Dead Space team studied car crash images during dev

Tuesday, 14th October 2008 13:34 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Speaking to Edge, Dead Space exec producer Glen Schofield admitted that the development team studied images of car crashes and war corpses to create “convincing” models of dead people in the game.

“This sounds horrible, but we had to go look at pictures of car accidents and war scenes and things like that because we had to get it right; we had to portray scenes of terrible carnage and realism,” he said.

“It’s a big part of making that experience convincing.”

Schofield said he threw back the team’s first attempts at corpses in the game for not being realistic enough.

“We knew this would be difficult to portray, because sometimes gore in games looks cheap and unrealistic,” he said. “Sure enough, the first few corpses that we did, just weren’t convincing enough. I rejected them.”

More through there.



  1. Tiger Walts

    I hope they didn’t go all James Spader after looking at those images.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Er… nice.

    #2 6 years ago
  3. furianboy

    at least it was only pictures of car crash victims and war corpses. If he really wanted to freak people out he could have gone on a field trip to the local morgue.

    #3 6 years ago

    That’s really sick.

    I’m definitely not buying this game now.

    I wonder if they’ll be paying royalties to the families of those car crash victims!?

    How evil.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Johnny Cullen

    Na, not really in my book.

    It’s slightly disrespectful yeah but not sick.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. that_happy_cat

    If a movie director did this it would be considered “gritty determination to present an authentically realised vision of death and destruction”…

    Somehow I can’t see the Daily Mail seeing it that way for a videogame

    #6 6 years ago
  7. mortiferus

    @ G1GAHURTZ, What part of “studied images of car crashes and war corpses to create” did you not get? Last time I check, studied and used, were two different words.

    #7 6 years ago

    @ mortiferus:

    What do you think “studied” means!?

    It means that they used images of dead bodies for reference, that’s what.

    It means that they came up with 3d models of corpses that “just weren’t convincing enough”, so they “rejected them” and decided to make realistic copies of images of dead people in car crashes.

    How would you like it if a member of your family died in a car crash, then some game producer got hold of the grissly pictures and used them for reference for his latest game??

    How would you feel knowing that one of the corpses in the game that potentially millions of people will ‘enjoy’ playing was in the same position as your family member when they lay dead after a fatal crash? Basically an exact copy of the horror of real life, for someones enjoyment and someone else’s wages.

    How would you feel?

    You ok with that?

    Maybe the next time you have a horrific death in your family you should take a pic and send it off to this joker so he can make his next game as authentic as possible.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Blerk

    I agree, it’s pretty tasteless. Even if they did do this, quite why they’ve chosen to make it public, I have no idea. It’s hardly “good PR”, if anything this is likely to have a negative effect.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Newbie101


    This is the reason why they have made it public. More press. I mean, were talking about it aint we?

    All PR is great PR and all that…

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Blerk

    Not necessarily.

    #11 6 years ago

    Just ask Rockstar about bad PR.

    #12 6 years ago
  13. NoneSuch

    Aren’t you being slightly naive G1G? This happens all the time in movies and games. If you’re going to do present something the best way to do it is by looking at what’s in reality.

    If someone wants to draw a picture of a bird, he’ll go out and look at a bird.

    Yea it’s a different concept but going on about the familys victims is alot of nonsense. They aren’t copying the bodys, they’re copying the injurys – the sort of damage those things cause.

    Accessing those pictures takes less than a minute on google, I really don’t understand the reactions here.

    The most puzzling thing I find about your statement is the “what if you found out” part, how would they exactly find out? No one’s getting emotionally hurt here, no family will ever know.

    Also the entire PURPOSE of showing gore ingame is replicate what would happen in real life – that’s what makes it scary.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. mortiferus

    @G1GAHURTZ. Studied means they did NOT use the source material, but instead used it as reference. As long as they do not duplicate any likenesses, it is fair use.


    #14 6 years ago
  15. Esha

    Oh my.

