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Working for a rag like FANGORIA comes with some occasional perks (when they let you out of the sweat shop, that is), like getting to tackle trips to EA's San Francisco headquarters to check out the upcoming highly anticipated release of Visceral Games' DEAD SPACE 2. Even if it was a whirlwind cross-country jaunt, Fango got to see and do some stuff that should have gamers salivating with envy.
Armed with my usual in-flight accompaniment of early 90's hip-hop and airline Jack-n-Cokes, I took off from the south office in Richmond earlier than I'd care to be awake. Why people have such a tendency to scoff at you for drinking liquor before sunrise is beyond me. It's called a problem, people...I have it, you don't. After about 6 hours of flight between two planes, we arrived in Frisco. After dodging the invading Canadian geese, we entered EA's stimulus-overload lobby and received a combined visual and audio assault of game trailers amidst rows of playable stations. Seriously, I could live in that lobby (envious gamers – begin salivation).
We met up with our awesome tour guide Melissa and were immediately whisked off to join Producer Scott Probst and the rest of the crew that designed the super sweet, combat intense, profanity inducing multiplayer addition to the survival horror franchise. The humans-versus-necromorphs stage provides for some killer (in the most literal sense) 4-man team objective based action – the humans have an objective to complete the stage, and the necromorphs have an objective to kill the humans as horrifically as possible. I didn't keep track of how many kills I had, but I'm sure it was more than any objectives I completed (Zero. All that airline booze gets me a little trigger-happy). With several exhausting and eye-crossing rounds of multiplayer behind us, we were drug from the premises and forced to eat dinner and sleep off the evening.
We strolled back over (still goose-dodging) to EA and met up with Rich to talk discuss the more horrific moments of the game. In the chosen demo-room, we sat in front of a wall of TVs and speakers; lights out and sound up. Producer Rich Briggs frightened the living bejesus out of us showing off the scarier moments of DEAD SPACE 2. If you've played the original, you know it's the pinnacle of a video game scarefest, and it’s safe to say they've only increased that effect tenfold. Gross, gory, and spooky; all the excitement was enough to make visiting photographer Julie shield her eyes and frequently pretend to adjust her camera. We can’t say sure if the poor girl's going to take on anymore assignments from Fango.
We retired for some lunch with the crew from Visceral and spent the rest of the day soaking in as much of the game as we could. Creative director Wright Bagwell discussed the drive behind the sequel; executive producer Steve Papoutsis shared the scope of the franchise; producer Chuck Beaver gave us an in-depth look at the comics, books, and animated feature all inspired by and connected to the game's story; and art director Ian Milham showed us the sick and twisted creation that goes into birthing the necromorphs (most notably their f*cked up teeth). We scurried around the offices, snagged some pics and then ventured off early enough to get lost in the streets of San Francisco (hailing a cab there is next to impossible), but wound up at a pretty tasty sushi joint...because nothing goes better with blood-spattered gore and horrific demonic zombies than elegantly prepared raw fish.
Look for all the details on the game in our DEAD SPACE 2 feature story in issue #299 (on sale in December).
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