Motive’s Lifeless Area remake is completely putrid in each manner, and its tackle gory horror recreation carnage is entrance and centre from the get-go. But, whereas the blood-splattered partitions of the USG Ishimura set the stage for a revamped sequel, I’m itching to play a Lifeless Area prequel and discover the mining vessel earlier than the proverbial hits the fan.
Earlier than I dive into why now could be the right time for a Lifeless Area prequel, it’s solely proper to acknowledge EA’s spin-off from 2009. By rights, Lifeless Area: Extraction is a precursor to the unique, and offers us a motion-controlled glimpse at occasions earlier than Isaac Clarke’s actually dangerous day at work. The identical applies to the animated movie, Lifeless Area: Downfall, however Motive arguably now has an opportunity to current a prelude from a contemporary perspective utilizing its refined mechanics and beautiful visuals.
Once more, there’s nothing inherently unsuitable with earlier Lifeless Area prequels, however they’re not what I crave from the collection as a horror fan. Positive, the backdrop journey to Aegis VII to retrieve the mysterious marker feels quite a bit like the primary act in Ridley Scott’s Alien, and all hell breaks unfastened later similarly. I nonetheless need that affect to stay, however Motive might achieve this far more with the best way the sport arrives at its chest-burster scene equal.
Naturally, the Lifeless Area remake is functionally totally different underneath the hood, and its new peeling system provides substance to the gory glow-up. The mechanic utterly uplifts the unique recreation’s glorious tackle physique horror, nevertheless it’s laborious to understand how grotesque it’s through the chaos of survival fight. Letting the participant expertise life on an untainted model of the Ishimura first might assist create the right build-up to an iconic inciting incident, one which influences one of the best horror video games of tomorrow.
Even with out its blood-soaked partitions, the Ishimura is a sci-fi capitalist hellhole, including gore solely serves to distance any emotions of consolation or security. Facilitating each in a Lifeless Area prequel is admittedly a troublesome activity, however Bioshock Infinite’s ‘Burial at Sea’ proves you’ll be able to take away the surface-level horror from a disturbing recreation world. Life nearly feels too regular throughout the DLC’s tackle Rapture, a vibe that in the end provides spice to the eventual environmental U-turn.
That’s precisely what I would like from an unscathed USG Ishimura – a functioning ship that looks like a traditional office, albeit with worrying undertones. Working lights? Test. Dwelling co-workers? Test. Lifeless Area not often provides gamers an opportunity to breathe, even whereas dwelling inside “safe” areas. Nonetheless, if Motive was to offer the aforementioned Alien-inspired incident the punch it deserves in a prequel, initially slowing issues down to supply a false sense of safety would function an eerie catalyst.
Slowing right down to “enjoy” the view received’t be to everybody’s tastes, even when EA’s Frostbite Engine is visually scrumptious. Whereas I don’t assume gameplay ought to remotely take a backseat inside a Lifeless Area prequel, slowing gamers down will present them with an excuse to understand Motive’s meticulous consideration to element and construct stress. There’s nothing creepier than catching a silent glimpse of one thing out of the nook of your eye, and creating that sense of participant doubt and dread will solely bolster its personal grotesque flip of occasions.
I’m not saying Lifeless Area wants its personal John Harm, nor am I implying I would like that very same surprising setup. As an alternative, I’d wish to see one thing that recognises why Ridley Scott’s scene makes an impression, because it’s as a lot about context as it’s about creepy little puppets creating physique cavities. Merely put, I wish to really feel like my protagonist is protected and sound within the firm of their colleagues, solely to inevitably watch helplessly as that aforementioned peeling mechanic rips via the flesh of on-screen buddies, remodelling their malformed our bodies into one thing incomprehensible.
I received’t delve into which particular characters I’d wish to see in a Lifeless Area prequel, however giving a ragtag band of blue-collar staff we are able to fall heartbreakingly in love with would assist hammer dwelling the above objectives. In a kind of Star Wars: Rogue One vogue, I don’t assume anybody /ought to/ survive Ishinmura’s outbreak, however I wish to discover myself egging on each helpless crewmate proper right down to the obligatory last woman, solely to have hope slowly snatched away by mutating flesh and bone.
In the event you want a visible support for the above, it’s best to look no additional than Lifeless Area 2. Visceral Video games’ unique sequel teases us with the prospect of a companion within the opening act, solely to pressure us to observe as tentacles rip out of their as soon as pleasant brow. Emulating this kind of supply in a prequel would hit a lot more durable because of Motive’s peeling system, and giving us a doomed solid to dote over would make it much more heart-wrenching.
After all, you can apply the above to the subsequent chapter, and the remake’s composer says EA ought to “skip ahead” to Lifeless Area 4. Nonetheless, it looks like now could be the best time to delve into prequel territory, and it’d give the collection an opportunity to color its gnarly narrative, physique horror, and world-building onto a brand-new canvas.