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One year later, Dead Space Remake remains an uncrowned king — Opinion

A year ago, Dead Space Remake debuted surreptitiously with the arduous promise of honoring the legacy of his original work. At the time, the launch was also one of the first of great importance in an extremely competitive year in the games industry — which proved to be more voracious than ever after two difficult years of recession in sales.

Unsurprisingly, the new version of Dead Space, considered by many to be definitive, proved to be worthy of its existence and improved practically all technical aspects of its inspiration with due respect. The gameplay implemented very welcome mechanics, such as more fluid movement and the possibility of controlling “flight” in zero gravity. The narrative tied up loose ends and brought more depth with sidequests, while exploration became freer and more enjoyable, just to name a few examples.

All this merit was very well received by specialized critics, guaranteeing a notable average of 88 points in the aggregator Metacritic — same score obtained in our analysis, which you can read clicking here! Initially, it is possible to say that Dead Space Remake had the success it deserved and reached its full potential… right? Well, that's exactly where things get more complicated, for complicated reasons.

Dead Space Remake was a sales success.

Far from aggregators and specialized criticism, Dead Space Remake would have to face a series of challenges to gain public attention which, it should be noted, became more selective with the new price range for Triple-A games of US$70 — around R$350. And this aspect, notably, removed the title from the fight for bigger prizes at the end of 2023.

Is the best war the one you don't fight?

The success test is relative to many criteria, but one is quite clear: Who is not seen is not remembered. As it is an exclusively single-player game, without new DLCs, focused on very violent horror and rated for adults, Dead Space Remake does not appeal to as wide an audience. This thought readjusted its launch for as early as January 2023, avoiding competing with Hogwarts Legacy It is Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores, for example, just at the beginning of the year.

However, even with little advertising and a very restricted target audience, Dead Space Remake still did very well. Currently, there is no public data on the number of sales of the title, but it is known that it emerged as the second best-selling game of January in the United States, right behind the titanic Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. The brand was enough to excite fans for a possible remade sequel and even cheer for the Game of the Year award.

In this context, optimism was undermined by a small problem, previously winning the Game of the Year award, being the only one in the horror category to achieve the feat: Resident Evil 4 Remake. Capcom's launch arrived in March, with the very difficult mission of honoring the legacy of one of the most iconic titles in history — and, unlike Resident Evil 3 Remakethe bet paid off very well. The new, improved version became popular with the public and became definitive.with practically unanimous praise from social media.

Resident Evil 4 RemakeResident Evil 4 stole the honorary title of 'Remake of the Year' in 2023!

So, the 15 minutes of fame Dead Space Remake were cut short prematurely, ending much of their awards season chances. On the one hand, if the anticipation of its release undermined its cultural prominence, on the other, it guaranteed a good number of sales to ensure the presence of the franchise, dormant for 11 years, for more sequels.

These are two sides of a very dangerous executive bet, but which, above all, showed the brand's potential and the loyalty of its fans.

Perhaps yes

If in the remake dispute it was already difficult for Dead Space, in the big picture, things were worse. In the following months, the public would receive The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Baldur's Gate III It is Spider-Man 2, which soon joined the list of favorites for the Game of the Year award. Justifiably, the RPG from Larian Studios was tipped to take all the statuettes home, until mere minutes before the end of the game, a new challenger appeared: Alan Wake 2.

Sharing much of the challenges of Dead Space Remake, Remedy's creative horror game didn't shy away from the fight with major releases and hit the market in the month of horror, on the eve of Halloween. Its directorial decisions and unique approach to narrative guaranteed a memorable experience for players and critics, who, with fresh memories, did not hesitate to vote for the title. Alan Wake 2, Coming from a company on the rise and being a “little explored” intellectual property, it was a shot in the dark that hit the nail on the head, at the right time.

Alan Wake 2 and Baldur's Gate 3Alan Wake 2 and Baldur's Gate III dominated awards season.