    I honestly don’t know where to begin here, I think all the fundie alert alarm bells were fired in my brain all at the same time. My first reaction was cofusion, was I reading a VG247 comments section, or The Sun?

    On a more serious note, they aren’t going to copy-paste the bodies into the game, if you believe that then I’ve got a bridge to sell you, Gigs. For one, they’re going to look completely different as far as appearance is concerned. They’re going to be in fictional military uniforms of the era, and likely their features will be obfuscated so they don’t really resemble anyone, they know better than to invite law suits.

    What amazes me though… and I mean that it’s absolutely bloody stunning, is that this has been treated as though it’s the first game to do this. The movie industry and even the games industry has been doing this for yonks. Just because someone actually admits to it, that’s reason for throwing a wobbly?

    Do you think every realistic corpse in every game and movie before now were completely original?

    Humanity isn’t capable of something that’s wholly original, we base a lot off our environment and observation, and that’s the case here, too. Creativity can only go so far.

    Good grief. Sometimes I really do worry.

    #15 6 years ago

    No, I’m not being naive.

    Exploiting the personal tragedies of others in order to make your product more marketable is wrong.

    It’s as plain and simple as that.

    There’s no justification for exploiting this kind of imagery. If you don’t see any problem, then maybe you should donate pictures of your loved ones in a mangled state for Glen Schofield to use.

    What might be even more correct would be for Glen Schofield and his dev team to mutilate themselves in their own cars, maybe go to war and burn some of their bullet ridden corpses, then use images of this in the game for super-scary-realism!

    But of course they’re not going to do that are they? Because when it’s you or people you know, life suddenly becomes slightly more valuable doesn’t it?

    Deriving aesthetic joy from a terrible tragedy suddenly becomes a great deal less appealing when its your own body and your own dignity being exploited isnt it?

    Oh, and what does the fact that the images are easy to come by have anything to do with it? You can find pictures of all sorts of evil things like child rape on google, but that doesn’t make exploiting such images any less horrifying, does it?

    @ mortiferus:

    You didn’t answer my questions.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. David

    I’m sorry Giga but this happens all the time I think you’re being a little too emotional in regards to this article. I don’t really see anything wrong with what they did.

    If you knew anything about art is that in order to create an image that looks real and authentic you must have real life studies. This is no different they looked up reference material in order to understand how the human body is damaged under such extreme conditions.

    You obviously feel emotional about this and I can understand that but this has happened way before games began.

    #17 6 years ago

    @ Esha:

    First of all, it doesn’t matter that they’re not using exact imagery in the game.

    Of course they’re not!

    I’m an artist. I make 3D models and in-game assests from reference for a living.

    When I do this, I generally spend a good amount of time getting some good refence material that is going to help me produce a model that’s going to look as impressive as possible in game.

    If I were working for Mr Scofield, that would mean that I’d be working from images of the dead war dead and accident victims that he mentioned.

    I’d be sitting for around 8 hours a day looking at these pictures of dead people, and trying to get whatever asset that I was building looking as similar to the images as poosible.

    I know excatly what’s involved, because I do it for for living.

    Would you want me to be looking at pictures of one of your dead realitves while I listen to Dizzy Rascal on my headphones? Nodding my head while I think that this picture would have been better if they’d only crashed under that lampost a few more yards down the road?

    Squinting at pictures of your loved ones twisted corpses while I joke with the artist next to me about who was the last one to make the tea yesterday?


    Would you mind??

    #18 6 years ago

    @ David:

    I understand perfectly well the best way to get realism into art.

    But just because something happens to be the most effective way of doing something, it doesn’t make it any less offensive to the ones being exploited.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. mortiferus

    @ G1GAHURTZ. You are personalizing this. Just because YOU feel that way does NOT make it wrong. If they were exploiting a recognizable figure, then I would agree. However, in this case they are not.

    As a fine Arts major turned Open GL programmer/Artist, I have looked at plenty of reference photos of all kinds of things, including dead bodies. It is part of the biz.

