Dead Space is a franchise that may not be at the top of everyone’s list of greatest games, but mention Issac Clark and Dead Space to some, and a knowing smile will cross their faces. For those that have endured the horrors aboard the planet-cracker starship Ishimura, and subsequent adventures (several games, spin-offs, movies and a comic book series), the smile is there because they know just how great the Dead Space games were, and all have very fond memories of them.
For those that did play the game, they would often recommend the game to their friends with the caveat of: “Have a spare pair of underpants handy.” Even some of the early KSI youtube videos were of the now star, screaming his way through Dead Space 2, which was hilarious viewing. The Dead Space games mastered the survival horror genre, dropping players into a desolate and scary environment, but empowering the player just enough so that they still had a fighting chance against the necromorphs found in the locations of the game, but not so much that they could just run and gun their way through the games. Just when you thought everything was safe, it wasn’t, and vice versa.
The Dead Space series earned a well-deserved reputation for its outstanding audio, immaculate lighting, and great linear gameplay that kept players pushing onwards, but most of all Dead Space had a great backstory, plot and lore of the world that intrigued players to discover what was really going on. Throw in some immense boss fights, massive set pieces, a religious cult, space cannons, a snowy planet, and some zero-G repair work, and you also had great variety in the gameplay, too.
Set in the 26th Century, the series started with an infestation of necromorphs on a spaceship, that then moved to a mining planet, and then to another, but ended (if you bought and played the final piece of DLC for the third game) on a monumental cliffhanger – cue picture of the earth and the, “What if?” question…
Just when you wanted to know what happened next, developer Visceral Games was liquidated by publisher EA.
It’s taken years to get over this disappointment, and since then, there hasn’t been a series or game to fill that Dead Space sized hole. There have been a few close calls, like with the excellent Alien Isolation, or Prey, along with a few indie attempts such as Soma or Outlast, but there have been no AAA, poop your pants, scare the bejesus out of you sci-fi space horror games in the same vein or with as much interesting lore as Dead Space.
But maybe, just maybe, the wait is over.
The reformed development team of the original set of games, now called Striking Distance Studios, dropped a new trailer for “The Callisto Protocol” , which has massive Dead Space vibes, but in a brand new setting and with stunning visuals.
The two-minute trailer manages to capture your attention, draw you in, then scare the hell out of you, just like the Dead Space games of old. The Callisto Protocol trailer bears more than a passing resemblance to cinematic horror masterpieces like Alien, for which I couldn’t be more overjoyed.
“Set on Jupiter’s moon Callisto in the year 2320, The Callisto Protocol is a next-generation take on survival horror. The game challenges players to escape the maximum security Black Iron Prison and uncover its terrifying secrets. A blend of horror, action, and immersive storytelling, the game aims to set a new bar for horror in interactive entertainment.”
The Callisto Protocol won’t be released until sometime in 2022, which gives you more than enough time to play (or replay) the three Dead Space games to see why this level of gaming genius, in this genre of game, has been MIA for too long and why you should be excited about this upcoming title from the masters of sci-fi horror games. Just remember though, have a spare set of underwear handy, don’t play with the lights off, and never, ever let any long needles get anywhere near your eyes… You have been warned!