Dead Space is headed to Wii this year in the form of an oddly deep-looking 'on-rails' shooter where you chose your own paths, manage your weapons and fight alien nasties in the dark with glow sticks.
Watching the new game in action it's clear that Extraction isn't a spin-off purely for the Wii crowd. It's atmospheric, strategic and almost as tense as its PC, 360 and PS3 big brother. As executive producer Steve Papoutsis admits, the core Dead Space team could even learn something from what the Wii group is doing.
We managed to get time aside with the man in charge at EA's recent showcase in London. Here's what we talked about...
Dead Space: Extraction is being co-developed with Eurocom. How does the split between EA and it work?
Steve Papoutsis: We're co-developing it with Eurocom. The main body of the EA team is made up of the production team, myself, [associate producer] Sherief, our development director was lead gameplay engineer on Dead Space, our art director came straight for Dead Space.
So there's quite a few people from EA working here in Derby and kind of directing the project with them.
Extraction takes place on the mining colony from the original Dead Space but also new areas of the Ishimura. What are these "new areas"?
Papoutsis: We wanted to have a water section in the game so we did the Ishimura Water Tunnels. People have to have water on the ship and maybe sewage and things, so...
So are players going to get covered in sh*t?
Papoutsis: Maybe... they might sh*t themselves.
How is Extraction different from your average on-rails shooter then?
Papoutsis: Well the really important thing to notice is the branching paths. This is the point where you get to chose where you want to go using the locator you may remember from Dead Space.
Now you get to chose which path you want to jump on. You just move your Wii Remote over the path, press the A button and you get on that path.
We also want to retain that same feeling as Dead Space and make sure we're not cluttering the screen with a bunch of UI, so you'll notice you don't see the rig normally.
At any time you can press the minus button to bring up the rig which will show you how much ammo you have and how much health you have.
Strategic dismemberment also plays a huge role. It's not just about shooting necromorphs in the head, you need to dismember these guys in order to progress.
How many weapons from the original make a return?
Papoutsis: All the weapons from Dead Space are in Extraction plus a few new tools. One new mechanic is a glow worm, a tool that colonists have to use when electricity goes out to illuminate the area.
It's a limited resource and it's going to run out, so you're going to have to make that risk-reward choice and shake the Wii Remote and illuminate the area, or just take your luck shooting in the dark.
That's the way that we're handling the low light areas and I think that creates an interesting dynamic. It makes the player have to make a choice and again it's an analogue to a natural motion.
When I broke these glow sticks for you guys [note: free Dead Space glow sticks were served] I had to shake them to charge them up. We're really trying not to create nonsensical, 'waggly' controls for this game. Dead Space is about real space, real terror and we wanted to have real-feeling controls.