Saturday, March 27, 2010

PAX East: (Dead Space) panel update

One more day is left of PAX East and I'll be sad to see it go. But so far, I've attended two panels and I, honestly, don't plan to attend anymore. The first panel on girl gamers was interesting, but it was all Q&A and it felt like the same question kept being asked in different ways: "Why aren't there more female gamers, and why do they get treated as lesser-than?" Well, if we had that answer, we'd solve it.

Which leads me to the second panel I attended: the Dead Space panel. If you've been keeping up with my Twitter, you'd know that this panel blew my fucking mind. You guys know how much Valve impresses Cary and me on a daily basis, right? Well... Visceral Games is sneaking up there. Watch it, Valve. You better release "The Passing" soon to keep your status. But I digress.

The three speakers from Visceral were Steve Papoutsis (Executive Producer), Rich Briggs (Producer), and Ian Milhelm (Art Director). These three guys were a wonderfully dynamic group that started the panel off 15 minutes early because they were, admittedly, so excited to get started.

The panel started off with an informal Q&A, like I said, then went onto a presentation that explained a lot of the Dead Space backstory and universe -- things that maybe some of us missed out on because we were too busy shitting ourselves with terror to pay attention who was talking to us during gameplay and exactly what they were saying. (Who cared, right? Those necro-assholes were AFTER YOU.) What impressed me so much about this was the fine attention to detail within the story (they explained that in order to focus on the game, they had to create an ample amount of backstory to make this universe seem realistic to the gamer) and also the minute detail in the design. Every single moment of terror and horror are worked on step-by-step to provide the ultimately scary experience; the example they used was the first time the tentacle grabs Isaac in the original game. Yeah, you remember it. Mission accomplished, Visceral. (You can also watch me experiencing this moment for the first time.)

Waiting to get into the panel, they handed out free mini-posters and promised there were more goodies on the inside. Anybody who asked a question got a free hardback copy of their graphic novel. But don't worry, Cary, one of these posters is on its way to you:

The other one is already on my wall. :)

They streamed some of the Q&A live, as well, and in the middle, Papoutsis broke into the conversation with a "fuck it, we're showing you guys a clip from Dead Space 2. I don't care." Now, while this was assuredly planned, that satiated every single person in the audience. I think every person in that room fell in love a little bit right then. You can watch most of the Q&A in the video below, and the clip from DS2 is at the beginning of the video:

While they were pretty hush-hush on a lot of what's to come in Dead Space 2, a few tidbits came out:
  • Isaac, undoubtedly, was psychologically affected by the actions in DS1. So...?
  • If DS1 was a 10 on a scale of 1-10 based on how scary it was, DS2 will be a "5 billion."
  • There will be NO watering down of DS2. The metaphor used was, DS1 was more like a roller coaster that just has one big loop, DS2 will be like a normal roller coaster that goes up, down, around, upside down. There will be heightened moments, but moments to cool down and collect.
  • Isaac has a brand new suit, but still with upgrades? Not sure on this one. Sounds like new suits throughout, with similar ideas. (A guy came out dressed in the suit which was handmade and composed of all the elements that Isaac's actual suit will contain in the game.)
  • Yep, Isaac talks in DS2 and his role will be even larger, as well.
  • During the Q&A someone made the point that a lot of horror movies and the like always take place after-the-fact and the protagonist shows up and has to figure out what happened. This person asked if they ever considered the idea of the protagonist coming in when something was going down and being a part of it and consider the idea of a "last man standing" sort of thing. They all just kind of smiled and said, "that's a great idea!"

After all this, I had a brief moment where I thought, "I'd kind of like to play through Dead Space again, maybe." Which should just prove how impressive the panel was and how motherfuckin' excited I am for Dead Space 2.


  1. And you'll stream your play-through of DS1? I rather enjoyed it!

    Excellent post- thank you for the coverage!


  2. "5 billion"?!?! That's going to be ridiculous.. Game will have to be played in sections..