An unconfirmed report is claiming that Electronic Arts has canceled production on Dead Space 4, and has “effectively axed the series” following weaker than expected sales of Dead Space 3.
Citing an anonymous source “familiar with the unannounced project”, VideoGamer is reporting that Visceral Montreal had already started pre-production on Dead Space 4, and was working on developing prototypes and story ideas when EA executives canceled the project last month. The report also claims that Electronic Arts has internally announced that the company will undergo restructuring, and they have shut down Visceral Montreal as a result of the lower than expected sales of Dead Space 3.
Officially, Electronic Arts had Dead Space 3 pegged to outsell both of its predecessors, and CEO John Riccitiello once stated that he believed the title would “get into that five million unit cadence“. EA has yet to announce any sales data for Dead Space 3, however, their last earnings call indicated that pre-orders were “outpacing” Dead Space 2.
The report also mentions that Dead Space 3 was “almost cancelled” halfway though its development, as it underwent “continuous [budget] cuts”. According to the anonymous source, EA also pushed for several changes to the game in order to suit their needs. One of these forced changes was that weapon-specific ammo was switched for generic ammo late in development, to better fit the game’s micro-transaction system.
Additionally, the report states that it was Electronic Arts who “advised” Visceral to make Dead Space 3 less of a survival-horror title more of an action game, so that it would “appeal to a wider audience”. This claim by the source is partially supported by statements from EA Game’s marketing boss, Laura Miele, who told MCV last year that their customer feedback from Dead Space and Dead Space 2 indicated that the titles were too scary.
With Dead Space 4 never having been officially announced, and EA unwilling to provide a comment, it is impossible to confirm any of the details in the report. Until an official announcement is made, consider this to be a rumor.
[Update] Electronic Arts has since called the rumors about Dead Space 3 sales and an unannounced Dead Space 4 being cancelled “patently false“.