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Dead Space Remake: The new graphics revealed by the developers

We’re tracking the improvements made to Dead Space Remake, which were shown during the last livestream with the developers.

Dead Space we still remember beautifully: its dark atmosphere and unprecedented mixture of metaphysical horror and raw sci-fi at the time made it an icon of survival horror in video games, thanks to the special artistic vision of Visceral who built the game. With a very strong identity, starting with his own graphic characterization.

The choices made, the hard work between steering and the technical limitations hidden in the zigzag and claustrophobic level design, made the vision of the world very much alive in the minds, in the memory of those who played it. To tell the truth, for these reasons it can be hard to understand the need for a rework, at least compared to the possibility of a real new chapter, but just look at what the team is putting together. motivation For this project and compare it to the actual photos of the first chapter to understand its impact.

Keep in mind that the first Dead Space still defends itself well, but outside the memory filter it’s easy to see how much room there was for improvement on the technical front. The Dead Space Remake So it is configured as the purest realization of original artistic vision by Visceral, which is also made possible by the unwavering dedication to the original project that Motive shows in carrying out this mission, with great respect for the raw material. On the other hand, the constituent elements of Dead Space horror have a character so strong that they can’t be changed much: Isaac Clarke with his heavy and rags armor, the dirty and noisy technology of USG Ishimura, the dark corridors and all the scary forms are still in place, but they’ve never been so vivid and impressive .

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reconstructive process


Dead Space, screenshot from the remake

Starting with a game with a strong artistic direction, the stylistic rules of the graphics are already defined and it is just a matter of working on the application of modern technologies to original ideas. As Artistic Director Roy Tozon said, by environmental artists Xefer Perrault and Ivan Jovanovic during the latest live show, Dead Space Remake’s creative process goes through various phases all focusing on Visceral’s initial work, reworking and integrating parts of the original level design and incorporating both ancient and modern concepts and artwork. to enrich it according to one A faithful view of the classics, but also in keeping with the times. It’s about taking scenarios and breaking them down into modular elements, mastering each one with new high-resolution assets, taking advantage of more advanced material reproduction and high-tech light and shadow effects, enriching scenes with additional elements Also introducing elements of narrative value and then regrouping the new combos according to the old paradigm, but Clearly different result.

It’s a job he’s totally focused on details: The level design is still very much the original design, as USG Ishimura’s chassis is essentially an integral part of the gameplay, but everything is richer and more realistic. The final effect is much more impressive than a simple resolution increase, precisely because the settings are in fact completely reconstructed, using assets as bases but deconstructed, replaced, enriched and reconfigured in order to extend the exciting power of the scenarios. New elements that seem only secondary but serve to further define the game world and also provide ideas for a deeper environmental narrative.

Lights, shadows and effects


Dead Space, the well-known engine room of USG Ishimura in a remake
Dead Space, the well-known engine room of USG Ishimura in a remake

The aesthetic of Dead Space is historically associated with the strategic management of lights and shadows, Used in a way that increases the tension and the annoying effect. The original was developed on Visceral’s proprietary engine that did a great job, at the time, of managing pre-baked lights and dynamic shadows placed in order to bring the scene to life, but Remake can count on the notable technological advances at this juncture. Motive is working on the Frostbite engine, which appears to have been optimized for some specific Dead Space related effects, with particular attention to managing the lights. As featured in the video by Mike Yeomans, Mathieu Tetrault and Guillaume Goudreault, the engine allows multiple light sources and reflections to be managed through tools developed specifically for the game, producing dynamic shadows and different color renditions depending on the settings.

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It is not a matter of tracing the rays, but of pre-computed lights in a very specific way for each different setting, through scenographic work with great precision. The difference with the original seems obvious, but the most interesting thing is that this reinterpretation actually brings back a more faithful version of Visceral’s original vision of Ichimura, Courage and other places.


Dead Space Remake, screenshot from the game
Dead Space Remake, screenshot from the game

Also in this case it is a rework that focuses so much on detail, that individual LEDs are built within the ship’s lighting system to create a reliable and realistic light source.

A great development has also been applied to visual effectsAs explained by specialist Greg Hird-Rutter, it includes an extensive use of volumetric fog, which greatly enriches and refreshes each scene, as well as a very convincing depiction of the phases of fire and zero gravity. With the different conditions in which Dead Space scenarios appear, there is a large area dedicated to applying effects: sparks, flames, flowing fluids are the order of the day among the twisting plates of ships in which the game takes place, all the features in which the visual effects come into play much more than they were Originally.

Characters and necromorphs


Isaac Clark as Dead Space remake
Isaac Clark as Dead Space remake

Finally, a portion of Motive’s in-depth video focused on reworking characters and mutants of spirits, other elements that have undergone substantial development but are still closely related to Visceral’s original vision. to any concern Protagonist Isaac ClarkCharacter artist Sam Compain-Eglin apparently focused on the character’s iconic armor, and that’s a hallmark of the entire game. Also in this case, improvement work began from the original concepts and artwork, and is now able to make the 3D transfer of preparatory drawings more faithful and advanced. Every technological element of the engine is clearly visible in this new version, well defined and responds to light with reflections and shadows. Even the animation is more convincing but everything maintains the typical style of the original: Isaac’s armor is a working tool, just as the protagonist himself is not a soldier but an artist, these basic elements remain unchanged in the new version.

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The necromorph You have a design studied according to the gameplay in Dead Space, and it is clear that this must also be preserved in the new version: the limbs and various elements that make up the targets on the bodies of monsters were faithfully reproduced, according to the “typical” strategist “slicing” that characterizes the combat system. In this case, too, the graphics maneuvering space has been focused on detail: every single anatomical element of the monsters has been reconstructed with incredible precision, making the creatures more realistic and therefore more disturbing than the original, as we can.See.In the video section entirely dedicated to the new “Slasher”.

Phil Schwartz

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