    It’s real simple IF I feel I cannot work with any given resource material, I make it known to my producer or I express my concerns to HR.

    What EA did is a common practice in effect studios. Should the movie Cloverfield have been banned in the states because it contained semi like September 11 scenes?

    #20 6 years ago

    @ mortiferus:

    I’m making it personal, because every single image of tragedy is personal to someone, is it not?

    I definitely won’t be buying this game. I was considering it after skimming the IGN review earlier today, but not now.

    Anyway, that’s just my humble opinion, which I base on what I consider to be basic human morals, and other people are entitled to their opinions too.

    As for banning and what-not, then I never mentioned anything about that.

    #21 6 years ago
  22. mortiferus

    Buying it or not, that is your choice. In my opinion they did nothing wrong, and are not exploiting anyone. They simply used real life occurrences as a basis for a work of fiction. You know ummm… it happens a lot in hollywood.

    “Well Sir, Why I May Not Agree With What You Say, I’ll Defend To The Death Your Right To Say It” – Peter Griffin, Family Guy. …

    #22 6 years ago
  23. deanimate

    good for them :) if it adds to the game in a good way then im all for it :]

    #23 6 years ago
  24. NoneSuch

    How do you think we advanced medical science? Nope It wasn’t from guessing what was in the body, it was finally when we realised that a corpse is just a big piece of useless flesh.

    Would you be any more pleased if they based their art work on medical pictures of dead bodies? After all that would be just as wrong wouldn’t it? As those pictures are based off real people and copied down in much more exact detail.

    Also no one is being hurt or exploited, No family member is going to get a personal phone call from dead space devs going “lol we found this random guy who’s related to you and got his head crushed in a car accident and for some miraclously reason found your number and decided to phone you up about it”

    Once again what is wrong with studying what happens to a body in traumatic situations? It’s not like they’re copying them detail to detail, unless these car accident victims are secretly space engineers who’ve been half-mutated into necromorphs.

    Also I would really appreciate it if people didn’t over-dramatise the situation in an attempt to make their arguement more plausible.

    #24 6 years ago
  25. ashers2ashers

    I completely agree with most people here – i.e. all but G1GAHURTZ. If any of your family members died in horrific car accidents and had photos taken which were studied for use in a game or film and you NEVER FOUND OUT I don’t think you’d care at all – because you’d have no reason to, and that’s exactly what has happened here. No-one’s gonna get hurt at all.
    I can see where you are coming from and accept that I probably care less about ethics/morals than most, but it seems like you are taking this too far to me. I also don’t see how this is offensive, in the same way I don’t understand why people would not want to donate organs after death or why a family member can choose for that not to happen even if the deceased was an organ donor.

    #25 6 years ago
  26. CMcAfee

    Giga, I would suggest you push aside your emotions on the subject for a minute and look at this logically. The devs studied the images not to copy them, but to gain an understanding of the damgage the human body can sustain in horrific circumstances, in this case car accidents and war. They are not putting corpses in the game in “Basically an exact copy of the horror of real life”, but in studying the source material they are able to make the game environment more realistic, more immersive, and more horrific. There is no exploitation of the victims or their families here as the game in no way profits from the victims loss. The example from NoneSuch says it all: corpses are used for education in the medical field, why is it so wrong for them to be used as education in this field?

    By the way, you are saying that as a 3D artist all you do is copy the work of others to make your models look as “impressive as possible”.
    “I’d be sitting for around 8 hours a day looking at these pictures of dead people, and trying to get whatever asset that I was building looking as similar to the images as poosible.”
    I can see how someone who lacks the creativity required to do their own work could think that the devs are copying the liknesses of accident victims from the position of the body down to the color of the eyes.
    Try to imagine not being able to copy what you are trying to build, so you have to educate yourself as much as possible on the subject so your model does not look wrong.

    I guess if you are going to be this close-minded and not purchase the game for this reason I will just have to purchase three copies. Now your “moral stance” is pointless. We win.

    #26 6 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.