Papoutsis and his team at Visceral Games approached combat design with the stance that they were making human-based combat for Dead Space, not another third-person shooter. Previous games have had pre-necromorphs, but they were typically dead before you'd entered a room. Now, you're creating the hosts for the parasitic transformation. Unlike other games where you shoot humans, a headshot isn't the end of the line in Dead Space 3. Fail to dismember a homo sapiens adversary and there's a good chance you'll see them again in combat, albeit with a few more limbs or a set of wings. Perhaps more than anything though, setting is the biggest change for Dead Space 3. The icy planet of Tau Voltanis isn't the only place players explore, but it's certainly been the most visible. What concerns many players is how this could betray the sense of isolation and horror associated with the strobing klaxons and pitch-black corridors of the USG Ishimura and The Sprawl, where the first two games take place. Papoutsis assured there are plenty of archaeological facilities and installations on the planet to deliver the series' trademark ambiance, but its outdoor environments take advantage of the inclement conditions to create atmosphere. "You can get claustrophobia and the feeling of not knowing what's around the corner very easily by using the elements afforded to you by a frozen environment," he said. "We wanted to convey a sense of dread and oppressiveness when you're out in sub-zero conditions with low visibility. Having a whiteout, having things pop out of the snow at you--just the fact you're trying to survive in these terrible conditions sets you into this frame of mind where you're focused on surviving. "That was one of the ways we planned to keep the sense of the unexpected alive." The first two games wore their influences on their sleeves; nods to Sunshine, Event Horizon and the Alien franchise were everywhere. It's hard to look at Dead Space 3's frozen setting and not immediately think of The Thing, but that's not the main inspiration. Papoutsis said the game is a team effort and everyone has their own influences they bring with them to work whether it's comics, books or TV shows. "There's not one movie or even a group of movies that really motivated anything in the game," he said. "The Empire Strikes Back has a planet with snow, not that we sat in a room and dissected that, but that's something you'll see things from here and there." This time out, the bigger influence for the team was the stories and settings of the H.P. Lovecraft mythos. At the Mountains of Madness tells the story of an Antarctic expedition that uncovers an ancient evil and an entire alien civilization hidden in the icy wastes of the South Pole, it doesn't end well for anyone involved. Regarding how far the inspiration went, Papoutsis was coy. "There's a little bit there. Definitely something that was interesting and I'll leave it at that."
Building a sense of dread in the game