I need to get this out of the way right up front: the War Stories video crew here at Ars loves Dead Space. The game turned 10 years old this past October, and it’s a near-perfect execution of the survival horror genre—the world, the sound design, and the mechanics are all spot-on, even after a decade. It’s also one of the games we’ve had on our War Stories to-do list since the very beginning, and we’re excited to finally have this video to share with you all.
Executive producer/creator Glen Schofield was fortunately just as excited to talk about the game as we are, and he invited us into his home to tell us the tale of how Isaac Clarke and the USG Ishimura came to be. Creating Dead Space required Schofield and team to create not just an entire original IP (complete with lore and world-building) but new game mechanisms and new ways to tell a story. The focus of putting the player directly into protagonist Isaac Clarke’s somewhat clunky shoes affected every decision, and the resulting game managed to be refreshingly original while also paying respectful homage to other horror movies and games (most notably Event Horizon and Resident Evil, respectively.
The fateful design notebook, showing the dismemberment chart.
Tentacle design porn
But it wouldn’t be a War Stories video without a singular challenge to overcome, and for Dead Space, that singular challenge turned out to be the infamous “drag tentacle.” First encountered in Dead Space’s third chapter, the drag tentacle interrupts the player’s progress with an unskippable (and surprisingly difficult) arcade-esque sequence where you must shoot the tentacle’s glow-y yellow bits before it hauls you away into its hidey hole and murders you into tiny pieces.