Dead Space 2’s Lessons Learned: “No more ADS Cannons”

On the eve of the launch of Visceral Games’ much hyped sequel to their survival horror shooter, Dead Space 2’s producer, Shereif Fattouh let’s us in on where they went wrong the first time ‘round and what they’ve done to make round two right.

Ask Shereif Fattouh what the team behind Dead Space 2 learned from the first game, and he’ll give you a list of what players liked and how they’ve managed to bring those elements across to the new game. They learned that people like using tools as weapons – forget machine guns, hand over the plasma cutters and mining tools. They learned which necromorphs were cool and which ones weren’t so cool. They studied what people liked and capitalised on them for Dead Space 2.

But what about where they went wrong?

We asked Fattouh to step back and be critical of the first games’ weaknesses, and he was more than happy to acknowledge where things could have gone better.

“The hardcore fans will know of a moment in the original Dead Space; the ADS Cannon. It was where you hopped into this Asteroid Defense Cannon and played a mini game that involved you shooting at asteroids… but it was brutally difficult,” Fattouh said.

“From that one mini game, I think we learned, I know I personally learned a big lesson as far as design goes, that if you’re going to have a game mode that is drastically different to the main game mode, you better be sure that it’s well tutorialised and that it’s not super difficult, because otherwise you’ll throw people off,” he said.

“People who have been playing the game for so long are used to a certain mechanic, and they like that experience, so if all of a sudden you throw them into something like a flight simulator, it should be a mini game that acts as a change of pace instead of being something that is brutally difficult that people can’t get past. I’ve heard stories of people, and candidly I’ve seen people on message boards talk about how they got to that point and put the controller down because they couldn’t get past it. We don’t want another ADS Cannon moment in Dead Space 2.”

So does this mean the end of ADS Cannons altogether?

“Yes,” said Fattouh.

“No more ADS cannons.”

We managed to speak to Shereif late last week for an in-depth interview on Dead Space 2, check back later this week for more info!


    Never really got into dead space, but I'm liking the objection! features and more content from aussie game journos, big fan of tracey. More like this.

    I replayed the ADS cannon scene last week, it is truly terrible!... While the idea was sound, aiming at the amount of incoming objects was incredibly difficult. I could hit them if they came one at a time, but once it was 3-4 at the time, aiming became almost impossible.

    I believe the ADS cannons were only hard on controllers, as I tried this the other day on the PC version with a controller. It was tough but hardly impossible. With a mouse though it was so much easier and you could do it without being hit once.

    If anything, the important thing they learned that there are some mechanics that they tried out, only to realise the infeasibility of them when real people on controllers tried it out. They definitely needed to either up the sensitivity of the guns, or make the asteroids less frequent and easier to get to with the limitations of the controller joystick.

    Again with a mouse, there was no problem with the cannon.

      Yeah, I think the thing that threw me off the most, using a controller, was the aiming speed. It was just so different from Isaac's regular controls. I suppose this isn't a problem with a mouse.

      I still wouldn't describe it as "brutal," it was only the achievement for 50% shields that really lead to frustration for me.

    I'm playing through Dead Space right and went through that sequence earlier. I got through it on my second attempt just scraping through. It didn't bother me too much but I've certainly dealt with games before where all of a sudden you find yourself doing a mini game that for whatever reason is *impossible*.

    There was only one game, where the mini-game was as awesome as the main game. PADDLE WARS!!!!!! Yay for Keen!

    Also, Will be picking up DS1 when I have more download allowance, looking forward to it actually :D

    Gotta say, that one achievement for beating the ADS section without losing too much health on hard was easily the hardest one in the entire game.

    Still, no acknowledgement of the overuse of shock horror? Not promising.

      "Still, no acknowledgement of the overuse of shock horror? Not promising."

      Did you see what game this was? The whole game is based around this shock-horror premise. If that's not what you're into, then get off Troll / avoid this, and try something else. Facepalm.


        I think what he's getting at, is it's a game based around startling than scaring you
        I played it and don't remember ever being scared
        Not once

        Also please don't use the word troll when someones clearly not trolling

          the irony is everyone bitched at ID for Doom 3's Monster Closet's because they were meant to scare the bejesus out of you and they bitched because they couldn't have a torch all the time

          Horror seems to go 2 ways

          A) wasn't scary enough

          B) they tried to make it scary and i got annoyed

          the no ADS thing is just another sign of people bitching everything is just too hard. sure it might have been a pain but it wasn't hard to complete i even have the magic trophy of health associated with it.

          If you weren't scared in Dead Space, then I suggest you:

          a) turn off the lights next time,

          b) make sure you are playing Dead Space, instead of Happy Happy Unicorn Rainbow Adventures,

          c) stop telling fibs.

          Dead Space was super-freaking scary in parts.

            Right, yeah.
            Every time I play a horror game I do so at night, by myself, with all the lights off, wearing headphones, with the doors shut so I can't hear anyone else.

            Just because Dead Space wasn't a scary game doesn't mean we were playing it wrong.

    The cannon was just too hard. If it had been playtested to be easier, it wouldn't have been a problem.

    The other memorable problem was the tentacles with the yellow weak points. The "adjusted" controls they adopted whenever the tentacle grabbed you made them extremely frustrating.

    The ADS Cannon - Shereif don't like it

    Well, that's welcome news. While hardly "brutally difficult" (it took me about 5 or 6 tries on the xbox), it was definitely out of place/pace.

    I loved the amount of dread that Dead Space was able to instill in me while walking through the corridors/rooms, unfortunately it always disappeared as soon as an enemy showed up.
    Hope the sequel can improve on that.
    Played the PC version and didn't really have a problem with the ADS section, I actually breezed through half of it before realizing that the right mouse button fired the secondary barrel.
    I believe I began making "PER-CHOW!" noises after that.

    I finished the original dead space the other week on Impossible (be it with the DLC scorpion suit )and at its all about prediction and patterns (firing where an asteroid is *GOING* to appear) - It didn’t take me a huge amount of time but I can see why people didn’t like it. I thought it was okay though just for the record. After Bioshock 2 what scares me about Dead space 2 is the multiplayer component, I pray we don’t get a subpar one player experience because it :P

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now