Dead Space 3 was announced at E3 last week along with a new two-player co-op feature. While this may have concerned gamers who enjoy the horror aspects of the series, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau says that they need to make Dead Space "more broadly appealing."
"In general we’re thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise, because ultimately you need to get to audience sizes of around five million to really continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space," Gibeau told CVG. "Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them."
Gibeau admits that Visceral Games needs to take a balanced approach. While action features like co-op might make DS3 desirable to a wider audience, they have to make sure that the game has its share of horror. Otherwise, they'd piss off the long-time fans of the series.
Co-op is not a huge stretch for the series. Dead Space has always danced on the boundary between action and horror. You play a dude in a neon, armored jumpsuit with a flamethrower who can buy new ammunition/weapons at stores. I can see why co-op might be of concern to horror fans, though; the game will no doubt be bit less scary when you're playing online with a 14-year-old from Cleveland named DikLikker25.
Regardless of whether or not co-op is a fit for the series, I feel like EA needs to do a better job of selling this feature. "We're adding co-op because we need to sell five million or the series isn't worth our investment" is an attitude that excites no one about the game. It might be accurate, but damn, why are you saying that out loud? Tell us that you think co-op will make the game more intense or will take the series' horrifying action to a new level or whatever.
Granted, it's not Gibeau's primary job to pump up the fanbase. However, I think every video game executive should at least endeavor not to make game development not sound like bean counting.