Update: Rumor: Poor Sales May Have Killed Dead Space

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Update: Rumor: Poor Sales May Have Killed Dead Space

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In the wake of Visceral Montreal's closure comes rumors that its Dead Space 4 mock-ups won't be needed.

In the wake of the closure of Visceral Montreal comes hints that the Dead Space franchise may have been killed, as a result of poor sales. Dead Space 4 had been in pre-production at Visceral Montreal - prototype and mock-up builds - when the news came down from EA. Electronic Arts has yet to officially announce the status either of Dead Space 4 or the franchise in general.

The Visceral Montreal closure news has since been confirmed via Twitter, by Army of Two's lead VFX artist Marc D'Amico. The Dead Space news can only be considered a rumor at the moment, since the source is an unnamed VideoGamer.com contact. However given that Dead Space 3's sales targets were set ridiculously high, and given Visceral's layoffs, it seems likely that this rumor will be confirmed.

Dead Space 3's need for high sales was the main driver behind its switch to co-op play, and its change in aesthetic from horror to action title with microtransactions. Not that long ago, Visceral producer John Calhoun claimed that money wasn't a motivating factor behind the microtransactions decision, claiming that "Dead Space 3 shares the exact same DNA as Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2 ... the last thing we think about is monetization." Not long after that statement, and after the Dead Space 3 launch, Visceral staff started getting fired.

Source: Eurogamer

UPDATE: According to Gamasutra, EA has described the Dead Space rumors as "patently false."

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Oh geez take out any originality, add co-op to a horror game and add micro transaction to a full price game, how would it ever fail?

Where was the need for it to sell insanely high? I can understand that EA WANTED it to sell 5 million copies, but it certainly did not NEED to.

They'd be fools to completely dump the franchise going into the next gen...unless they have plans for an equally evocative sci-fi adventure in the works.

But as a player (and a writer) Dead Space 3's ending was so piss poor weak that they better give us a bit more closure in the dlc if they're not going to carry on with the series.

A great series was given unrealistic goals, even changed dramatically all just to make more profit. And now that the game hasn't met those goals the developer is being made to pay for it - they're firing parts of the dev team less than a month after the damn game came out. This is not going to end well and it actually may be the first time in history that EA has directly pissed me off.

You guys don't want me as your enemy.

The sad thing is, with companies hoarding old IPs and not doing anything with it, Dead Space might end up VERY dead.

I hope they sell the IP to some Indie team, who can make good horror games out of it.

Yeah well, was their any any any doubt that EA's plans aren't exactly sustainable in the long term?

I actually just started playing Dead Space 2, and it seems like a pretty good game so far. I've heard that 3 is worse, but still, Dead Space had a unique style that I quite enjoyed, it's too bad that such ingenuity can't last.

Or maybe, and bear with me here 'cause this is just a crazy idea off the top of my head, just maybe... The way EA turned it into Call of Duty With Space Zombies might have had something to do with it not selling so well. Maybe the people who liked Dead Space the way it was didn't want yet another crappy shooter, and maybe the people who like games like Call of Duty are already satisfied with, say, Call of Duty?

Damn shame the series had to go out with the whimper that is Dead Space 3, rather than the roar it could have been. Still, circumstances aside, at least it didn't end on a cliffhanger. I'm okay with a series not getting infinite sequels and having the narrative stretched out to the point of insanity, like what happened with Resident Evil.

Well at least they don't base this off MetaCritic scores...

You know, I've tried not to just up and blame all of the world's troubles on EA...

...But yeah, those bastards. They were trying to turn a really successful niche title into a AAA superstar like CoD. What did they think was going to happen? DS3 was never going to sell five million copies, and if they invested that much in it that five million sales were necessary to recoup development costs and turn a sizable profit it's their damn fault. It's not a reason to shut down a franchise that could easily have succeeded on a smaller scale.

