Dead Space came out of nowhere in 2008 to become one of our games of the year (and scare the cr*p out of us while it was at it).
2011 will see the release of its long-awaited sequel - which promises a revamped protagonist, Isaac, new gruesome enemies and multiplayer fun for the first time.
CVG caught up with executive producer at Dead Space 2 creator Visceral Games Steve Papoutsis to get the inside story on the action horror sequel...
When Dead Space was first announced, many people thought it would struggle to take on the then king of survival horror - Resident Evil. How far down the road from that initial challenge are you now with Dead Space 2?
We're trying to carve our own way in the survival horror genre. So we're seated in science fiction and we have our own mythos going on. Resident Evil comparisons are not a very accurate depiction of what we're doing at all.
Our goal is to have people recognise what we're trying to do as original and unique - and that's what we're trying to deliver. Resident Evil is a great series - and we certainly played the shit out of it and love it. But I think we're very different.
The influence of the likes of Resident Evil, Silent Hill - but also Alien and Event Horizon - were very apparent in the first game. What are the key inspirations for Dead Space 2?
Inspiration's very interesting. To create something like Dead Space 2 requires a complete team effort. There are many, many individuals that are making the game. To be fair, we'd have to ask each and everyone of them what their inspirations are.
Personally, I'm inspired by the fact we've got a community of people that are excited about Dead Space and what we did in the first game. Because we know there are those people there, they are inspiring us and we want to do great things for them. To have people excited and passionate about what you do for a living is wonderful.
The first game was pretty frightening - and very atmospheric. Is the second game scarier?
To be honest, right now we're putting the game together. Our goal is to do better than the first game in all facets - whether it's the visuals, the mechanics, the enemy design - all the way to the horror, the terror, the tension, the music. All those components, we're trying to do better. That's our goal.
It's still early - we're still building the game - but I can certainly tell you that the team's focused on trying to top what we did before.
Will the voice of Isaac be acted by a name we know?
No, I don't think so.
And will that voice be used in other areas - perhaps?
Hard to say right now. We're so incredibly focused on Dead Space 2 right now. While it's interesting and exciting to think about other things that we might do with the game, that's not really on our radar right now. We just want to nail Dead Space 2 and surpass people's expectations.
You've described Isaac as an 'errand boy' in the first game - while in the second title he's much more of an active presence. Why did you feel the need to make that change?
From a story perspective, he went through so much traumatising stuff in the first game, it would be kind of weird if he just went along for the ride in the next one, right?
He's going to have learned some things from his previous experience. He's become more of a veteran, so to speak - someone that's seen these things where other people will not have.
That feeds into the narrative this time.