ds/roHorror exclusive interview with Dead Space director Glen Schofield

Glen A. Schofield: Dead Space director & General Manager of EA Redwood Shores

Dead Space Horror (now rely on Horror): How did you get started in the industry?

Glen Schofield: I started as an artist. My first degree is in art and I’ve been drawing and painting my whole life. Believe it or not my first game was “Barbie Gamegirl”. They all thought it would be funny to give the new guy a Barbie game. Joke was on them-the game sold like crazy and I became the art director.

dsH: What projects are you currently working on?

Glen: I’ve been promoted to the GM of the Redwood Shores Studio so right now we have a couple unannounced games in development as well as Dante’s Inferno which should be a huge blockbuster and Dead Space: Extraction created exclusively for the Wii. Godfather 2 is done and will be coming out on April 7th.

dsH: Out of all the games you’ve worked on, which was your favourite?

Glen: No doubt about it, Dead Space.

dsH: What in your opinion is Dead Space’s greatest feature?

Glen: Wow, I definitely can’t narrow it down to one feature, no way. But I am proud of how polished the game is, how scary it is, zero-g, dismemberment and no HUD. I think overall we innovated in quite a few areas.

dsH: What in your opinion is Dead Space’s greatest weakness?

Glen: No comment, but whatever it is we’ll fix it in the next game..if there is one.

dsH: What is your favourite enemy/weapon and character of Dead Space?

Glen: I love the ripper-the saw blade you shoot out. Its graphic as hell and just messy. I also like the boot stomp. I find that highly satisfying to walk around and stomp the crap out of things. Enemy is a tough one, they all have their charms but its probably the divider just because he turns into so many little creatures and his paired kill on Isaac is great. My favorite character is of course Isaac.

dsH: If there was anything you could go back and change in Dead Space, a part of the story, a character, a setting, gameplay feature, what would it be?

Glen: I’d make the turret a bit more forgiving. Sorry about that one.

dsH: Dead Space’s story is divided in three forms of media. The comics, the movie and the game. Do you plan something similar for future releases of Dead Space? How satisfied were you with the whole “Dead Space package” ?

Glen: I was extremely satisfied with how all three pieces came together and if you read, watch and play all three they really tell a very fascinating story. As for other projects, we are planning something similar but a bit different for Extraction.

dsH: Do you think that you struck a good balance between gameplay, story and background story?

Glen: I do, yes. There are pieces we had to leave on the “cutting room floor’ so to speak that would have made it even deeper, but sometimes its just impossible.

dsH: Do you regret giving Isaac practically no dialogue?

Glen: I don’t regret it no. Would we do it again, not sure. But the reviews seem to be very positive so I don’t think it was a mistake, more like a style choice.

dsH: Was there anything that broke your heart to leave out of the finished product due to time constraints or other factors?

Glen: A couple things but they didn’t break my heart. Obviously there are many things cut from the game because of time and resources but we prioritized all the time so my favorite things got in in most cases. There was a flying enemy that we just couldn’t get in that would have been cool, but in the cramped areas he probably would have sucked so we cut him.

dsH: Chapter 12: Dead Space was one of the most loved level in the game because it was outdoor on a planet. Many fans would’ve wished for more outdoor levels.

Glen: Okay. I’m glad you liked it. I think in this case less is more. We gave you a taste of the planet and that’s probably why you loved it. But I have to say there were some really cool levels that were inside the ship too.

dsH: Unitology and how it affects its followers is definitely a major plot theme in the game, do you belive that you delved into the general teachings and basic structure of the church enough in the game and will more info be put into a possible sequel?

Glen: Good question. We could have gone deeper because we have a ton of backstory on it. It was starting to be too much for the game- between the marker, the dementia, the religion, the corporate angle, we couldn’t throw too much more at the player in my opinion.

dsH: How long does the hallucination or illusion last? Who’s to say that Isaac even got off the ground? Does this “hallucination loop” allow a wider amount of possibilities for a sequel?

Glen: We shall see! Dementia itself in our story lasts longer and longer the more you are in contact with the corruption and the marker.

dsH: The storyline in Dead Space spans many years. Will there be the possibility of having a Dead Space game set in the past?

Glen: Extraction is a prequel. Its in the past but only a few weeks. I doubt that’s what you meant though. Could we go into the past even more, absolutely.

dsH: Recently, Dead Space Extraction for Wii has been announced. Do you plan to integrate any new features? Will map sizes and number of enemies have to be reduced compared to Dead Space? Will it still be physics heavy?

Glen: You should see it. It looks fantastic on the Wii. In my opinion (and others) its one of the best looking games so far on the Wii. Obviously we will make a couple compromises but in other ways we can add more, especially taking advantage of the Wii controllers. There are new enemies, characters, story, puzzles, co-op and weapons. And yes, physics and even zero-g play a huge part in the game.

dsH: Can we expect it to look as good as the recently shown footage of Dead Space running on the original Xbox?

Glen: Better, I think. It really looks freakin great. I kid you not.

dsH: How do you want to scare the player on the Wii and will the game make use of the possibilities the Wii offers in terms of controls?

Glen: We will scare the player just as much as we did in Dead Space. We learned so much about scary, tension and horror that we’ll put all that knowledge to use on Extraction. As I said above the Wii controller offers us some pretty cool innovative and unique opportunities for Extraction and we are taking advantage of every one.

dsH: Can you tell us anything about a possible sequel for Dead Space?

Glen: I’d like to make one, that’s for sure.

dsH: Finally, is there anything you want to share with the fanbase, a comment/advice/anecdote/correction/critism?

Glen: I want to say “Thank you”! It has been a tremendous year for Dead Space and we are so lucky to have so much support from the industry and the fans. I can’t thank you all enough for the fan mail, the great compliments and even the criticisms that always help us make games better. All we want to do is make something great and something that people will enjoy playing. That’s what makes me and the team get out of bed each day. We appreciate you all for letting us make a game that has dismemberment at its core, exploding puss filled sacks, babies with tentacles and sick freakin’ pregnant monsters. Man, that’s just fun to put into words.

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