How to Make a Good Remake: Insights from the Director of Dead Space

The creative director of EA Motive has provided some valuable insights into creating the new Dead Space remake, emphasizing the difficulties of remaking a well-loved classic game.

With modern technology and fewer technical limitations, remakes have become common in the current generation of consoles. However, transforming a game already considered a classic in its genre, like the original Dead Space, can be intimidating for a newer development team.

The creative team had to carefully strategize their approach to the project to ensure they honored the original game and met the expectations of its dedicated fan base.

Critics lauded Dead Space with high praise upon its release in 2008, adding to the impressive lineup of survival horror games largely dominated by acclaimed titles such as Silent Hill and Resident Evil.

Dead Space borrowed heavily from Resident Evil 4 and was applauded for its engaging gameplay, chilling atmosphere, and immersive sound design, earning numerous awards. When the announcement of the Dead Space remake was made, fans initially expressed skepticism, uncertain if it could live up to the high standards set by the original game.

However, the Remake received critical acclaim as the original upon release, much to the relief of fans worried about its quality.

The upcoming Dead Space remake will closely resemble the original game and feature several enhancements. One of the most significant improvements is the 2D map, which replaces the cumbersome 3D map from the first game.

According to the Dead Space director, the original map was challenging to control and comprehend quickly, leading to player frustration. The new 2D map has been simplified to increase clarity and legibility. In contrast, technological advancements allow the team to deliver a more realistic and visceral dismemberment experience, bringing them closer to the original vision of Dead Space.

Inverse interviewed MacMillan, the creative director of the Dead Space remake, and Jo Berry, the Senior Writer. They talked about their methodology for remaking the game and the modifications that players can look forward to.

MacMillan explained that individuals often hold certain experiences dear as part of their nostalgic past and are eager to leave their mark on them or improve them for a new generation of players. The team carefully updated the game while preserving its essence. Additionally, they shared their insights on what they consider to be key elements of a successful horror game.

According to MacMillan, the dismemberment mechanics in the Dead Space remake will be more realistic and “visceral” than in the original game. In the Remake, players will need to spend more time carving away at the meat and skin and burning it out before being able to slice off limbs. Despite the intensity of the combat in the original game, Motive strives to deliver even more terror with the Remake. New Game Plus is also making a return, though specifics have not been revealed, and players can expect to benefit from going through the USG Ishimura a second time.

On a bonus episode of the Rise Above podcast, Bret Robbins, the creative director of the original Dead Space, and Roman Campos, the current creative director of the Dead Space, had an interesting discussion about the Remake and how it successfully recreated the beloved gameplay experience of the original. The conversation focused heavily on the zero-gravity gameplay mechanics in the Remake.

Rather than creating a replica of the original, their goal was to recreate it so players would remember it. This approach was adopted throughout the development process of the Remake.


During their podcast conversation, Robbins and Campos engaged in authentic discussions about various topics, including the decision to give Isaac Clarke a speaking role in the Remake, the well-known turret sequence from Chapter 4 of the original Dead Space, and the game’s pervasive sense of fear

. Towards the end of the podcast, Robbins expressed his admiration for Campos and the EA Motive team, acknowledging that he was initially nervous about the changes made in the Remake. Despite his reservations, he commended their work, stating that he is a fan and believes they have done an excellent job.

Making changes to a beloved game like Dead Space can be daunting, as predicting how fans will react to those changes is difficult. The Dead Space Remake exceeded expectations by maintaining the original game’s experience and enhancing it by addressing its flaws, leading to an extraordinary game that achieved great success in sales. This achievement is acknowledged by the original game’s creative director, Robbins himself.

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