Dead Space 3: How not to do PR

Visceral games hasn’t had the best of luck with publicity when it comes to Dead Space 3. Their inclusion of co-op wasn’t exactly the most well received decision and it doesn’t help that it can be perceived that EA pretty made that happen. Frank Gibeau did go on record saying that he made sure everything EA published had some sort of online component to it(source: Shack News). At the time this was posted, I actually joked with Kensukete, saying that the next thing we see is Dead Space with co-op and Dragon Age with deathmatch. So far I’m 50% correct. I think the major concern is that co-op was one of the components that made Resident Evil 5, how shall I say, “not great”, so how will it affect Dead Space.

Having a buddy next to you who can resurrect you if you die not only drops the difficulty but also the fear. Instead of being something that is avoided at all costs, death becomes a minor annoyance for your co-op partner who has to continually stop his running and gunning to get you back up. But Visceral didn’t end their with their quest to create unrest. They found other ways, better ways, to anger their fans.

They added microtransactions(source: IGN). Because every gamer loves paying $60 for their brand new game and then have the game present the option to spend more money for things that can be found naturally in-game. In their defense though, they said it was to help the casual phone game feel comfortable playing DS3. I cannot help but feel that this feature isn’t for the 1% target audience they say it is(seriously, why would a phone gamer be doing on a console and why would this person spend $60 on a game when phone games are $1). In reality, it sounds like EA saw how much money F2P brings in(all due to microtransactions) and decided they could get a few more bucks by putting an F2P system into a full title. I don’t want to sound like I’m telling Visceral how to make their game. By all means I am completely for a developer to create his or her envisioned product, but I hate when companies like EA tread dirt all over a product that didn’t need their input. Visceral games showed that they could make an amazing Single Player experience with the first Dead Space.

The last nail in the coffin was their admittance of the PC version being a port(source: GameFront), and their subsequent attempt to assuage PC gamers. The “hardcore” gamers generally have a list of phrases that upset them no matter how they are used. One of them is “console port”. There is no quicker way to stir up PC gamers than to tell them their version will be the same as a console. Visceral’s reasoning was that they want all versions to be identical, which I believe to be an impossibility. For whatever reason, the PS3 version of multiplatform games typically suffers from spontaneously poor framerates and a quick online fallout and PC versions will always have versatility in what controller is used as well as a better graphical experience, usually. Until we only have one unified platform, there will always be disparity between them.  Now, being a PC gamer, I don’t feel entitled to a better experience. But I do feel like I shouldn’t get a watered down experience.

Before you light your torches, it is known that developers take shortcuts to work with console limitations. While a typical PC has 2-16gb of RAM(I personally have 8gb) the Xbox 360 has 512mb and the PS3 has 256mb. Developers use lower res textures to compensate for this. They also display the game at a lower resolution and upscale it as to put less stress on the console(source: Beyond3d I know it isn’t word from a developer but the work that went into this can’t be argued with as everything is presented). These are shortcuts that don’t need to be applied to PC since the PC is capable of running the game as intended. Visceral just made a lot of enemies with that. Unfortunately they will most likely not learn a lesson as this will be a repeat of the Modern Warfare 2 boycott.


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