If you struggled with Dead Space, offer up thanks that Visceral’s original vision didn’t make it through QA.
“You should have seen some of the levels and puzzles in Dead Space 2,” Visceral Games combat and control designer Brian Bartram revealed as part of a Q&A posted on EA’s site.
“Some players would love for us to have kept them harder, longer, and more complicated. But when two or three people in a ten person playtesting session just can’t get past it, we have to nerf it.”
Granting rare insight into the game development process, Bartram outlined the path from concept to finished product, tracking an example level he designed for a PSP game through its metamorphosis.
“Games are frequently a type of benevolent struggle between Design and Production,” he commented.
“Design wants a giant game with all kinds of cool stuff in it. Production wants a game that will actually ship. When they compromise, things have to be cut away, reduced, and scoped down.
“But this process should ideally distill a game to its core – the real foundation of a game. For game mechanics, these become the known ‘pillars’ of the game – the three to five mechanics that will be used frequently and which are often mixed together to form the bulk of the game’s experience.”
Dead Space 2 shipped in early 2011 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. No sequel has been announced as yet, but EA plans to keep the franchise going.