EA Redwood Shores wanted to get the carnage right in Dead Space, and like less gruesome subjects, it can be difficult to illustrate something you've never seen. Perhaps that's why dead bodies have looked silly or at least uninteresting in other games. So the Dead Space team studied pictures of car crash victims and war scenes to get it right.
"We knew this would be difficult to portray, because sometimes gore in games looks cheap and unrealistic," executive producer Glen Schofield told Edge. "Sure enough, the first few corpses that we did, just weren't convincing enough. I rejected them.
"This sounds horrible, but we had to go look at pictures of car accidents and war scenes and things like that because we had to get it right; we had to portray scenes of terrible carnage and realism. It's a big part of making that experience convincing."
I'd be interested to know where they got their photographs. I doubt they actually got shots from a medical examiner or other public authority — although it would be amazing (and one hell of an uproar) if they did. I saw some pretty disturbing things as a reporter — Brian saw lots more, for sure. It's not easy to look at that kind of stuff, much less pore over it to study the visual details. It's a hell of a job they had to do.
Dead Space Team Studied Car Crash Victims [Edge Online]