Making Dead Space 3's Co-op Good Was "Shockingly Difficult"

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Making Dead Space 3's Co-op Good Was "Shockingly Difficult"

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Steve Papoutsis, executive producer of Dead Space 3 really hopes you like the game's co-op. Part of that undoubtedly has to do with his belief that co-op is a great way for you to introduce a game to your friends, and given that EA claimed Dead Space 3 needed to sell "around five million copies for the franchise to be worth a continued investment, the more people talking about it, the better. Mostly, though, he hopes you like it because the team at Visceral worked really, really hard on it. "Let me tell you," he explains, "it was very difficult to create a game that allows for drop-in/drop-out, that's why you don't see it so much. It was shockingly difficult."

The co-op in Dead Space 3 was about as gnarly a knot as it could possibly have been to create. First off, it's drop-in/drop-out, so the story needed to be flexible enough to adapt to whether it was just series hero Isaac Clarke in the scene or if tough guy John Carver was with him. Difficult enough, but then Papoutsis wanted the game's co-op to crush one of his own personal gaming pet peeves : the "good save." You know how it goes - you and your buddy are working through the game together, but he's player 1 and so the save lives on his machine. Then he never seems to want to play when you do, so either you have to wait for him, or start all over again from scratch. It's a common co-op frustration, but not one you'll face with Dead Space 3. Even if you were playing as Carver in co-op, you can resume the story as Isaac when tackling the campaign on your own.. Oh, and everything you collected in co-op you bring back with you into solo.

"Mind blown?" asks Papoutsis.

A little, yes, because that solves another major pet peeve of co-op gaming (this one's mine): item allocation. Who gets the ammo clip? Who needs the health more? Annoying questions to have to constantly ask yourself, but even more annoying when you don't get the chance to ask them because your jerk of a co-op buddy swept through the room and grabbed all the loot while you were dissecting the necromorphs that were dropping from the ceiling. In Dead Space 3, no matter who opens the cabinet, box, or drawer, both players get an item. It might not always be the same exact thing - maybe you get health and I get material for weapon crafting - but we both get something, every single time. Making the systems work together, letting you drop in to someone's game "with all your goodies and come back with all your goodies," was immensely difficult but "critical" to making Dead Space 3 the "pre-eminent co-op experience," says Papoutsis. "We spent months of time figuring out how to make that work."

It was an ambitious goal, and one that frequently seemed unreachable, but cramming co-op into Dead Space 3 was not, Papoutsis insists, a mandate from the suits at EA. "Are there things that seem to make games sell more? Yes, there are. But there's never been a point where the formula is A+B=C, go and do that. That does not happen. It's about what the creators want to do. EA is very supportive of the creatives." Besides, Visceral was thinking about co-op from the very beginning.

"When we made Dead Space, believe it or not, there was a point very close to the end of development where we said, 'What would it be like if we had co-op?' and we turned on another Isaac and ran around the Ishimura." Trying to make it work would've thrown the game completely out of balance so late in its development, though, so the idea was scrapped. The multiplayer in Dead Space 2 made sense, says Paoutsis, because it fed off of that game's story, but for Dead Space 3, the team wanted to return to the franchise's "cornerstone" of story and characters, and that ruled out traditional multiplayer. And so we get a backstory for John Carver and Chapter Select and drop-in/drop-out and transferrable items and a whole lot of late nights for the creative team.

"The team, a lot of those people were asking 'Why are we doing this? It's so hard!' Because our players will like it." Or at least he hopes they will.

"The fact that we did what we [did] to me is amazing and I hope people see that."

Dead Space 3 will be out for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on February 5.

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Unfortunately I'll never see all the hard work they put into this game because they are under the worst publisher in history. It would have been nice.

Basically, they have just copied all these features from Borderlands (drop-in/drop-out co-op, your save file and items carrying over between co-op and single player etc.) or Borderlands 2 (ammo sharing). I'm afraid that if you are beaten to the punch by a game released 3,5 years ago, your "ground-breaking innovation" is neither.

Breaking news: Game series revolving around isolation and madness has difficulty incorporating co-op. Because that's what it needs...to get rid of the isolation and the wondering whether Isaac is going crazy because of the marker or the unspeakable horrors he's witnessed.

While I'm not in favour of putting co-op in Dead Space, the least they could have done is implement split-screen.
As it is, I'm not liking the look of DS3 thus far, but split-screen might have saved it for me, as it would have been another title to play with my brother. After all, while RE5 was laughable in many respects, my brother and I had a great time playing through it together.
It just mystifies me how such a simple addition was omitted entirely.

Sounds like a lot of wasted effort. None of that is going to make a better Dead Space game. It will probably not sell 5 million copies. Oh well. It was a nice series while it lasted.

