Executive Producer & Creator
Origins- Sci-fi or Horror?
- It all started as Sci Fi with Horror right behind it. We wanted it to be gritty, dirty and believable, not about laser guns and dudes in white. I’m a huge fan of horror films and games, really wanted to put the two together. Doom 3, System Shock, I still haven’t seen the two genres I love the most put together well enough in the video game world. Event Horizon, Alien, Pitch Black, do it right, but not many.
How close is today’s game to the original vision?
Your team of passionate people help you to develop your idea. I was the spark, and the team spent a lot of time fleshing out the ideas. Someone else came up with strategic dismemberment. The idea has become bigger and better than I could imagine because we let creative people be creative. Everyone became ‘game makers’, no matter where the best idea came from. It was a little less violent than he wanted.
A lot of time and effort has gone into fleshing out the in game universe. When did the animated movie and comic come about?
We knew that sci-fi fans want backstory. So we went back further. What are Isaac’s parents like? The story goes back to the Ice Age. There’s another part of the story that takes place 250 years before it starts. We began working with the comic guys as story writers, but we didn’t want it to become an “EA Comic book”. We don’t even have EA’s name on it. We wanted it to stand on its own as its own piece. Nor does EA have their name on the movie, we wanted things to be quality, stand-alone products. The animated feature was done by the guy who did Painkiller Jane and he nailed it the second time around. There was no marketing push to get it done, we all just decided to do it unconventionally.
How did it come about the James Wan cut a trailer for your game?
We met with a few horror guys, wondering if we needed a horror consultant. Met with Eli Roth, Warren Ellis, Clive Barker. I met James- and we each had a lawyer in the room, just in case. They just sat there while me and James talked about horror film after horror film. At some point he said “I love this project”, and although it took awhile, we just said “Will you cut a trailer?” And he agreed, he wanted to do something with it. I was even talking to him about his credits in Dead Silence, which I loved, and he put it all together.
A possible live action feature?
Absolutely. At this point it would be a real financial chance to take. We’ve talked with some real people here, but people are offering to make it for 4 million dollars. We just can’t make a ‘guy in a suit’ picture. If the game is successful, it probably could be a real possibility. We’d have to cast it right. [Uwe Boll is mentioned, everyone laughs.] I want it to be done right if it’s done.
Would Isaac’s face stay covered in a potential movie?
No. Please play the end of the game. It’s so good that we only showed some of the team like a week ago. The ending is pretty damn cool, and maybe in the ending you’ll see his face. It’s a big deal.
Dead Space 2, is it necessary considering how much work you’ve put into making this product its own entity?
I sure hope so. It’s selfish, cause we’ve had so much fun. I don’t have to look over my shoulder for approvals, I can blow dude’s heads off whenever I want. IT’s been a blast to make it and I could continue making this type of game for a long time, and not cause of any EA push. In fact, we’ve been a sort of ‘rogue team’ for a long time. It’s only recently that people have been starting to really take notice. EA isn’t pushing a sequel, but I’d love to make one.
What about the voice talent? Any big names?
This was a conscious effort to not hide behind big-name actors. We just went out and found the right person for the role. Peter Mensah happened to fit his role perfectly (Mensah played Brodky in Jason X, I thought I recognized him in the game). We purposely didn’t do Clive Owen as Isaac Clarke.
Any clichés that you wanted to avoid?
Most horror is in today’s world, torture stuff. Sci-Fi usually has some major director staking a claim, like Blade Runner, Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, those are all major tent poles. We want to be our own, but then we’d accidentally look like Alien. We’ve tried really hard to be our own, if you look at Isaac’s suit, hopefully you haven’t seen it before. We’ve got 100 different drawings of it to say that we wanted it to be different. I read the blogs saying “He copied the Thing”, or “It looks like the Alien”, and why would I want to do that, you know? I mean, yeah, maybe the spine looks a bit like the Alien, God, I’m sorry! If anything was inspirational, it’s this: I read a lot of Arthur Clarke and Isaac Asimov, hence the name Isaac Clarke. I mean, their ideas are huge. If you look at the fact that we’re tearing planets apart and not just mining them, but actually ripping them open, that’s a big idea. These things are based on the concepts that these authors create, we’re just trying to be different.
Facts from development team:
Development team prison pose!
-A lot of work has gone into scripted events, so that they don’t stop gameplay, and that control is taken away from the player as few times as possible. Most events happen right in front of you and you can still control your players.
-An insane amount of focus groups went on during the development of the game to ensure little details were right. A lot of complaints came that Isaac moved too slowly- something the game designers had to go back and completely revamp in order to please players (like redoing all the enemy AI and completely overhauling the streaming engine for the rest of the level)
-A really awesome little fact: motion capture was done in turn with the acting for the scripted events. So, when you die onscreen, the actor would actually be acting like he was dying during mo-cap, speaking their lines at the same time.
-During the initial ‘chase sequence’, the game was way too hard and testers kept getting slashed to bits. The lesson learned? Never assume what players understand and don’t understand. Never underestimate training!
-In fact, the game was much harder initially, a lot of people were against the whole navigation system, and a few other key gameplay elements. They’re glad they put them in after all, but initially they didn’t like them.
-Yes, I’ve seen some of the Dead Space animated feature. Not enough to give anything away, but I still saw some of it, and it’s cool, a neat hand-animated style.
-The story is super-detailed, including things you may never know (like what Isaac’s parents were like).
-The team built a life-scale replica of Isaac’s suit, helmet and weapon. On their own time, for no reason. It was featured at Comic-Con, and it’s badass.
STAY TUNE TO THE SITE FOR MORE DEAD SPACE LOVE!
BIG THANK YOU FOR THE DEAD SPACE PEOPLE FOR MAKING THIS VISIT HAPPEN! I HAD A BLAST!