Platform:Wii Exclusive Publisher:Electronic Arts Expected release date: Late 2009
Dead Space was a good game and, though we took issue with a few of the control idiosyncracies on the PC version in our full Dead Space review, the game still made a good enough impression to rank in our reader-voted top ten PC games of 2008.
Unfortunately though, sales for the survival horror title weren’t exactly as thrilling as the game itself and Dead Space was just another in a string of financial disappointments for Electronic Arts last year – an especially damning one considering how many resources had been ploughed into the franchise. Tie-in comics and films were just the tip of the iceberg, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected that EA would have at least one more pop at boosting sales.
Hence, a new Dead Space game made from the ground up for that most trendy and popular of consoles, the Wii.
Before you roll your eyes and close this window in futile protest to the reality of a Dead Space game on the Wii though, it’s worth bearing in mind that the game is being made by the same team behind the first and that development for the game had begun before the original was even on shelves.
Dead Space: Extraction isn’t simply a knee-jerk reaction to poor sales, it’s a carefully planned extension to the franchise that tries to shed a lot more light on the story of the series – or that’s what Senior Producer Steve Papoutsis was claiming when he guided us through a section of the game anyway.
Set as a prequel to the first game (prequels seem to be all the rage these days), Dead Space: Extraction tells the story of how the Necromorph invasion first spread to the USG Ishimura Planet Cracker ship that was the setting of the original game, with much of the action being set on the Aegis VII colony that the ship orbits. The Necromorphs, a race of resilient aliens who need to be dismembered if you want to cause any real damage, didn’t get there on their own one day and, even if they did, we doubt the crew would just let them in…
Tuning in to the target audience of the Wii, the story isn’t set around a single character either but a group of Aegis VII survivors who are desperately trying to escape the Necromorph infection before it devours them all. While the decision to focus the plot around a group rather than an individual may seem an odd move for a game that seats itself firmly in the horror genre, Electronic Arts is certain that the idea is better suited to Wii owners.
Honestly, we can’t remember the last time we played a Wii game on our own either. The platform as a whole speaks much more to party games and multiplayer games than long drawn out singleplayer epics.
In Dead Space: Extraction the player takes the lead of this group, getting cast as a young brunette called Lexine who discovers that the group can remain immune to the Necromorph infection if they stay close to a young girl who’s stumbled into the colony. We still don’t know much about the narrative beyond that, by EA Redwood Shores is promising plenty of thrills, chills and spills as the story evolves – though whether that’s anything more than empty hype remains to be seen.