Facing Dead Space 3's horrors alone allows you to address the fears lurking within Isaac Clarke's hallucinatory mind. The co-op mode is less cerebral than single-player—it's here that you'll buddy-up with a partner to fight Necromorphs. But the conflicting experiences (opens in new tab) have something in common: you'll see things that aren't there. In a blog post (opens in new tab) written yesterday, Visceral Senior Production Designer Ben Wanat explained how sanity plays a different role for each co-op player.
Trudging alongside Isaac in the co-op mode is the troubled John Carver, a "career military man" with a broken relationship with his wife and child. John's dark thoughts feed the mysterious Marker structures from the previous two games that generate terrifying visions. Wanat explains that the player controlling John will experience far more brushes with madness than the more steely-minded Isaac.
"If you're playing the game with a friend, you'll find areas throughout the game that John is interested in checking out," Wanat wrote. "While there are side benefits to checking these areas out (additional loot and lore), the primary focus is learning more about John's past which serves to make his contribution to the story that much more meaningful by the time you reach the end. During these missions, players will experience the world differently. If you play as John, you'll come across constant creepy reminders to his ugly past. If you play as Isaac, you'll get to see things as they really are which makes John's madness all the more apparent."
The rest of the blog post (opens in new tab) talks about John's rough ride with Isaac and shows a few Marker concept images. We'll get to calm our friends' panic attacks Airplane-style (opens in new tab) in co-op when Dead Space 3 releases February 5.