The Dead Space series makes a grand comeback in 2023, though not technically with a brand new game. Instead, we’ve a remake of the first game to look forward to, and fans have generally been pleased with what they’ve seen in teasers and gameplay clips thus far.
That first game - released back in 2008 - is one of this writer’s all-time favourites, one which almost single-handedly turned me on to the survival horror genre with its relatively slow-paced hunt for ammo and resources onboard the USG Ishimura, a massive, seemingly abandoned mining spaceship teeming with reanimated enemy corpses known as Necromorphs.
Dripping in atmosphere - aided by stellar lighting effects and unmatched sound design - the grimy, retro-futurist sci-fi setting was already one to behold. But 15-years on, it’s set to look, sound and feel even scarier, with the EA Motive Studio team taking advantage of technology that has moved on since the original release and making improvements to both the environment and gameplay.
This isn’t just a remake with a new lick of paint, and Dead Space (2023) looks set to be the first title in a potentially stellar year for gaming fans who love their horror. Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is Dead Space?
Most of your time with Dead Space will be spent exploring the USG Ishimura, a giant, “planet cracking” mining ship. As repair engineer Isaac Clarke, you’re responding to a mysterious distress call sent out just before the ship went dark when your own craft crash lands with seemingly no route of escape.
Your skills as an engineer are put to the test as you’re sent by other members of your party to fix critical ship infrastructure to get systems online again, coming across unspeakable psychological horrors as you do so.
The Ishimura itself is perhaps the game’s starring attraction, a sprawling, highly-detailed vessel reduced to claustrophobic corridors lit by the flickering death throes of electronics near the end of their lifespan.
It’s not just the graphics that will have you immersed. Dead Space’s sound design is impeccable too, with the shrieking groans of distantly distressed steel adding to the experience as much as Clarke’s anxious breathing patterns.
The story too is told in excellent fashion, with found audio logs and video records (now a stale gaming trope, but something Dead Space pioneered) telling the story of desperate ship residents, each crack and pop of static adding a sense of real degradation to proceedings.
When the action does kick-off, Dead Space brings with it a slight twist to proceedings. With limited ammo to your repurposed engineering tools, you’ll want to aim for the limbs of the necromorphs, blasting away legs to impede movement speed, or lopping off bladed arms before using your telekineses power to blast them back towards enemies, pinning them to walls with successful hits.
It brings a sense of strategy to an otherwise visceral experience, and forces players to think a bit more on their feet than other games in the genre might. Once you’ve scraped through particularly challenging encounters with dwindling resources, you’ll feel a satisfying sense of relief.
What’s new in the remake?
The EA Motive Studio team has completely redesigned the game, adding detail and, while adhering to the original plot, made adjustments that will surprise even the most ardent fans of the series.
This is not merely a remake with a fresh lick of paint. The game's atmosphere and gameplay have been improved by the developers in response to user feedback, and by utilising new technologies that have emerged since the game's 2008 debut.
It’s anticipated that the Dead Space reboot will live up to the anticipation, giving fans of the original game a fresh take on their favourite title while introducing new players to the claustrophobic space terror that will keep them slicing and shooting monsters for hours.
When can I play it?
As is probably obvious by now, I’m incredibly keen to get my hands on Dead Space once again. Luckily, I and the game’s millions of fans (the original has sold over two millions copies) won’t have long to wait, with the remake launching on Friday 27 January 2023.
It will be available on all current-gen consoles and PC. So that’s PlayStation 5, as well as Xbox’s Series X and S machines.
For those playing on older consoles (Xbox One and PlayStation 4), EA has confirmed that the remake will not be released on those platforms, as Motive is focusing on utilising new-generation technologies to completely reimagine the game’s experience.
Where’s the best place to pre-order it?
At the time of the writing, the cheapest place we could find to pre-order the Dead Space remake was The Game Collection, which is offering the game for £54.95 on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Will the game come to Game Pass?
At the time of writing, there are no announced plans to release the Dead Space remake through Xbox Game Pass on the same day as its physical launch.
That being said, being an EA game, it’s likely that the game could be featured as part of EA Play one day down the line, a subscription service also available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
Being a bigger-budget game though, it may be a number of months (or even years) until it is offered through the service, so if you want to play the Dead Space remake in the near future, you’ll need to fork out for the full game. The original, 2008 version of the game is included on there though...
However, there is one major perk for Game Pass subscribers. Despite the game’s eye-watering £69.99 price tag on the Xbox Store for Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can receive a 10% discount via EA Play, lowering the price to £62.99.