Although Dead Space is now known for its intense sci-fi horror with violent death animation, when it was released in 2008, no one knew how big the franchise would become. The first game told the story of Isaac Clark, an engineer who was tasked with repairing an abandoned US ship. Ishimura. While exploring Ishimura, Isaac and company discover that it is overrun with necromorphs, the reanimated corpses of the ship’s crew that have been mutated by a mysterious Red Marker. Dead Space can be played with a camera over your shoulder, and the gameplay draws inspiration from Capcom’s 2004 horror hit Resident Evil 4.
What distinguishes Dead Space from other Resident Evil 4 clones is its world and its desire for immersion. The developers went all in when they conceptualized Dead Space, creating a fictional future in which humanity depleted the Earth’s resources, which required it to scour other planets in search of a livelihood. While the whole world was telling a story about power-hungry companies and religious unitologists, no less attention was paid to Isaac’s story. Without the HUD, which had to be constantly checked, players began to delve deeply into every detail on the screen, especially the brutal death of Isaac, although the question arises as to how much these animated sequences add or subtract in general.
Visceral death in all its glory
Death animations in Dead Space have become a legend. Due to the large number of dangers that Isaac Clarke faces in the game, almost all of them have a unique death animation associated with them. This includes numerous deaths at the hands of necromorphs and environmental hazards such as lack of oxygen. No matter how big or small the gameplay element may be, there is a chance that the developers of the now-defunct Visceral Games have thought about how Isaac might die from it.
The number of death animations in Dead Space was so staggeringly large that players allowed Isaac to die on almost every turn, just to see how he would react. Many of these animations have been combined into videos that have been posted on websites such as YouTube, saving others the time and effort to find the animations themselves. Death animations were such an important part of Dead Space that there was a video campaign called “Your Mom Hated Dead Space 2” in the sequel to Dead Space 2. The campaign showed that middle-aged women react negatively to scenes of violence in the upcoming game at that time, in most of which Isaac Clarke dies in various ways. Although the campaign distracted parents from the game, the sequel was still a huge success.
What do death animations do?
With the exception of the bloody spectacle that follows after Isaac’s health reaches zero, the only purpose of the Dead Space death animation is to show players how dangerous the game world can be. With necromorphs, heavy machinery, and the cold darkness of space around him, the only solace Isaac Clarke can find is his RIG.
To this end, you need to ask yourself whether the numerous animations of death are worth it. Creating these death scenes requires a lot of time and effort, and these resources could be spent on other aspects of Dead Space games. When players think about rushing content or unfinished parts of games that will never see the light of day, they tend to pay attention to the unnecessary components that are included in them.
However, seeing Isaac lose his head fighting a necromorph has its own unique kind of black humor. The death animations haven’t gone away; that’s for sure. They are so deeply ingrained in the DNA of Dead Space that removing them now will do fans of the original games a disservice. If the upcoming remake catches something, Isaac Clarke will continue to die again and again in a spectacular way.
Dead Space will be released on January 27, 2023 on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.