Wait, so you mean the series that might have barely exceeded 5 million sales in it's lifetime, didn't hit 5 million for one game? Which some of the changes made to it turned away some fans of the series like myself? Colour me surprised >.>

It's a shame too, as before what I'd heard (and what I'd experienced in the demo) about Dead Space 3, I enjoyed the series.

MercurySteam:

You guys don't want me as your enemy.

Oh crap, its Zone Tan, watch out for suprise tentacle attacks EA!

Anyway, I hate to speculate on what this particular failure means on a larger scale for the game industry, while Dead Space 3 was as "safe" a game as could be made, I doubt its failure will inspire companies to start taking more creative risks.

Dead Space was doomed from the moment they said they had to sell 5 million copies to keep the franchise viable.

What baffles me is that when that quote originally started making the rounds I don't think anyone thought it was remotely feasible. Sure, the internet is not renowned for its optimism, but when everyone is saying it's not going to happen I have to wonder why the decision makers at EA thought it could.

Oy...

Did anyone not see this coming? Because I saw it coming.

As soon as I heard EA say "It needs to make 500 million sales to justify its existence" I knew this was gonna happen.

Congrats, EA. You just killed dead space. It could have been a good, reliable niche series. But no. With you, it's either make billions, or bust. -_-

Akisa:
Oh geez take out any originality, add co-op to a horror game and add micro transaction to a full price game, how would it ever fail?

Did you even play the game? Based on your statement I'm assuming you didn't.
Just an FYI you aren't forced to play the game co-op, there is a single player where you are alone. Also micro transactions aren't needed at all; most people who play the game will be absolutely flooded with resources by the end of the game.

I won't be surprised if the next story I read about visceral is about layoffs or closing

If it's not poor sales it's piracy, ALWAYS.

It is NEVER - I repeat NEVER - the fault of the publisher or the developers making poorer design choices at each corner.

Fucking consumers, can't they ever do anyhting right???

"Dead Space 3 shares the exact same DNA as Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2 ... the last thing we think about is monetization."
This is true, though, money is not the last thing they think about - it's the first thing...

/sarcasm

As a fan this pleases me. We don't need DS 12. Shitty that it is about politics and not creativity to leave it as a trilogy

I'm sorry but I have to say...

It may seem a little early due to lack of any official confirmation but this is EA we are talking about.

Honestly, what more were they going to do with this franchise anyway?

Rumor: Idiotic decisions from the developer and publisher killed Dead Space

There, fixed that for you.

They took away everything that was good and made CoD in space with micro transactions. Geez, why did it fail?

Maybe companies will eventually realize that adding on multi-player co-op is often a gigantic waste? Or maybe, instead of trying to make you buy a second copy, they could just go back to split-screen co-op?

It's a damn shame...
I can't believe the profound dissonance between the publisher's business goals (borderline greedy), the Developer's creative endeavours, and the desires of players.

And yeah Maybe DS3 is not as horrible as a lot of people are making it out to be, but it is clear to see that the focus was really far from the original concept of the game.

Rednog:

Did you even play the game? Based on your statement I'm assuming you didn't.
Just an FYI you aren't forced to play the game co-op, there is a single player where you are alone. Also micro transactions aren't needed at all; most people who play the game will be absolutely flooded with resources by the end of the game.

Yeah, it's all true, but the truth is that none of the additions served to improve the experience of deadspace. In fact, the game is overall very weak in its general level design, a clear step under DS 1 and 2, and the "story" feels as an afterthough... There's not even a valid reason for the Co-op character, other than.. BRO! And don't even get me started on the love triangle... Who wrote this?!
I mean DS was never about brilliant writing, but the atmosphere made up for it, and the lack of exposition allowed us to fill in the gaps more intelligently.

