Publisher EA has stressed that Dead Space 3 won't be taking the series in a new direction by removing the horror elements considerably, but the title has to be more "broadly appealing" to consumers.
EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said newly-introduced components such as co-op is required in an effort to get around five million people playing a franchise such as Dead Space in order to continue investing in it. That said, he did acknowledge that the developers can't change the game to a point where it alienates the fan base.
"What we’ve tried to do with each instalment is tell a different story about Isaac but at the same time bring in new features and ways to turn the game into a more connected experience... so we embraced [the co-op] idea and we tried to open up the accessibility of the IP a little bit by adding a little bit more action, but not undermining the horror. We can’t not be a horror game because that’s what Dead Space is … and at the same time we definitely do not want to piss off our fans by taking it too far from horror.
"We’re very self aware of that – we listen to the fans and we hear them. We’re going to be releasing more assets over the coming months that show you how deep the horror is. It’s definitely not getting away from gore or horror, but at the same time it’s opening up to a larger audience by adding some elements. In general we’re thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise, because ultimately you need to get to audience sizes of around five million to really continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space. Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them.
"We feel good about that growth but we have to be very paranoid about making sure we don’t change the experience so much that we lose the fanbase."
The firm had recently said one of the reasons why Visceral Games' third installment in the series introduced a co-op feature is because the past two iterations are too scary to play alone. Personally, and I'm sure a large proportion of the series' fan base will agree, that's not the case at all. EA clearly hasn't played Amnesia: The Dark Descent yet.
Dead Space 3 launches on consoles and PC during February, 2013. For more on the game and its co-op component, check out our E3 interview with the senior producer.