This boldness, naturally based on a lot of commercial planning, allowed Remedy stood out to the public and investors — consequently, ensuring a more promising future for the franchise Alan Wake. While we assume that Dead Space Remake should win a sequel, we have certainty that Saga Anderson's story isn't over yet. And this is a very significant difference for anyone who is an avid fan of a work, as is my case with EA Games' space horror.

If you're still not convinced that the release schedule makes a difference to the well-being of a game franchise, just look at the unlucky case of Horizon Zero Dawn — which became a joke. In 2017, the first title hit the market exclusively for the PS4, which would be a great debut, if it weren't for the titanic launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild five days later.

After 5 years of a badly hampered but successful launch, the public could finally play the sequel Forbidden West in February 2022. Coincidentally, players could also build on the stellar success of the moment, rookie Elden Ring, released a week later.

And it doesn't stop there: on March 19, 2023, the promising DLC Burning Shores was launched — arriving less than a month away from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom. As mentioned before, the issue transcends the creative and technical merits of each title, but becomes a difficult financial decision for players. With so much competition, the one that stands out most among the general public wins, whether in their hearts or in their pockets.

Horizon Zero Dawn ForbiddenEven with all its technical excellence, the Horizon Zero Dawn franchise suffers from poorly planned launches.

Returning to the case of Dead Space Remakefor a practical example: in the long run, it is more advantageous to enjoy the campaign and multiplayer of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 with friends, or explore the same campaign alone until a sequel arrives?

Ideally, it would be great to enjoy both — hello, Game Pass folks — but in this economy, few players can afford that luxury, even if they are fans of both franchises. Finally, it doesn't help that EA Games' pricing launched the title at R$338.90 on consoles in Brazil — compared to R$259.50 in Resident Evil 4 Remake, for a comparison.

Even though prices are cheaper on computers, with Dead Space Remake being sold at R$ 249, this does not take into account the hardware necessary to run it with quality, something that ends up limiting part of the public. There are multiple perspectives that lead to much bigger problems. Ultimately, the player waits for a promotion that may take some time to arrive, the title's debut on a subscription service, or illegal means of reproduction.

A king without a crown

After much rambling about the perception of the game, the existence of this text is justified beyond the mere “birthday” memory of Dead Space Remake. After last year's awards season rush, I was able to revisit the title once again and finish it, again, on the highest difficulty available — as usual, in my reviews. Having played the original work 15 years ago, in addition to having revisited it before the remake, it was impossible not to be enchanted by the wealth of details in the new version.

The design of the USG Ishimura, where we spend most of the game, its dense atmosphere and the contextual details of its crew make the remake a true masterpiece. Not that the Dead Space original owed something to representational fidelity, but the narrative and visual additions of the remake consecrate it as the definitive version to take advantage of the unfortunate misadventure of Isaac Clarke — who now speaks and expresses himself!

Perhaps one of the changes that pleased me most was the implementation of a semi-open world, which made it possible to explore the ship more calmly whenever desired. Furthermore, secondary missions encourage this extra movement, rewarding the player with better and more versatile equipment, very well inserted into the narrative.

Dead Space RemakeDead Space Remake is the definitive version for fans of the franchise.

Finally, it is important to highlight that this entire experience was on the PC version of the game, which received the lowest score among platforms due to optimization issues. Here, I didn't find any performance flaws, possibly because I had already played with the fixes released throughout the year, even using a gaming notebook equipped with a mere i7 9750H and GTX 1660 Ti. Despite not having experienced the more elegant visual resources , like Ray Tracing, I still find the graphical representation impressive.

Modest opinion and far from cold logic, Dead Space Remake deserved to be among the contenders for the Best Game of the Year award. Not necessarily taking away anyone's spot, since everyone there deserved to participate, but just adding to it — after all, it would be fun to see two single-player horror remakes competing with each other. Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

However, things are not so simple and, perhaps with a more ambitious launch, Motive Studios' masterpiece could have established itself in the hearts of the general public and taken some statuettes with it. It now remains to hope for success in the long term, as Dead Space is becoming cheaper and is also present on Xbox Game Pass and EA Play, giving it the chance to win over more players.

And you agree that Dead Space Remake was only nominated for the Best Audio Design award? Tell us on social media Voxel!

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