Well this might be the deal breaker that prevents me from getting the game if the A.I. is anything like it was in Resident Evil 5. Well, guess I'll find out in a few weeks if this is worth my money or not. Damnit, I really did have hopes for this being a decent game.

Could someone explain to me the point of it of cramming in Co-op like this? I can understand Co-op games but for me, I've pretty much been playing the single player games my whole life so I'm kinda stumped when it comes to things like this.

From what I can tell, people who will purchase and enjoy this game will play it differently than what people are expecting.

1. Those who will play this game for a good deal longer than the general casual 'week' will do a run-through of the game alone as Isaac. Which they stated is possible and will not have any AI allies or anyone dropping in as they play.

2. 2nd Play Through, they take their knowledge and know-how of their single-player run and try to do it again as John. This way they experience the same game, but from a completely different angle and with a buddy they can either show off to or support.

3. 3rd Play Through, they'll likely strive for a more difficult setting or the MOST DIFFICULT setting and finish off the game.

4. IF they still have ANY desire to play at all after a 3rd run, they'll just farm for materials to make the very best weapon ever to one-shot anything -- even on the hardest difficulty. If this is even possible of course.

5. Return game to local store for store credit.

dalek sec:
Well this might be the deal breaker that prevents me from getting the game if the A.I. is anything like it was in Resident Evil 5. Well, guess I'll find out in a few weeks if this is worth my money or not. Damnit, I really did have hopes for this being a decent game.

Could someone explain to me the point of it of cramming in Co-op like this? I can understand Co-op games but for me, I've pretty much been playing the single player games my whole life so I'm kinda stumped when it comes to things like this.

I think you misunderstood. You don't have an AI partner when playing by yourself. It's just you playing as Issac. If someone, say a friend joins your game then there will be another person and when they leave that person will disappear.

OT: Sounds pretty neat actually. I mean not a lot of games with co-op do things like that. As for actually going through co-op though, I might but not for my first run.

dalek sec:
Well this might be the deal breaker that prevents me from getting the game if the A.I. is anything like it was in Resident Evil 5. Well, guess I'll find out in a few weeks if this is worth my money or not. Damnit, I really did have hopes for this being a decent game.

Could someone explain to me the point of it of cramming in Co-op like this? I can understand Co-op games but for me, I've pretty much been playing the single player games my whole life so I'm kinda stumped when it comes to things like this.

this statements is about ai partners in video games in general:

it wouldnt be that bad if the game would not force you to restart the whole chapter when your idiot ai partner died.

i wish you could have a mortal co op NPC and the story would just continue when he died.

just make him really likable and without him, the game harder and people would start to give a damn and try to keep him alive.

They are not doing AI Partners in Dead Space 3, if there is a partner it's ALWAYS a player and only if you agree for them to join you.

Jorec:

I think you misunderstood. You don't have an AI partner when playing by yourself. It's just you playing as Issac. If someone, say a friend joins your game then there will be another person and when they leave that person will disappear.

OT: Sounds pretty neat actually. I mean not a lot of games with co-op do things like that. As for actually going through co-op though, I might but not for my first run.

Oh! Well I promise you this, my face is quite red right now in embrassment. Sorry about that and thank you very much for clearing that up for me! :D

Well that problem's gone, now I just gotta hope the game overal doesn't suck when it comes out. Again, thanks for answering my question and clearing up my worries about it.

To be honest, it legitimately sounds like they are trying to do good work on deadspace 3. I know theres a LOT of hate for EA, but this actually sounds like an honest effort. i'll give it a try.

dalek sec:
Could someone explain to me the point of it of cramming in Co-op like this? I can understand Co-op games but for me, I've pretty much been playing the single player games my whole life so I'm kinda stumped when it comes to things like this.

The reason they do it?

To justify online passes and to try and cut into the used game sales.

That's pretty much it.

There's also some vague notion that every game must have multiplayer because no one ever buys single player games, but they're not quite incompetent enough to truly believe that.

dalek sec:

Oh! Well I promise you this, my face is quite red right now in embrassment. Sorry about that and thank you very much for clearing that up for me! :D

Well that problem's gone, now I just gotta hope the game overal doesn't suck when it comes out. Again, thanks for answering my question and clearing up my worries about it.

Heh, no problem.

I actually just finished the Dead Space 3 demo and in all honesty, it felt like Dead Space. Almost nothing has been altered from the core controls or mechanics. I know there's supposed to be a combat roll but I never used it, course that was because I didn't know how to do it. My only complaint is the change in ammo. Instead of having individual ammo packs for your various weapons all your ammo is now condensed into universal "ammo clips". That doesn't make much sense to me. How does a plasma cutter use the same kind of energy/round/etc. as the Pulse Rifle? Other than that it was fine, at least to me.

