Survival horror has never been the most popular genre within the video game industry, mainly due to the fact that alot of the community within gaming are very young and do not enjoy objective-based horror. During its peak, the genre had mainstream releases such as the Resident Evil series which is still a strong franchise in today's gaming culture.
Dead Space when it first released was also one of the big names in not just survival-horror but also in gaming as a whole. It would be a challenge to walk into an entertainment or gaming shop and not see a Dead Space advertisement or even the game on sale as a whole. Being a huge fan of the first Dead Space game I cannot sing its praises highly enough; the environment design, the character models, the innovative and stylized objectives, the original story line coupled with the tension of being in the modern idea of a 'Haunted House in space' idea.
But with this we approach its sequel and the pinpoint of my argument, because so much of the gaming community is a younger audience survival-horror has been downgraded. Not just downgraded but decimated, if the genre were a Lion it would have been declawed, neutered and its teeth removed so that the neighborhood children might pet the ruined beast. Why and how can we see this in new games of the genre? Well, simply look at the progression of the Dead Space series. The first game, a shining beacon of the genre with tension and legitimate horror the likes of which rival classic horror films such as The Shining and A Nightmare on Elm Street for their scare factors.
The sequel, Dead Space 2, still utilizes survival-horror as its primary style inspiration. The enemies are still developed and they all lack guns and human qualities which make the series a horror game rather than a shoot 'em up kill as many terrorists as possible. Here is where we see the downfall of the genre. Multiplayer. A survival-horror game that in its first iteration required no need to resort to even considering having a multiplayer feature.
Not that I don't respect this multiplayer, I enjoyed many hours of the mode. It is just not needed in a series like this, bring it out as a separate game! Polish it, finish it and make it the best it can be just don't tie it onto a game that has no need of being a multiplayer enabled game. Focus on the single-player and ensure that is the best it can be, the amount of glitches and issues I encountered in the campaign of Dead Space 2 and the laggy unfinished edges of the multiplayer just show that the work load was all over the place and because of this, all areas of the game were unpolished and frankly badly done.
Onto the prime suspect in the downfall of the genre, Dead Space 3 and I can't even discuss the merits this game's single-player has because it is overshadowed and ruined by the addition of a co-op mode to a survival horror game like Dead Space. Fair enough, it works in games like Resident Evil but this is not Resident Evil! Dead Space was specifically designed to be a single-player experience and its shown precisely through how even in Dead Space 3 your co-op partner is never shown in the cut scenes within the game. It ruins whatever semblance of a survival-horror game that was left in the bloated and in-game purchase riddled carcass of a once beautifully made masterclass in survival horror in Dead Space 1.
It was easy to see the series would decay, after the addition of a voice to Isaac Clarke's character the series lost its significance and the scares just lost their edge knowing Isaac could shout something idiotic at any moment. I can only weep for the future of the genre, there is still hope in games like The Evil Within and The Last of Us both truly exceptional in the genre and show that some of us out there still appreciate a good scare with our action.