Visceral Games’ Steve Papoutsis, the executive producer of Dead Space 3, talks about the shift from competitive multiplayer to a co-op campaign and how the studio tackled some of the issues that would have taken away from the overall experience rather than add to it.
The original Dead Space game was a single-player only experience and a brilliant, albeit unnerving, one. It provided plenty of scares and feeling of dread that very few games have been able to recreate in recent years and breathed new life into the fading survival-horror genre.
Dead Space 2 tried to build on that by adding a separate multiplayer component where four-players took on the role as humans trying to survive attacks from four other players who were necromorphs. The mode never really caught on and fans of the series viewed it as an unwelcome distraction from the single-player rather than a valued addition to the series.
This time around however, there will be no competitive multiplayer but the introduction of the mode in the previous game has not gone to waste according to Steve Papoutsis, the executive producer of the game.
“We’re not doing competitive multiplayer this time…but it was a big help in us understanding how to build an online game.” He explained.
The lessons learnt from there have been implemented in the co-op mode that is set to be introduced in Isaac Clarke’s third nightmarish adventure in the series.
Papoutsis explained how they wanted the addition of the co-op mode to feel “unique”, which was why they opted for a drop-in, drop-out co-op mode and not an AI bot that would “follow the player around and then when you hit a button and someone starts controlling that guy.”
If that was the case then one could draw similarities to the previous two Resident Evil games and how they had a bot.
However, the producer went on to highlight one of the issues the studio had to overcome if they wanted their new mechanic to work.
“The other challenge was creating a co-op mode that felt additive to the experience.” This meant giving the players a choice whether they wanted to use the co-op feature or not. “You don’t have to play it – you can play Dead Space 3 in single player and it players out in very similar way to what you’ve experienced in the past.”
It should be noted that nearly every developer uses the previous game as a benchmark and criticizes it before pointing out how the new game will be so much better but we leave it up to the reader to decide on their own whether they think Visceral Games will deliver on their promise.
Let us know your opinion of the upcoming game’s co-op mode in the comments section below.