Jorec:

dalek sec:
Well this might be the deal breaker that prevents me from getting the game if the A.I. is anything like it was in Resident Evil 5. Well, guess I'll find out in a few weeks if this is worth my money or not. Damnit, I really did have hopes for this being a decent game.

Could someone explain to me the point of it of cramming in Co-op like this? I can understand Co-op games but for me, I've pretty much been playing the single player games my whole life so I'm kinda stumped when it comes to things like this.

I think you misunderstood. You don't have an AI partner when playing by yourself. It's just you playing as Issac. If someone, say a friend joins your game then there will be another person and when they leave that person will disappear.

Correct - that's my fault for not making that more clear in the original post.

I'd like to see a coop game where if you pick up some loot while your buddy is around, you have to fight him for it.

dalek sec:

Jorec:

I think you misunderstood. You don't have an AI partner when playing by yourself. It's just you playing as Issac. If someone, say a friend joins your game then there will be another person and when they leave that person will disappear.

OT: Sounds pretty neat actually. I mean not a lot of games with co-op do things like that. As for actually going through co-op though, I might but not for my first run.

Oh! Well I promise you this, my face is quite red right now in embrassment. Sorry about that and thank you very much for clearing that up for me! :D

Well that problem's gone, now I just gotta hope the game overal doesn't suck when it comes out. Again, thanks for answering my question and clearing up my worries about it.

Except that if you don't play coop you'll miss out on content such certain audio logs and story plot point as they ripped them out of the single player experience and made them coop exclusive :(

Sgt. Sykes:
I'd like to see a coop game where if you pick up some loot while your buddy is around, you have to fight him for it.

Castle Crashers had co-op players fight over the princesses in the game. There was an achivement for getting all four on co-op.

knight steel:

dalek sec:

Jorec:

I think you misunderstood. You don't have an AI partner when playing by yourself. It's just you playing as Issac. If someone, say a friend joins your game then there will be another person and when they leave that person will disappear.

OT: Sounds pretty neat actually. I mean not a lot of games with co-op do things like that. As for actually going through co-op though, I might but not for my first run.

Oh! Well I promise you this, my face is quite red right now in embrassment. Sorry about that and thank you very much for clearing that up for me! :D

Well that problem's gone, now I just gotta hope the game overal doesn't suck when it comes out. Again, thanks for answering my question and clearing up my worries about it.

Except that if you don't play coop you'll miss out on content such certain audio logs and story plot point as they ripped them out of the single player experience and made them coop exclusive :(

And THAT is what is stopping me from buying it. Everything else I can handle, but this? Just......no.

Sgt. Sykes:
I'd like to see a coop game where if you pick up some loot while your buddy is around, you have to fight him for it.

done both in borderlands or castle crashers - in the former, if somebody picks something up and you wanted it, you can fight them for it, and in the latter, the ending to every major boss fight will culminate in a fight for the princess kiss if more than one player is close enough when the princess is cut down

GenGenners:

knight steel:

dalek sec:

Oh! Well I promise you this, my face is quite red right now in embrassment. Sorry about that and thank you very much for clearing that up for me! :D

Well that problem's gone, now I just gotta hope the game overal doesn't suck when it comes out. Again, thanks for answering my question and clearing up my worries about it.

Except that if you don't play coop you'll miss out on content such certain audio logs and story plot point as they ripped them out of the single player experience and made them coop exclusive :(

And THAT is what is stopping me from buying it. Everything else I can handle, but this? Just......no.

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this in a interview were they were questioned about gamers who don't have the ability the play coop and they said it's was the gamers fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about those complaints.

knight steel:

GenGenners:

knight steel:

Except that if you don't play coop you'll miss out on content such certain audio logs and story plot point as they ripped them out of the single player experience and made them coop exclusive :(

And THAT is what is stopping me from buying it. Everything else I can handle, but this? Just......no.

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this in a interview were they were questioned about gamers who don't have the ability the play coop and they said it's was the gamers fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about those complaints.

Care to point me and others to this interview? I'm intrigued by this as I hadn't heard of story content being locked away in Co-op.

Jorec:

knight steel:

GenGenners:
And THAT is what is stopping me from buying it. Everything else I can handle, but this? Just......no.

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this in a interview were they were questioned about gamers who don't have the ability the play coop and they said it's was the gamers fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about those complaints.

Care to point me and others to this interview? I'm intrigued by this as I hadn't heard of story content being locked away in Co-op.

It's been a while since I saw it but I'll try to find it for you it was on youtube and featured two people standing up and the point was made about the halfway mark from what I can remember.

This is like reading a tragedy.

