Reports Say Dead Space 4 Has Been Cancelled

dead-space-3-concept-art-01-isaac-clarkeDead Space 3 has been out all of a month but it looks like EA has seen enough from the sales figures to make a call about the series’ future. Reports say that Dead Space 3 failed to meet its sales targets so EA is pulling the plug on the series, including cancelling Dead Space 4 which Visceral Games already had in pre-production.

The rumour that DS4 has been cancelled is disappointing but apparently not a shock for people inside EA and Visceral Games. While the Dead Space series has been reasonably popular among gamers, it didn’t seem to have too many fans at the publisher.

Publicly, EA seemed to support the game. In 2011, CEO John Riccitiello referred to Dead Space as one of EA’s “strong, growing franchises” and suggested that Dead Space 3 could sell upwards of five million copies.

Behind the scenes, EA was anything but supportive of what Visceral had done with the first two games in the franchise. EA was close to cancelling the game mid-way through development but settled for cutting the game’s budget while production was ongoing.

EA also felt it wise to dictate the direction and content of Dead Space 3 in addition to cutting funding. Video Gamer’s source also says that the addition of the controversial micro-transactions was a late addition that necessitated the switch to the generic weapon ammo. Recently, EA said that they want all of their games to have micro-transactions so I guess we know who to blame for this change.

The move away from survival-horror to an action third-person shooter was also an EA edict. EA wanted the game to shift to more of an action focus to be more like the EA published Mass Effect games. The difference between the series was that Mass Effect was built on the story rather than the gameplay while Dead Space was a survival-horror game. EA telling Visceral to change genres was effectively ripping the heart out of the franchise (or maybe chopping off its limbs in a gory fashion).

Two weeks ago, EA announced that they were making an unspecified number of layoffs, with an emphasis on studios in Los Angeles and Montreal. Reports now suggest that the Montreal layoffs included staff members at Visceral Montreal who were working on Dead Space 4.

A couple of member of the Dead Space dev team have spoken out to say that the report is completely false. However, EA refused to directly comment about the rumour when Kotaku but would say that they were proud of the game. If the report wasn’t true, EA could very well have said that they were false. We might not have believed them but it would be better than saying “we don’t talk about rumours.”

Well, if you needed more proof of why EA was voted the worst company in America, here it is. The reason I loved the original Dead Space (and I suspect I have this in common with many gamers) was that the survival-horror elements of the game were a refreshing change from the status quo. Dead Space 3 wasn’t bad but it had certainly lost its way compared to the original Dead Space.

While I’ll certainly miss Dead Space, I’m happy that it goes out now before it becomes another generic, mindless shooter. But EA already has that covered with Battlefield, don’t they?

Sources: Video Gamer, Kotaku

About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on March 5, 2013, in Games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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