While the end of Dead Space and demise of developer Visceral is one of the bigger tragedies in contemporary gaming history, one of the positives of that sort of distance is the stories that eventually come around. In such a case, a recent video putting a spotlight on Dead Space director and creator Glen Schofield gives gamers a ton of insight into just how crazy game development can get. Specifically, this story is about how a giant tentacle game nearly forced the team to break one of their major rules.
As Schofield explains, one of the core rules the Dead Space team aspired to adhere to was interactivity. Essentially, all the big moments were designed to be interactive. This led into the Drag Tentacle sequence, which of course saw Isaac being grabbed by a giant, mutant tentacle monster and fighting it off as it attempted to drag him down a corridor of sorts. While it’s a brief, exciting sequence, it caused tons of pain under the hood, and nearly hurt the game in a big way.
Eventually, Schofield says the team had to change their entire style of work after running into so many problems with this part, eventually settling on animating each part of the scene piece by piece, or in “layers.” This included doing animation for the same scene for each possible weapon, and even reworking how shooting worked to make the dragging sequence functional the way the team wanted it.
This was a ton of work for a moment that, as described in the video, lasts for all of 40 seconds, and Schofield even says two other planned parts of the game were removed to make room for the Drag Tentacle. But the people making Dead Space really wanted that Drag Tentacle, and they totally nailed it in the end.