In the long, nearly endless battle against the idea that video games are a narrative art, there are a few games that really stand out as positive examples of the genre. Most recently, the Dead Space titles have shown the world that you can actually care about the meat-headed hero in an interactive space opera, an important facet to the growth of this media in terms of universality and permanence.
As IndustryGamers points out in a long interview with the crew who produced DS 2, the character of Isaac Clarke (a ham-handed as his name may be) isn’t just your average dope in a spacesuit.
While the game serves to immerse the player in a world of shadow and horror, we are companions, rather than guides, privy to Isaac’s redemption away from guilt.
The most important aspect, I think, is Isaac’s believability. He’s a “real dude” hanging out with guns that aren’t actually meant to be used as weapons. The designers made him an engineer, not Rambo.
So the idea that he was A.) believable and B.) an engineer gave us the opportunity to do things that set us apart from a lot of the other games that we compete with. Visually, we wanted to portray him in a believable way; the way he moves, his posture, the kinds of things he’s capable of doing with melee. He doesn’t do roundhouse kicks; he doesn’t do combo attacks and things like that. He moves like a guy that is an everyday guy who is wearing a big, heavy space suit. So all of those things came together again to reinforce the believability and again, to create a role for him in the universe that gave us some interesting kind of gameplay because of the kinds of things he would be doing as an engineer.
Read the whole interview here or just play the game. Either way, we’re one step closer to having “classics” in the genre.