Today's big Dead Space (opens in new tab) livestream focused on some fairly granular elements of the upcoming reboot, such as audio occlusion, weapon sound effects, and the ALIVE system, which controls the heart rate, breathing, and dialog of player character Issac Clarke. But we also got something a little bit more generally interesting: A launch window.
"We want to make sure that we're in a place where the game that we're going to deliver is going to be delivering on the expectations of fans," senior producer Philippe Ducharme said. "That's what's most important. So right now, we'll say early next year. We have a date in mind, we want to make sure that everything converges for this."
Ducharme said the game should be playable from start to finish in : just a couple weeks," although he added that it will still be in a pre-alpha state at that point. "We believe that we're going to be in a solid position to be able to do the proper polish, the proper debug, and to meet the date that we have in mind. But for now, I'll say early next year."
Early 2023 isn't the most precise bit of dating I've ever run across, but it does give us something to look forward to, and frankly it's closer than I expected given that the last time we looked at the Dead Space reboot, in September 2021, it sounded very far off. A year isn't imminent, but it's at least within sight.
>> STATUS UPDATE INCOMING…ARRIVAL WINDOW: EARLY 2023…#DeadSpace pic.twitter.com/Et89fS617WMarch 11, 2022
The breakdown of the ALIVE system reveals an interesting bit of trivia about the original. When Isaac Clarke was sprinting, injured, or exerting himself in Dead Space, the changed audio effects would play overtop of the regular breathing audio—it was literally two separate audio channels playing simultaneously. It's a fairly subtle effect—I never noticed it, or at least I don't remember noticing—but the reboot will feature "transitioning respiratory rates" so Clarke's breathing will actually change seamlessly.
The ALIVE system is more than just improved audio effects, though: EA says it's aimed at simulating a human limbic system, the part of the brain that controls behavioral and emotional responses.
"When you watch a horror movie or play a scary game, the limbic system can trigger a release of adrenaline into the body, causing a physical response such as increased heart rate," senior VO designer Terry Calico says in the video. "In our game, adrenaline is derived from various values driven by external factors that have a direct influence on Isaac's heart rate BPM. External factors that act as adrenaline are the combat difficulty value, scripted events and jump scares, Isaac's fatigue level, Isaac's oxygen level, and Isaac's health. We want Isaac to reflect how anyone would physically react in the scenario he's placed in."
The livestream also featured an up-close look at audio occlusion, which "aims to provide players with an unparalleled audio experience by creating a sense of realistic audio projection":
And weapon audio improvements:
And luckily, we won't have to wait as long for the next Dead Space livestream as we did for this one: An art-focused online showcase is slated to take place in May.