The team at Visceral seems to be putting their heart and soul over this (sometimes we forget that actual people make these games) and although I'm not a fan of coop in former horror games (I'm looking at you Resident Evil), they seem to be making everything in their power to make this a good or even great game.

In Resident Evil 5 it was pretty annoying to re-start an entire section because someone else was about to join my game and even worse was the fact that we needed to rationalize what items to get for whom. And I especially applaud their decision to not cram in an AI partner, I seriously wanted Sheva to die in a fire sometimes.

Everything in this article sounds pretty neat, BUT... EA... 5 million copies seems a bit too much and I highly doubt this will ever happen, even between the 3 systems combined (PC, 360, PS3). And as for the PC version, well... Origin...

RIP Dead Space (and maybe Visceral), you will be missed.

Jorec:

knight steel:

GenGenners:
And THAT is what is stopping me from buying it. Everything else I can handle, but this? Just......no.

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this in a interview were they were questioned about gamers who don't have the ability the play coop and they said it's was the gamers fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about those complaints.

Care to point me and others to this interview? I'm intrigued by this as I hadn't heard of story content being locked away in Co-op.

Found it, it's not the exact same video which I remember the guy in this isn't a jerk like the other one but the bit about content being cut is still there

it starts at 1;50.

knight steel:

Jorec:

knight steel:

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this in a interview were they were questioned about gamers who don't have the ability the play coop and they said it's was the gamers fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about those complaints.

Care to point me and others to this interview? I'm intrigued by this as I hadn't heard of story content being locked away in Co-op.

Found it, it's not the exact same video which I remember the guy in this isn't a jerk like the other one but the bit about content being cut is still there

it starts at 1;50.

Many thanks!

That does sound like a lot of work. I'm glad the item sharing thing will be in place. I've never really had a problem with it, since I only play with friends and we always ask each other, "Hey, you need ammo?" before we pick something up. Still, this will save time, assuming any of my friends get the game.
I, for one, am excited about the co op and I'm very much looking forward to playing Dead Space 3.

knight steel:

GenGenners:

knight steel:

Except that if you don't play coop you'll miss out on content such certain audio logs and story plot point as they ripped them out of the single player experience and made them coop exclusive :(

And THAT is what is stopping me from buying it. Everything else I can handle, but this? Just......no.

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this interview were they were questioned about gamer who don't have the ability the play coop they said it's the gamer fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about that complaint.

Wow really? Can I get a link for this?

erttheking:

knight steel:

GenGenners:
And THAT is what is stopping me from buying it. Everything else I can handle, but this? Just......no.

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this interview were they were questioned about gamer who don't have the ability the play coop they said it's the gamer fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about that complaint.

Wow really? Can I get a link for this?

Already have look up a bit and you will see it for yourself :)

Alright so I watched the part you pointed out. And while it does seem suspect it sounds to me that you are still going to get the full story experience if you decide to play by yourself, but there's additional tidbits that while not wholly necessary to the completion of the story probably provide insight into what happened or whatever.

Still if it ends up that there are essential details only available in co-op then I will be kind of upset.

I guess it's a good thing I'm getting it from Gamefly and not dropping 60 on it, I'd probably be a lot more pissed.

You know I was always thinking when I got to the moment where I'm being chased by 6 necromorphs in that beautiful setpiece on the Ishemura bridge how awesome it would be if 'J0E_8L0W6969' dropped in solved the level for me if he had done it before or got his ass eaten by necro morphs after he took the ammo box i desperately needed and then called me a 'dumb ass faggot' for getting him killed right before he then D/Ced. That's what horror is to me. Thanks EA for making your game no matter what by metrics!

knight steel:

erttheking:

knight steel:

Yes thank you I couldn't put it better myself, but the final thing that really made me rage was when they were asked about this interview were they were questioned about gamer who don't have the ability the play coop they said it's the gamer fault and that they should nutup and get friends if they wanted the content and that they didn't care about that complaint.

Wow really? Can I get a link for this?

Already have look up a bit and you will see it for yourself :)

Eh...I watched and he never said anything like that.

Sounds all very nice and good but the skeptic in me is still flailing its arms around and screaming.

Jorec:
Alright so I watched the part you pointed out. And while it does seem suspect it sounds to me that you are still going to get the full story experience if you decide to play by yourself, but there's additional tidbits that while not wholly necessary to the completion of the story probably provide insight into what happened or whatever.

Still if it ends up that there are essential details only available in co-op then I will be kind of upset.

I guess it's a good thing I'm getting it from Gamefly and not dropping 60 on it, I'd probably be a lot more pissed.

Your quote didn't work lucky I was keeping an eye out :P
Yeah it's probably only tidbit's and small details about the world but it still rubs me the wrong way knowing that content that could have easily been included on single player are purposefully being kept from me :(

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