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GDC09: A look at Dead Space's renegade roots

Jason Dobson

A good 18 months before Electronic Arts even agreed to publish 2008's survival-horror hit, Dead Space, developers at EA Redwood Shores were working on the title. That's just what renegades do. During a presentation at last week's GDC (via Gamespot), senior producer Chuck Beaver pointed out how his maverick team of developers took a decidedly different approach to game design, one involving dusting off old hardware and "an aggressive internal PR campaign."

He noted that early in the game's development EA was interested in investing in original properties, though it wasn't exactly sold on the idea. However, from the time Dead Space was pitched in 2006, Beaver and his team worked on the project as if it was already a done deal. With minimal resources they concentrated on "putting pixels on the screen," tossing out EA's game development playbook in the process. While Dead Space was always positioned as a current-gen title, the team instead prototyped a single level from the game on the original Xbox in order to sell EA on the concept before an engine was even available. Besides, who has time to make an engine when there are limbs to be shaved off? Priorities, people!

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