Expectations are still high for Dead Space 2, which is due out in Europe in January next year.
Last week anticipation for the survival horror sequel raised higher still with the long-overdue unveiling of the game's multiplayer mode, which pitches four human engineers up against a team of multi-limbed Necromorphs.
It sounds mental. To help clear the air over the online mode - and see how development's going at EA's Visceral Games studio - CVG met up with executive producer, Steve Papoutsis in London. Here's what he said...
How close to finishing are you?
Right now we're in the home-stretch of polishing the game, so we're right down at the end, balancing, tuning, polishing all of the cinematic and gameplay elements.
So you're pretty feature complete right now?
Getting there, yes. We're right down at the end.
You've finally unveiled multiplayer - how does it feel to at last get that in the public domain?
It's been good. We've been tight lipped about it forever. At the beginning of September getting to actually show it to people and let 80-plus people get hands on with it was great.
Has public reception been up to your expectations? Obviously, you must have been a little nervous after all this time...
Yes, the reaction has been fantastic, but having played it and having played a lot of different games I knew it was going to be good. I knew it was going to be fun for people.
I think the reaction was pretty much in line with what we'd hoped. People enjoyed it, it's competitive and co-operative. I think we're still going to be balancing the game all the way up until we release it but I think the overall reaction was great - it dispelled a lot of people's concerns.
A lot of people hadn't really thought about what we could do that could be Dead Space. Our goal from day one with multiplayer was to do something that was unique and original set in the Dead Space universe. We think our multiplayer is something that you could only really do in our game; being able to strategically dismember friends, playing as Necromorphs is unique and original. We hoped that people would like it and reaction has been very positive.
Was it difficult to sit down and come up with something that would work?
Early on when we first started talking about Dead Space 2, multiplayer was one of the most requested features from people, which is interesting because, online, a lot of people have shown concerns about what it's going to be. There is an outpouring of people that wanted it, so from the get go we just said 'ok what is going to make Dead Space multiplayer original and unique?' And go from there.
As I said; being able to strategically dismember your friends, getting to play as Necromorphs and the unique abilities the Necromorphs have really set us apart. From that point forward we had a stake in the ground to go towards and it became 'what other things are we going to do, what are we going to layer on top of it?' Because It can't just be that simple - there has got to be more. That was the tricky part.
Top level vision and goal was pretty basic, but then figuring out all the other competing elements that had to come together and work in unison has been a challenge all the way and still is as we tune and balance it to get it ready for launch.
What were your inspirations for that final concept? We're seeing a lot of Left 4 Dead...