There seems to be a lot riding on the success of the Dead Space remake. For fans, it needs to be a return to the series' roots following mixed reception to Dead Space 3. For EA, the game needs to be a commercial success that, hopefully, is a rebirth for the beloved horror franchise. A development update stream that EA Motive put on earlier this week answered a lot of questions fans have had since the game's announcements, and showed off a very early build of what the game is meant to look like. It was also announced that Gunner Wright will returning to the franchise to voice Isaac Clarke.
Although this possibility had been debated among fans since the Dead Space remake reveal, Wright returning to voice the game's protagonist is a welcome surprise. As Isaac didn't speak in the original Dead Space, no one was certain whether he'd be voiced in the remake like with Dead Space 2 and 3. This change to the original game seems like a good move that will ultimately make for a better exoerience and, potentially, a better franchise in the long run.
Gunner Wright's Return to Dead Space
While there are plenty of new and interesting narrative implications to Isaac having a voice in the first Dead Space, it's also just be nice to see Wright returning to the franchise. The actor's take on Isaac was full of nuance that was a very welcome addition to the series as it got much more plot-heavy in later entries. Wright seemed to really embody the character and take Isaac Clarke from a basic silent horror protagonist to a gaming icon.
Confirmation of Wright's return also helped ease the minds of many Dead Space fans who worried Isaac might be voiced by someone other than the original VA. While there are plenty of talented voice actors in the industry who probably would be up for the challenge, Wright and Isaac Clarke are seemingly inseparable in the hearts and minds of the Dead Space community, and any other voice behind the helmet would have felt odd.
Connecting with Isaac Clarke's Journey
Isaac Clarke's motivations in the original Dead Space were pretty straightforward once he realized he was not on the simple job of saving his girlfriend Nicole and getting off USG Ishimura. As other twists in the story came into play, some of Isaac's immediate objectives changed, but he generally stuck to the plan, which isn't the most complicated narrative. In some ways, it's essentially the same plot thrust as the original Super Mario Bros. from 1985, so a voiced protagonist isn't entirely necessary to tell the game's story.
That said, the game always felt like it was missing just a little bit of personality from Isaac, as he doesn't say anything over the course of the entire game. By giving him an actual voice for the remake, Dead Space is bound to be that much better, as Isaac became a more compelling character in Dead Space 2 and 3 once he had lines.
A lot of horrific things happen to Isaac in Dead Space that he recons with for the rest of the franchise, so hearing him as the events are happening should clue players into what's actually going on in his head as he's cutting his way through and out of the Ishimura. Additionally, EA Motive set up some rules for how they're handing Isaac's newfound voice that should keep the isolating experience of Dead Space intact for the remake.
The two rules are, "Isaac will primarily only speak when spoken to," and, "Isaac will sometimes speak in a situation where it would feel weird if he remained silent." These two rules have given fans hope that Isaac's voice won't intrude much on the Dead Space experience, as he won't be making quips around every corner. Instead, the voice acting will be there to add to the game's narrative and hopefully provide more insight into Isaac's relationship with Nicole and declining mental state.
Setting Up Future Dead Space Sequels
If the Dead Space remake performs well enough, talks of a sequel seem inevitable. However, the question then becomes what direction EA Motive is going to take the franchise. On one hand, the studio could continue remaking each game in the series following with Dead Space 2, or it could go off in an entirely new direction using the first remake as a springboard. All of that would hinge on Isaac's voice performance and how much it adds to the overall story. If things are beat-for-beat the same, with the only exception being that Isaac chimes in during conversation now, it seems like the game would flow directly into the story of Dead Space 2.
Either way, many fans are happy to hear from Isaac again following the cliffhanger endings of both Dead Space 3 and its DLC missions. As there was never any closure for the story, hopefully a reboot of the series will be able to address the ending or come up with a different story. At this point it's too early to tell for sure, but the news that Isaac will be voiced bodes well for the future if there are other titles in the works following this remake.
Dead Space releases late 2022 on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.