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How to Make a Monster!

GR: Were there common technical problems with some environments you didn’t expect to be challenging? Were there issues you had to repeatedly remind the art team of?

IM: From the start, we new we wanted a real spaceship, not a bunch of square hallways and rooms with metal textures. Instead the Ishimura [the starship the game takes place in] has layers of detail, with different open gangways and levels throughout, as a real ship would. Our world is also extraordinarily detailed. The sets came out better looking than even I hoped, but we paid a price. Our game involves a lot of physics and dismemberment, and when we first started chopping Necromorphs up in this detailed world, the resulting physical interactions lead to a lot of headaches and work. It was a brutal summer. But when I see our game now, with real physics happening in a very detailed world rather than yet another game with wide flat gymnasium spaces, I’m glad we stuck to our plans. Although I need to write a thank-you note to our artists and engineers.

BW: One of the earliest things we decided on what the strategic dismemberment. Knowing that early on meant we knew that every enemy we create has to have that. That’s the core gameplay. Every enemy that you face is a dismemberment puzzle or full of multiple dismemberment opportunities.

Some of the early drawings were really thick forms. You couldn’t really tell what it was you were going to cut off of the thing. It didn’t really make sense visually when you looked at it, like, “I guess I could shoot that tentacle off of it. I don’t know what that would do.”

GR: Talk about revising creatures.

BW: On some of them I probably have about 10-20 different takes, like the Brute, which I think you must have seen, the really big guy that knocks Isaac over. He’s in the Hydroponics deck. He’s the one that pulls Isaac apart. That guy went through a crapload of iterations.

I just didn’t want to end up with the brute guy you see in all the games. Which is tough because you want the gamer to recognize that he’s that kind of threat, so I did sort of end up with a form that was brut-ish. You can totally tell that he’s this big charging hulk of a thing. But to differentiate him from other kind of hulk-like characters, by taking the look of the aliens I had already developed and pushing it even further, it’s less human and more… if you look on the underside of his plating, you see more of the veiny structure that binds these alien things together. I think that we ended up giving him more - especially with the bony pieces, giving those really irregular shapes - gave him a more interesting silhouette overall and pushed him a little bit further away from the big burly dude and more to the realm of an alien creature.

15 comments

  • chester_spartan - October 4, 2008 7:32 a.m.

    I hope its long and not vague on what your doing or were your going, will definitly at least rent it.
  • CandiedJester - October 4, 2008 12:08 a.m.

    *cough* Hey samael..have you seen any gameplay videos? To me..it definatly looks like an action shooter. Even though it may claim it's survival horror. I think it'll have as much scare as bioshock..or resident evil did. Honestly I hope it is scarier than it looks. but I guess we'll have to wait and find out.
  • Corsair89 - October 2, 2008 2:32 a.m.

    I can't wait for this game.
  • NelosAngelos - October 1, 2008 10:04 p.m.

    Something tells me I'm gonna hate the Infectors.
  • Jason.Darksavior - October 11, 2008 8:38 a.m.

    Graphics look stunning and sets great atmosphere! Can't Wait!
  • noofer7 - October 6, 2008 8:24 p.m.

    I hope to be a game designer when I'm older so this is definitely an interesting article for me to read.
  • Smeggs - October 4, 2008 4:39 a.m.

    He couldn't think of any enemies in games that infect people? There was the little Flood from Halo who went around and took over corpses. There's the "Lost Souls" from Doom 3 who go around zombie-fying everyone. Headcrabs go and create zombies.
  • Samael - October 2, 2008 11:26 p.m.

    "There aren’t too many games that really have a creature that runs around and makes more creatures. I can’t really think of any." C'mon dude. You really can't think of any? http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Carrier_Form But in all honesty, this game looks friggen incredible. The first real "survival horror" game in a long time. I loved RE4 and I'm sure I'll love RE5 but they aren't horror anymore. There just action shooters with some creepy enemies. So Dead Space is a breath of fresh air.
  • CandiedJester - October 2, 2008 10:32 p.m.

    Aww how dissapointing, the concept art looks a bajillion times better than the screenshots :( I guess that's expected. But still it goes from a really interesting, dynamic place to like..a toned down halo-fied version. The atmosphere disappears. Anyway I would still get the game if I found the money. I wish it luck. :)
  • grover117 - October 2, 2008 6:22 p.m.

    I CANT WAIT!
  • sloppy - October 2, 2008 12:08 p.m.

    Do you want a free ps3? Free Ps3 games? Free anything? No Scam, No Joke, Just free gifts at www.wantafreegift.webs.com
  • blocpartier - October 2, 2008 2:42 a.m.

    Oh man those infectors look scary as hell.
  • lewis42025 - October 2, 2008 2:04 a.m.

    im seriously thinking about paying this off
  • drprofessor - October 1, 2008 10:14 p.m.

    very nice article.
  • moof77 - October 1, 2008 9:58 p.m.

    awesome article

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