steve Papoutsis: When Dead Space came out we were totally floored by the critical reception from the people that reviewed it and all the gamers that played it. The outpouring of support was hugely positive for us as a team. So, I think [John Riccitiello (EA's Chief Executive Officer)] saw that and believed in the franchise. He actually really likes Dead Space, it's his favorite game. He gave us the support and that goes from John to Frank Gibeau, whose the head of the games label, all the way down to us at Visceral. It was huge to get the opportunity to [make a sequel]. Nothings a give-in, there's never a slam dunk when you're making games, things can change at the drop of a hat. So, it was fantastic to get the opportunity.
GU: So, do you feel Dead Space 2 happened due to support from the top?
Steve: Yeah, absolutely. Although, the thing I really want to underscore is that without the people that bought the game, supported it, and even wrote stories about it - the community at large and the media that supported it through great reviews - that's what gave us the opportunity. Seeing that opened a lot of people's eyes, saying 'Hey, people enjoy this, this is quality' and the company right now, Visceral certainly, is focused on making quality games. With Dead space the hard work that the team put in helped pave the way for more [from the series].
GU: Sony announced at their press conference that the Dead Space 2 Limited Edition on PS3 would include Dead Space: Extraction. How did that come about?
Steve: We showed [Sony] Dead Space 2 and they were just ecstatic about it, they wanted to be involved. So, we talked about it and since they had PlayStation Move in the works it seemed like a perfect union because Move maps really well for Extraction.
GU: Were there any additions or changes you made while porting Extraction over to Move?
Steve: Well, one thing we really focused on was making the controls as intuitive as possible. As people now know, Move has a bunch of different configurations - using the wand, and/or the sub-controller - so not only did we have to think about players using the two controllers, but we had to remember that some people may not have [the sub-controller]. We also had to make sure we could support the Dualshock. So, the big focus for us, aside from upgrading the visuals to HD, was making sure the controls were very intuitive and fun.
One of the things we found when making [Extraction] was that it's really easy to ask the player to do something crazy with motion controls, but that gets tiring, there's a lot of fatigue doing that. So, we really thought about [keeping the controls intuitive]. I played a lot of different games while we were making it to try and pick out the very best we were seeing from other control schemes.
GU: What specific games do you think handle motion controls well?
Steve: Well, I've played a lot of House of the Dead, a lot of [Resident Evil] Umbrella Chronicles, I'm a huge fan of that series, so I also played a lot of Resident Evil 4 on the Wii. Then there were other great games such as Okami, which was a fantastic game on the Wii, so pretty much anything I could get my hands on.
Be sure to check back for Part 2 of our interview with Steve Papoutsis, where we discuss giving Isaac a voice, the game's new mechanics, games that inspired Dead Space 2's development, and more.