Dead Space Remake: Gameplay, release date, and everything you need to know

Dead Space 2021
(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

First rumored early in 2021, Electronic Arts (EA) officially announced a Dead Space remake for Xbox and Windows PC during EA Play Live 2021. 

This isn't going to be a one-to-one recreation of the original game, nor will it be done by the same development team, but fans of the iconic horror franchise should be hopeful, given what we've seen so far. The original is a beloved game, so there's a lot of attention on this remake. Here's everything we know about the Dead Space remake so far.

What is the Dead Space remake?

(Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts Inc.)

The Dead Space remake is a retelling of the original Dead Space, which was released in 2008 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. This third-person survival horror game takes place in the year 2508 and stars engineer Isaac Clarke, who is part of a crew assigned to help get the USG Ishimura up and running again. Clarke is also working to find his girlfriend, Nicole. On the Ishimura, Clarke encounters the horrific threat of Necromorphs, infected corpses mutated into monsters that can only be killed by being cut to pieces. The original Dead Space is widely considered one of the best games for horror fans to play, so there's a lot of potential in this remake.

While Dead Space, Dead Space 2, and Dead Space 3 were all developed by Visceral Games, that studio closed in 2017. Some of the original team, including the studio's co-founder Glen Schofield, worked on a spiritual successor called The Callisto Protocol, which was originally set in the PUBG universe before becoming its own thing.

This remake is being developed by Motive Studios, a studio at EA that has worked in a support capacity on numerous games and also developed the 2020 dogfighting game, Star Wars: Squadrons.

"The Dead Space franchise made a huge impact on the survival horror genre when it was released 12 years ago, and I came to Motive as a fan first to specifically work on this game," said Phillippe Ducharme, Dead Space senior producer.

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

"We have a passionate team at Motive who are approaching this remake as a love letter to the franchise. Going back to the original and having the opportunity to do so on next-gen consoles excited everyone on the team. As we look to modernize the game, we've reached out to dedicated fans and invited them to provide us with feedback since the early stages of production to deliver the Dead Space game they want and for new players to enjoy as well."

Motive Studios has talked extensively about treating this remake with "care and respect," ensuring that it's one of the best horror games available, and there are even some staff who worked on the original Dead Space trilogy, such as Art Director Mike Yazijian, who was part of the team on the 2011 title Dead Space 2.

"I actually found my old notebooks from Dead Space 2!" Yazijian said in an EA post (opens in new tab). "So that really comes in handy, seeing all the notes from the sequel, everything the Visceral team had shared with us as we were making the game with them. We've got concept art, visual guidelines, source materials, notes on the conversations we had with them, the knowledge that they gained — it's all here. It's all going into this game."

The game is being directed by Eric Baptizat, who formerly worked at Ubisoft as game director on Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Before that, Baptizat worked on other entries in the Assassin's Creed franchise like Origins and Black Flag.

In an interview for the Dead Space remake, Ducharme told me that "The way I consume Dead Space is completely different. Like I'm literally being projected inside Isaac’s shoes walking around, and that for me, for any player, whether it's returning or new players, I think that experience in itself is fantastic."

Dead Space remake trailers

We now have the official 2023 launch trailer, ahead of Dead Space's Jan 27th 2023 launch date. 

In October 2022, Electronic Arts released a gameplay trailer, showing off how the game plays:

Shortly after that, the team shared some additional gameplay footage:

What is changing in the Dead Space remake?

(Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts Inc.)

Speaking with IGN, Motive Studios makes it clear that this is a remake, meaning nothing is being simply carried over from the original game. Instead, everything is being completely rebuilt from the ground up. "Then in terms of visuals, sound, gameplay, everything, we are rebuilding all of these assets. We are not porting them, it's not uprezzing the texture or adding more polygons to the model. It's really rebuilding all these elements, shooting all the animations, et cetera."

The remake is being developed using the Frostbite engine, which combined with the focus on current-generation hardware, allows for much higher-quality visuals to be pushed while maintaining the aesthetic that Dead Space is known for.

(Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts (screenshot))

Moving into gameplay and story elements, Motive indicates that the game could draw on things found later in the franchise, such as how Dead Space 2 improved zero-gravity sections by allowing the player to fly around instead of jumping from one point to the next. This is one of the biggest changes in the game, It allowed flight in a ship originally designed with support jumping only, meaning some things may change slightly in the overall design. You can see an early look at this new flight above.

The diegetic interface that shows player health, menus, and more as a natural part of the world is a keystone of the franchise, as is dismemberment. Motive has shared ways that the dismemberment system is being improved, with a new "peeling" mechanic that varies based on the weapon, allowing a Necromorph's skin and tissue to be damaged without severing the bone and vice versa. A limb might even be snapped but still be connected by tendons.

(Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts (screenshot))

There will also be new accessibility options that weren't available in the original game, with Creative Director Roman Campos-Oriola saying that "Something that is also really important for us that was not there 12 years ago ... is all those options or different ways to play the game if you need it. All those elements of accessibility will definitely be something important for us in terms of opening the Dead Space experience to a broader set of people that didn't necessarily have the opportunity or could play the game when it came out."

Much like other EA titles currently in development, the team is taking feedback from major fans of the Dead Space franchise, to make sure the developers aren't "siloed" and making something fans don't want.

"When you are talking about an IP with such a strong fanbase, it's particularly important we incorporate their voices. The community has such a strong understanding of the story and the characters, and the experience they want to have," EA Chief Studios Officer Laura Miele said. "Another great example in addition to Command and Conquer and Skate was Mass Effect Legendary Edition. We took the time to act on the community feedback. That was an investment in service of our players — making sure we were making the game they wanted to play."

Voice actor Gunner Wright, who voiced Isaac in Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3, is returning to voice the engineer in this remake. Isaac will now speak, though notably, large portions of the game will still be silent, as Isaac will only speak when spoken to or when it would be strange for him not to respond.

In my time previewing the Dead Space remake, I found that it feels and sounds good, with smart improvements even though the game is staying faithful where it counts. New additions include the Intensity Director, which is an AI that helps adjust the game where needed, depending on how the player is approaching different situations. 

As an example, the Intensity Director can suddenly have the play take on a Necromorph and put the lights out, then make the next encounter less stressful, in order to keep things tense while providing a balanced experience overall.

Dead Space remake comparisons

The team at Motive Studios shared a development livestream in 2021, explaining the reasoning behind the design decisions being made and sharing a very early look at parts of the game. This includes comparisons of what the original Dead Space looked like, and what the remake looks like. You can watch the full livestream below:

Another livestream on March 12, 2022, focused on the sounds of the game, and how Motive Studios is respecting the source audio while building on it with new technology. You can watch that livestream below (we suggest wearing headphones):

The team shared another livestream on May 12, 2022, focused this time on the art direction of the Dead Space remake, as well as giving the Dead Space remake's release date.

Will the Dead Space remake have microtransactions?

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Motive Studios has confirmed that there will not be any microtransactions in the game. The presence of microtransactions in Dead Space 3 was heavily criticized by both critics and players alike. EA has also been criticized in the past for its use of microtransactions and loot boxes in more recent games like Star Wars Battlefront 2, so to see the move away from them is a big step in the right direction.

Will Dead Space remake have multiplayer or co-op?

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

The Dead Space remake won't have any multiplayer or co-op functionality. Considering how Motive Studios is trying to take a faithful approach in recreating this game, we'd be very surprised if multiplayer or co-op were in the game, as this kind of change would radically alter how Dead Space works.

What platforms is Dead Space remake coming to?

Source: Electronic Arts Inc. (Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts Inc.)

The Dead Space remake is being developed exclusively for current-generation hardware, meaning it'll be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC, and PS5. As a result, the game will have no loading screens whatsoever thanks to the ultra-fast SSDs in these consoles and the fact that the game isn't required to run on older, slower hard drives.

Talking with Motive Studios, this will also enable the team to use more volumetric effects, which wouldn't possible at the same level of density on older hardware.

Will the Dead Space remake come to Xbox One or PS4?

No, there won't be a version of the game built for older consoles. This allows the developers to have a higher baseline and take advantage of the latest hardware without having to hold back.

What is the Dead Space remake release date?

Source: Electronic Arts Inc. (Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts Inc.)

Right now, the Dead Space remake has a release date of Jan. 27, 2023. This came shortly after the developers confirmed a release window of early 2023 and announced plans to reveal more gameplay during October 2022.

Back in 2021, the developers noted that "development is still early," so it was always unlikely the game would be available in 2021. A release date of sometime in 2022 was more plausible, but the lingering effects of the global pandemic have altered much of game development, so it ended up not being feasible after all.

Jeff Grubb, a reporter at VentureBeat who initially leaked the existence of the Dead Space remake, indicated that the game was originally being aimed for a Fall 2022 release window, assuming development had gone smoothly. In March 2022, Grubb reported that the game was being pushed back for additional polish, which was later confirmed by the developers.

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Dead Space

The original Dead Space is being rebuilt, with new graphics, audio improvements, and changes such as the ability to fly and hear Isaac Clarke talk. Our time hands on has been great, so it seems like this isn't a game you should miss.

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Dead Space Digital Deluxe Edition

The Dead Space remake is on the way, and if you just have to get some extras, you can grab the Digital Deluxe Edition, which comes with additional suits and decals.

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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.