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Visceral Games isn't currently developing Dead Space 4, EA Games Label executive vice president Patrick Söderlund confirmed in a new interview. However, he insists that the action-horror series isn't permanently dead.
"Dead Space remains a brand that is close to Electronic Arts' heart. It's been a great brand for us done by a very passionate team," Söderlund told Eurogamer. "Is that team working on a Dead Space game today? No they're not. They're working on something else very exciting."
A report published in March stated that EA had cancelled Dead Space 4 due to disappointing sales of Dead Space 3 earlier in the year. However, the publisher strongly denied these claims. EA COO Peter Moore said at the time that the report was "shoddy" journalism and was completely fabricated by the website in question to bring in hits. To be fair, EA made the rumor easy to believe after EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau said that Dead Space 3 needed to sell 5 million copies for the series to survive.
The Dead Space team is probably working on Star Wars. EA purchased the Star Wars game license in May and announced that Visceral would make a game based on that franchise. Considering how big Star Wars is, it's plausible that EA would have their most experienced team at Visceral working on the game.
While I really liked the first two Dead Space games, I felt that the third game was a disappointment. It was a homogenized, co-op shooter rather than a delicate balance of action and horror like the previous games. The forced love story, the shootouts with Unitologist soldiers, the overabundant space segments were all just grating. The game was trying to be something that it wasn't. Maybe Star Wars is the perfect assignment for Visceral; DS3 felt more like a space opera than a horror story.
Whether Dead Space 3's issues were due to EA executives pressuring the development team into making something with "broader appeal" or due to the development team running out of ideas doesn't really matter. There was something dysfunctional going on there and it's best that EA and Visceral both take a breather before embarking on Dead Space 4.
"Is it better to put them on the fourth version of a game they've done three previous versions of before?" Söderlund said in his chat with Eurogamer. "Or is it better to put them on something new that they want to build, that they have passion for?"
I can't agree more with that sentiment. I'd rather have Visceral come back to the series in a few years with fresh eyes. Dead Space 3 just didn't feel as inspired as the other games in the series.
Still, it sucks that Dead Space fans may have to wait a few years for the next game. While DS3 had a very definitive ending, the Awakened downloadable content ended on a pretty big cliffhanger.