Like the original, one particular scene in the Dead Space remake gave its developer a major headache.
Back in 2019, Glen Schofield revealed in an interview that the team at Visceral had a rough time getting the scene where Isaac is grabbed and dragged across the floor by a huge tentacle to look just how they wanted. In the end, the team absolutely nailed it, and it's one of the most memorable moments of the entire game. It turns out there's one scene in the remake that was also a major challenge for developer Motive Studio.
The below contains some minor spoilers, so if you're yet to board the Ishimura, look away now.
Motive recently took the time to answer fans' questions on the Dead Space subreddit. During the AMA, the developer was asked about the work that went into one of the remakes' standout sequences where Isaac witnesses Captain Mathius transforming into a Necromorph. It's both spectacular and utterly disgusting, and as the developer reveals, it took a lot of work to make it look so seamless.
The Dead Space Remake devs did an AMA and one of the answers involves how they did the new Captain Mathias necromorph change sequence, and my god the AAA pipeline is wild lol pic.twitter.com/tYa5TK87j9February 6, 2023
Motive describes the sequence as "a big challenge". Firstly the developer had to scale the Mathius model and align it as closely as possible to the Necromorph model so that they matched. And things don't get any more straightforward from there.
"We then created Blendshapes between two models sharing the same topology, the human (Captain Mathius) and his Necromorph model," Motive says. "From those two animated models, we created Dynamic Masks in Houdini to blend them in a single animated model with our desired look and export alembic data from the final result."
As Necromorphs are considerably bigger than humans, the team also had to simulate Captain Mathius' clothes tearing as he transformed. And as you'd expect, this was no simple task either. "We used Tyflow from 3DS Max to precut the clothing and simulate it with the alembic data from Houdini. Then we exported everything as alembic data to Maya and processed bones to replicate the vertex deformation to be able to send the final result to our real-time Engine (Frostbite)."
This shows just how much effort can go into a short sequence that players only see for a moment and the level of dedication Motive and other AAA developers have for their craft.
In our Dead Space review, we describe the remake as "A sublime mix of fresh, familiar, and freaking terrifying".
If you love a good scare, check out our pick of the best horror games to play right now.