Dead Space 4 Would Have Seen Ellie as Protagonist, Fighting For Survival

Dead Space 4 Would Have Seen Ellie as Protagonist, Fighting For Survival

Richard Walker

Before Visceral closed its doors for good, it appears that the studio had been percolating more than a few potentially very interesting ideas for Dead Space 4. But with the developer drafted to create Battlefield Hardline, before tackling its own linear story-driven Star Wars game that will now never see the light of day, the fourth Dead Space game was swiftly nipped in the bud.

Had it gone further, however, Dead Space 4 could have potentially seen you playing as Ellie Langford, taking the reins from Isaac Clarke as the lead protagonist, and placing a greater emphasis on exploration, scavenging for supplies and seeking any signs of life amid the remnants of humankind as it faced almost certain doom. These ideas come from former Dead Space Creative Director - now Creative Director at Crystal Dynamics - Ben Wanat.

Apparently, a jumping-off point for Dead Space 4 was the flotilla sequence from 2013's Dead Space 3, and the kind of non-linear gameplay that could have been implemented in a possible sequel. "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 told Eurogamer.

"We would have finessed a lot of existing mechanics. 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," he added. "I figured you'd start in a section of space, maybe following a trail of ship carcasses to an orbital station you think might have the parts and fuel needed to get your ship Shock-capable."

'Shock-capable' being primed for interstellar travel using a ShockPoint Drive. As you'd move from ship to ship, you'd have fought hordes of Necromorphs, and each ship would have been built with unique purposes in mind, with some original prototypes that Visceral had for the Dead Space 3 flotilla boasting "some pretty wild setups", according to Wanat. The weapon crafting would also have received an overhaul, he notes. "There would have needed to be a focus on re-perfecting the weapon balance while still giving players plenty to tinker with," said Wanat.

Necromorphs would have also posed a far greater threat during Dead Space 4's zero-G sections, with Wanat stating that if you could "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." Who doesn't love a good zero-G face chew?

As for Ellie taking over from Isaac or Sgt. Carver as the lead character in Dead Space 4, Wanat would have seen this as a "clean break" for the series. "With the apocalypse, there was the opportunity for a clean break," he explained. "It wouldn't be necessary for the story going forward to include any of them." As such, Wanat imagined Ellie as the protagonist for a Dead Space 3 follow-up.

With five years since the last Dead Space game, a comeback for the series is looking increasingly unlikely, and indeed, once Dead Space 3 was finished, Visceral and Wanat could already see that the writing was on the wall for the sci-fi survival horror series. "After the third game, some folks stayed on to finish up the DLC, but the rest needed to move on to help other projects. At this point, it was pretty clear that Dead Space 3 was going to be the last instalment," he said.

Wanat adds that Visceral had spent time "working out the origin of the Necromorphs and what purpose humans held in this dark universe," adding that it was possible that the player could have even found a way out of the Necromorph apocalypse, "but they might be sorry they did," he teased. "Sometimes you're better off with the devil you know..."

Still, there's hope yet that Dead Space could one day be resurrected, and should such a thing happen, Wanat sees it as an IP with heaps of untapped potential. "I think the Dead Space universe is a solid piece of original IP. It's a big enough space for sequels, new stories and new ideas," he observed. "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'."

As far as EA's dormant franchises go, Dead Space does seem ripe for a revisit. Hopefully EA will see sense and bring us a new entry in the series.

  • I would have loved a 4th and with Ellie as the protag. I do hope they come back around or, I know some will not like this, make some remasters. I still go back and play the 360 versions because that is how much I enjoyed the series, 3 a little less than 2 but 1 was by far the best.
  • Shame. I enjoyed Dead Space. Would have like a sequel. Dead space 3 was a great TPS
  • Revisiting Dead Space would be a logical decision, which is precisely why EA wont do it. They dont see logic, they only see $$$, and theyre almost positively isnt enough money to be made in a Dead Space 4. But if by some grace of god it DID happen, I can only imagine how EA would ruin it with monetization, dlc passes, etc. I'd rather the series stay dead, then be frankensteined into something more hideous than DS3.
  • One of my favorite franchises of all time. Please bring us more EA and leave off the unnecessary multiplayer or coop. Look at how successful RE was when they went back to their roots with VII and left out all of the silly shit.
  • Can't believe Dead Space hasn't been revived into a Ark/Valley/No Man's Sky Survival Adventure game
  • Loved 1. Liked 2. Never bothered with 3. I'd play the 4th.
  • I am still pissy over Visceral being shut down.
  • I was actually thinking about going back and replaying this trilogy since it's been awhile since I finished it off. The end of the DLC for Dead Space 3 was pointing towards the series continuing on Earth but I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I wouldn't be surprised if it is revived one day though, but my guess is that it wouldn't be anything like the first three games.
  • These are the types of IPs Microsoft should be buying
  • @7 I feel the same way. They really turned away from the survival horror roots in DS3. They made it much more of an action game, added in micro transactions and then went "I guess no one wants to play Dead Space anymore".
  • @10 Exactly. I love a good co-op game, but that takes away from the feeling of isolation in a survival horror. The copy and paste samey environments of DS3 didn't help it's lasting appeal either. After the masterpiece of DS2 I felt a little let down.
  • Dead Space is one of my favourite series. 1 was brilliant, so dark and eerie, 2 is my favourite because it adds nice bright colours to the darkness (which didn't change) and it introduced Isaac talking, 3... gameplay was good but it wasn't dark enough. You dont take a dark and creepy game and stick it on a big bright white and blue ice planet... Just doesn't work. What I did love was DS2 DLC. They should release a series of small Arcade titles like the Served DLC of DS2 where you play as other survivors with their own stories in the time line of each Dead Space game. So youre playing as them whilst the story we've played is happening, or just before. Hey, I'd love to play as Nicole fighting her way through Necros until Isaac arrives there. It'll be good to see what she went through until what we know happens.
  • A necromorph could've been the main character I still wouldn't care just give us a new dead space or 1-3 remaster
  • Dead Space doesn't fit EA's narrative anymore.. All they care about is getting people online and playing together.. Which is no bad thing.. But don't put all your eggs in one basket.. I like a good MP game from time to time.. But a good story driven SP game will win hands down every time.. And I truly believe the Microtransactions added to the 3rd killed this franchise dead in the water.. The won't remaster them.. EA are all about putting fuck all in and getting everything out.. See yearly generic sports franchises and Battlefield/front games.. all basically the same engine, just tweaked a round here and there, few adjustments, different characters... then all EA see is $$$.. And the gamers fall for it every single year..
  • Started on DS3 again and glad i did to come across this :D
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