Here at The Newb Review we don’t just give you exclusive interviews that you won’t find at any other site, we follow up on those interviews to bring you what we like to call “exclusive follow up interviews”. We got the chance to sit down again with Steve Papoutsis, Executive Producer for Dead Space 2, to talk about the recently announced multiplayer mode for Visceral’s upcoming title.
How many modes are there in multiplayer?
So Dead Space 2’s multiplayer is one mode but we have five unique objective based maps.
What customisable options will be available in multiplayer?
Dead Space 2 will definitely have upgradeable elements in the multiplayer mode. The humans will be able to upgrade their weapons and the Necromorphs will have a few different upgrades, one of which will kind of change the speed of their attack and there are some other cosmetic ones that we haven’t yet talked about.
Will there be any integrated levelling up ranking system and will Dead Space 2 have an experience level system?
Yes it will. Dead Space 2 will have a system that will hopefully encourage players to keep playing and wanting to rank up and level up and we’re also going to have leaderboards.
What weapons will feature in the multiplayer? Will they be the same as single player?
There are a variety of weapons that players will have in multiplayer coming from the single player game. So there are about six that will be either the same from the single player or slightly modified. One of the ones I like a lot is the exploding javelin, so in multiplayer when the javelin hits an enemy it has an explosion, which is different to what we’re doing in single player.
This is the first time people can play as the Necromorphs, how will this be realised?
When you start a match you will be able to create a play group and play with your friends or you can just randomly queue up and the match will encourage you to play both sides. So you’ll play the humans for a round then you’ll play the Necromorphs for a round. The Necromorphs currently slated for the game are the Pack, the Lurker, the Puker and the Spitter. So all of them have their own unique abilities. The Pack are the little guys that run around really quick and has a very cool paired attack move, the Lurker can crawl on walls, the Puker can puke on people and damage them that way and then the Spitter has another long range attack as well as up close melee attacks. So they’ll all be pretty unique and different.
I’m looking forward to playing as the little guys.
The Pack? Yeah man, you can really slice people up.
Why do you think Dead Space 2 need multiplayer? How does multiplayer make Dead Space 2 a better game?
When we started working on Dead Space 2 one of the highest requested features was multiplayer. A lot of people nowadays really look to multiplayer as a way to experience a game with friends. For us on the Dead Space 2 team, we thought as long as we could do a multiplayer mode that was unique, original and fit in with the Dead Space universe, it would be something we would be interested in. So in the beginning when we decided we wanted to do multiplayer we wanted to make sure it had both cooperative and competitive elements.
As a unique differentiator for our game, being about to play as the Necromorphs is something you can’t do on other games. We’ve got unique enemies, we thought let’s give people the chance to play them? Also the idea of strategically dismembering your friends was new for a multiplayer experience, so those were two of the things we really zeroed in on.
But I think as far as, you know, the first thing I talked about which is having the cooperative and competitive is really interesting and fun and if you go back to gaming when you were younger, or when I was younger certainly, we played board games. You sat in a room with your friends and played board games and there was that level of interaction that was fun and memorable. Then when computer games came on the scene; Pong and Atari and all those things, same thing – you’d sit down next to your friend and play the game and have a chat while you were playing. It was good natured fun.
I think nowadays with multiplayer it’s an opportunity for people who live far distances away from each other or if their schedules don’t meet up to still have those experiences where you get to hang out with your friend essentially online. The most fun part of these online games is the fact that when you finish playing for the night you have like a story or a memory from that experience that you can continue to relate to your friends or tell your other friends at work or at school or whatever about the next day.
I think that level of being able to tell stories is just a basic recurring theme throughout our society right? Like back in the old, old, old days when people told stories they got together and told stories and relate those experiences and that was how things progressed from there. I think multiplayer is just an extension of that. Being able to call you up and jump in a game and have fun with you and you can be over here in the UK; it’s a pretty awesome experience. Being able to let people experience Dead Space together was something we really were excited about with number 2.
Have you thought about having any special events, like being able to play multiplayer with the devs?
I’ll certainly be playing for sure. Yeah, look for ‘leveluptime’ and that’ll be me. We’ll probably do something fun like that. Stay tuned for that. Certainly that’ll be fun but I want to make sure I don’t just get worked by everybody. [laughs] See how that goes.
What does Dead Space 2 multiplayer offer that no other multiplayer game offers?
The thing that’s really unique about Dead Space 2 multiplayer is the fact that you can strategically dismember your friends. Being able to pull off some of prepared attacks and have some of the horrific deaths that you see in a Dead Space game is pretty unique.
What influences have you taken for Dead Space 2 from other media?
There are tonnes of great games out there that we all look at and play. You name it, there’s been so many good ones. Left 4 Dead is one that a lot of us have enjoyed. Battlefield is another one that is really fun. Uncharted 2’s multiplayer was pretty interesting and relevant for us since it is a third person game. There’s a tonne of great games out there that the guys are looking at all of them; seeing what works and what doesn’t work to make a really fun multiplayer mode.
Has the team ever thought about adding co-op to the game?
Yep. Even when we were working on Dead Space 1, at one point we had engineering turn on co-op so we had two Isaacs running around. It’s something we definitely were interested in but it didn’t make sense for Dead Space 1 and it didn’t really make sense in Dead Space 2. I think if we were going to do a cooperative mode like that in the single player game we would clearly want to make it one of our core concepts for the game. If we get the opportunity to make more Dead Space games it’s something that may come up. I think we’d evaluate that against player feedback.
With multiplayer there was a lot of concern over like “woah, what’s it gonna be? Is it gonna take away from single player etc.” Some people really think cooperative and a horror game doesn’t work because it takes away from the isolation and the tension. Other people would really like to see it in a Dead Space game. First and foremost it needs to make sense from our storytelling perspective. From there it could happen but right now we’re focused on making Dead Space 2 as good as it can be. Hopefully we’ll get an opportunity to make more Dead Space games.
Other titles with multiplayer modes have tackled the game between two studios. Why haven’t Visceral done this with Dead Space 2?
We’re working with a variety of different people on multiplayer. We have our core team that are dedicated to multiplayer but those people are spread across multiple locations within Visceral. We have a lot of talented people on site with us and from some of our other studios that we’re able to work with. With this one we wanted to make sure we were in tight communication with everybody because we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose sight of what makes Dead Space Dead Space. There’s no easier way to do that than having one of those people sitting next to you at work and be able to look at what they’re doing and share things back and forth across single player and multiplayer. It didn’t make a lot of sense to go that route. With Dead Space 2 we’ve been fortunate as I said to have a lot of talented people that are right there on site to work with us on it. With the extensions that we have, you know, help in other locations it’s just worked out great for us.
Thank you so much for talking to us again Steve.
Dead Space 2 will be hitting stores at the end of January and will be available on PC, Playstation 3 and XBox 360.