But on the commercial side even from the pr videos, back from the "your mum hates this game" campaign for DS2, It has become clear that at least the publisher is missing the point. Who are they marketing this game to? BROTASTIC CODpiece FANS?
I loved deadspace, but gore and necromorph entrails was never my reason to play it, I'm over 12 yrs old. I personally thought that playing a borderline insane character was interesting, and rarely done (thanks Silent hill 2). It was the quiet uncertainty and the urgency, not the awesome explosive set pieces in my face...

The point is that they undermine their own creative property's integrity with the intention of winning more money. And that is called pimping. -"but she's got DDDD sized breasts now! although you dont HAVE to play with them..."-

I suppose everything has been said.... it really saddens me... but maybe, the industry's system must break for it to get reebooted... as it happened back back in the videogame crash of 1977.
Shame it's costing us the games we love.

But to be honest, I'm getting very sick of the AAA game circuit and the publishers (Yeah, EA is only ONE of the problems Cliffy B)... Dead space was only getting worse after DS2... and in general they can all crash and burn in their money hungry endeavours.

Not surprising, but... still depressing. Loved the original, 2 went from a must have to a Ģ5 steam sale purchase after the 'your mom hates dead space' ad campaign left a bad taste in the mouth, and everything I heard (and played in the demo) for three told me I didn't want the game.

Off topic, but was there given a good reason why the co-op player is Bland military Bloke 247, and not Ellie?

Rednog:

Akisa:
Oh geez take out any originality, add co-op to a horror game and add micro transaction to a full price game, how would it ever fail?

Did you even play the game? Based on your statement I'm assuming you didn't.
Just an FYI you aren't forced to play the game co-op, there is a single player where you are alone. Also micro transactions aren't needed at all; most people who play the game will be absolutely flooded with resources by the end of the game.

Don't forget about the many changes to general aesthetic & tone, much of which could be rationally explained by the shift toward the action-oriented market & F2P-style monetization, rather than the strategy that made the first game a success

Personally, I'm glad it failed. The lesson needed learned: you can screw up a "sure bet" with bad ideas

Does anyone actually know how many copies DS3 sold?

Zhukov:
Does anyone actually know how many copies DS3 sold?

poor or not its really not surprising, it was never going to sell 5mill

I was a big dead space fan but am yet to play DS3....I should have got it sooner, another DA2 situation

...oh well

I never understood this. Why didnīt they just look at the sales figures for the two first games, made som estimates and configured the costs of the third game with those figures in mind? Thereīs no reason why they couldnīt have tried to keep the series alive tailored to a niche audience. Instead they see the low sales, and throw everything they got after the game, brags about it being a AAAA game and then watches it sink because everyone hated it.

I would actually prefer if it stays dead and doesn't go down the path of resident evil.
The third installment was a first step down that path but it still had some saving graces that kept it from falling.
No need to torture a great trilogy of games with sequels that increasingly fail to get it.

Windknight:

Off topic, but was there given a good reason why the co-op player is Bland military Bloke 247, and not Ellie?

when I first hear about that I aked the very same question

if you going to apeal to the lowest common denominator you have to go all the way...because girls are icy

The 5 million target was unachievable to begin with. Where the fuck are 2 million sales on top of previous titles supposed to come from? From EA's flourishing reputation? From chipping away at the horror core of the series that drew people in initially?

Maximizing the cash-out by publicly hanging a guillotine over the franchise was quite innovative though, props to marketing for that.

what was that again about your reasoning with warfighter and admiting that handling a franchise not as it was intended can have severe consequences?

Windknight:

Off topic, but was there given a good reason why the co-op player is Bland military Bloke 247, and not Ellie?

because article 3 of "cliched storytelling for video games and other media" states that you are obligated to add a plot twist involving every romantic interests of the protagonist.
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its the LAW!

If EA wants to make millions upon millions of dollars for every product they release they are in the wrong industry.

....I don't think I'm gonna buy Sim City 5 today now that I've read this.

Zhukov:
Does anyone actually know how many copies DS3 sold?

My understanding is that it sold less than a million.

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