Dead Space Producer Interview with Rich Briggs

Here goes an interview I was able to do with one of the two Dead Space producers, Rich Briggs. I have forgotten to take an audio recorder with me and I REALLY regret that as Rich answered to my questions in detail, but I was only able to write down so much. As I only took notes, I will summarize my own version of what he said, I’m sorry. dsH stands for Dead Space Horror and was a seperate site before it merged with rely on Horror.

dsH: Thanks for sitting down with me Rich. First of all, could you tell us a bit more about Isaak Clark and the inspiration for his suit?

Briggs: Isaak Clark is an average guy, no super hero. In fact, he is an engineer only who was sent out to the Ishimura for repairing the various things that crashed down. He knows about miner tools and therefore can work with them. Since he has an engineering background, he knows a lot about technology and later on can use that advantage to use the tools he finds as weapons against the Necromorphs. There are very few “real” weapons in the game as Isaak mainly uses miner tools, telekinesis and the stasis module to fight himself through the infested spaceship. His suits design actually came out of the idea to make a gothic style theme to the game inspired by the ribbing and buttresses of gothic cathedrals. They also didn’t want to create some sort of unrealistic super hero costume. He’s an engineer after all and you’ll see how his suit becomes better with the progress of the game since he modifies it himself.

dsH: With the genre of Sci-Fi Horror being relatively untapped for gaming, did you feel like you were breaking new ground and which books/movies/games did inspire you to produce such a game?

Briggs: Yes, there are many great Sci-Fi games and many good Horror games out there, but no one really tried to put these two genres togheter in a realistic way. You have liberties with fiction and there’s so much you can do with the Sci-fi setting without becoming too unrealistic. With addition of telekinesis, the stasis module and/or zero gravitiy boots you are able to pull off many different ways of gameplay. On a game inspiration side of course Resident Evil and Silent Hill played a role, while most of the team are also huge movie fans. Briggs loved Event Horizon for example, Alien, The Thing, The Grudge, but also many japanese horror and science fiction movies. He also mentioned a japanese author who is able to make something that your well familiar with look horrid, disturbing and gruesome. They tried to do that with Dead Space too.

dsH: The survival horror genre is literally dying out with the major series such as Resident Evil turning into mainstream action games to reach a bigger audience. How did you balance the delicate divide between run & gunning whilst building up a great horror athmosphere?

Briggs: He mentions how Isaak’s speed was pretty low in the beginning. The focus groups where like “Hell, make him move faster” and the team was like “No, its a survival horror game and no shooter”, however as more and more people complained about that they sped him up a bit and think they found a good compromise. Also facts like he’s by far no super hero and the scarce ammo is a factor for it being a real horror game. There are action sequences, but he explains a combat that may happen very often (*and i experienced that as well during gameplay sessions): You get to fight 3 necromorphs and only have 10 bullets left. You shoot one, move one of the body parts with telekinesis to the other guy and use stasis to slow the third one down. With combo attacks you can bring them down then and you maybe only needed 5-6 bullets, so the fights are very strategic and “You’ll die if you only run and gun”

dsH: How did you stop the environments from being monotonous? What surprises can we expect? Is the game only taking place on the Ishimura?

Briggs: “*smiles* We are talking about the Ishimura here” Yeah, the game surely is no hall crawler (*as i explained the problem with other indoor level games) There’s many different environments such as the engineering deck (where the game starts), a flight deck, a mining deck, a crew deck, a medical deck or a hyperphonics deck with many green areas and plants. It is like a big city and was the home of a crew full of miners and scientists.”I think people will be surprised”

dsH: What achievements/moments in the game are you proud the most on what the team has made?

Briggs: In general they are proud how they could really put in all their ideas they had in mind without EA stopping them. The whole horrific, violent, disturbing vision they had all made it into the game. EA hardly set any limits to them so they pushed them or even got over them without compromises.

dsH: Is there a possibility to expand Dead Space’s story into a possible franchise of the game?

Me: As time was running out for me, I skipped that one, because it already was explained in detail at the roundtable with executive producer Glen Schofield. you can find the summary within the “Preview” section.

dsH: Will we see downloadable content down the line after the games release?

Briggs: No official announcement has been made yet, but he surely finds it interesting to use downloadable content. Its very likely that we’ll get to download additional things after the games release.

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