EA marketing representative Laura Miele returns to the field in another interview about product research leading into Dead Space 3. Here answers mirror similar responses that's she has given in previous interviews, but lends better perspective to the situation. She also bluntly states what a majority of gamers and news organizations have been unwilling to hear: "[Dead Space 3 is] still true to its roots and no less scary," but there's always a caveat.
Let's preface her responses with a comment from EA creative director Ian Milham, who also happens to be the ex-art director of Dead Space:
"“Scary” is the #1 reason why people bought it, but also #1 reason why people didn’t. [B]ut let me be clear, we’re keeping the scary. Just offering a different experience too for people."
EA has already made clear their goal of making Dead Space 3 "broadly appealing" or at least moreso than its predecessors. The assumption has been that this means Dead Space 3 will be less scary, but that's not so -- according to what Miele and Milham are saying. They want to maintain that "thriller" aspect, but also provide an opportunity for those who found the game to frightening to enjoy the title. Their solution was cooperative play.
"The horror of Dead Space is still all there. It’s still true to its roots and no less scary, but people felt far more comfortable playing it with someone else than they did doing it on their own. Personally, I would rather go to scary movie with my husband rather than sit at home with the lights out watching one on my own. We’re looking for that to reach out to consumers that perhaps were not open to Dead Space 1 and 2."
Cooperative play, according to Miele and other Viseral employees, is like watching a scary movie with a friend. Visceral and EA's intention is not to create a less scary movie, but an atmosphere where players can be comfortable. In this way, they hope to create a product for both their original fans, as well as garner a new audience that's no so excited about a frightening single-player game.
As usual, it's not necessarily the game itself stirring up controversy so much as the marketing. It seems to me that EA is pitching their intentions more than the product. Their focus on action scenes, cooperative play, and a less frightening atmosphere is being taken as an insult to the base of Dead Space's fans. In other words, EA's goal of enticing a new audience is scaring away their old, but now they realize this and are backtracking.
It's a scenario only possible in the convoluted world of gaming -- publishers, developers, marketers and designers all with conflicting goals. Dead Space 3 is scheduled for release for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC starting February 2013.