How Motive’s remake ups the scares
Electronic Arts’ Motive studio has taken a fresh approach to a horror classic in its remake of Dead Space. The 2023 version of the 2008 survival horror game takes many cues from its predecessor, but does amp up the scares of Dead Space a little more with its Intensity Director.
While the original Dead Space certainly had a good number of scares, those were largely set and established. With the backtracking found in the remake, players would need to be going back across old ground. To keep things extra scary, EA Motive spurred up the Intensity Director, a system that adds swings of horror throughout the Ishimura.
How does the Dead Space Intensity Director work?
In essence, the Intensity Director in the Dead Space remake acts like artificial directors in other games like Left 4 Dead. It’s a system that escalates and creates scares throughout the Ishimura, in response to the player.
An EA dev blog dives into the heart of it, saying the Intensity Director tunes on-the-fly to maintain tension without overwhelming the player.
“The Intensity Director is a way for us to control the stress level for the player, to be sure there’s always something happening,” said senior game director Eric Baptizat. “It lets us control the emotion and tension, and to always keep the player on their toes, to keep them careful.”
Enemies may spawn, or noises may just pop off to startle. Sometimes, it might just be some lights flickering or a steam pipe bursting. Any way it goes, the Intensity Director is just looking to keep things tense.
In our experience for review, we found this resulted in a good number of surprises. Especially as I backtracked through different areas, I noticed times where a previously empty room might be hiding a lurking necromorph. Or maybe a quiet a bathroom would suddenly vent steam, startling me a bit. It wasn’t always scares, but sometimes just a good deal of tension.
The USG Ishimura is a ship slowly falling apart, after all, and filled to the brim with undead monstrosities. It’s nice to have a little reminder of that, even as Isaac treks his way back through the same old hallways. That’s precisely the Intensity Director’s job, and it does it pretty well.
Related: How Scary is the Dead Space Remake? on Prima Games