Dead Space 3 Weapon Crafting

At a press event in which game journalists were given the opportunity to get some hands on time with Dead Space 3, the game’s executive producer Steve Papoutsis took some time to talk about its weapon crafting system. Here’s what he had to say:

“Isaac is an engineer, right? So that’s always been important to us. He wasn’t a soldier, he was an engineer. Part of what’s made him interesting to us from the get-go was that he had the ability to create his own unique stuff. He solved problems and he solved puzzles by being an engineer and being smart about what he did. So we wanted to create a new weapon system that evolved what we’ve done previously and actually allowed players to feel like they were engineering or tinkering or creating their own unique weapons.”

“I remember that we were in a meeting one day at work and I was reviewing weapon crafting. We were looking at it and everyone looked and said, “man this is crazy, this is too complicated, this is too hard, are people even going to like this? Why are we doing this?” I wasn’t paying attention; I was actually looking at my phone and looking at Twitter. And I actually, I kid you not, saw on Twitter at that moment when this conversation was happening somebody posted, “hey you know what would be really cool? if I could have a flamethwrower ripper”. And so I stopped and said hey I’m serious here. And I passed around my phone and said that’s why we’re making this feature. We’re making this feature because it’s a natural extension that people want to see and play with. And this one person, I don’t know who he is and I didn’t ask him to write this, but this is what they’re asking for and I think that we are on the right track.”

“My favorite weapon has a military engine on top … and I coated the shots with stasis and I added a bunch of capacity and damage nodes to it. So I made a pretty cool gun. … but it was really cool because I made that myself and it was the way I liked to play, and I thought that we’re going to see players that want to do that. We know that players are going to want to customize and experience the game in a very unique way. So now with our weapons system not only will they be able to do that, they’ll also be able to scavenge the world that they’re playing in to find the interesting pieces that feed into it.”

“We’ve got this idea of scavenging, weapon crafting, and actually item crafting as well. It’s really tying back into what Isaac is, which is an engineer, and he’s being resourceful. He’s going to be in situations where it doesn’t make sense that you can just walk up to something and spend credits, so it really makes sense for us from that perspective and it’s a natural fit for what we’re doing.”

When I got my hands-on the game I was anxious to try the weapon crafting system, but it doesn’t come into play in the game until Chapter 4. Unfortunately that was the last chapter available for play in the build that we had access to, so I wasn’t able to really put it through its paces. However, I was able to collect enough parts and a frame to attach them to that when I came across the first weapons bench in the game I was able to put something together.

The game breaks a weapon down into upper and lower tools, an attachment point and a tip for each tool, and a circuit board. The tools are the actual “weapon” parts, such as a ripper or deflection torus. The attachments and tips affect the way those weapons behave. For example, if you have a tool that fires bolos, a precision tip will cause them to release a violent discharge, while a compressor will turn the shots into burning bolos. Use a directed spanner field and you get sticky bolos, use a repeater and they’re electrified, and if you go with a diffraction torus they’ll give off an arc that spreads to nearby targets. And all of that is possible just by changing tips on one tool, so you can imagine how many combinations will be possible in the game. Lastly, the circuits are used to boost the weapon’s stats in one of four categories: damage, reload speed, clip size, and rate of fire.

The bench will also let you craft items. As long as you have all of the components and the necessary recipe, you can make a variety of things from ammo to new circuits to add to your weapon.

My choices were limited by the fact that I was only able to play far enough into the game to be able to craft a basic weapon, but in spite of its relative simplicity compared to what will be possible in the game I have to say that it was pretty cool to be able to add knockback capability as an alternate fire mode on my weapon.

One last thing I should add is that you don’t have to worry about making some bad choices and then having to live with them for a stretch of the game because the game has a mode that will let you do some experimenting. You’ll have access to a bench and the parts that you’ve already unlocked in the game which will allow you to try out some new weapon combinations. When you’ve settled on one you want to try out, you can push a button and waves of necromorphs will come into the room. There will be a variety of them as well, so you can see if your weapon works well for one type but not for another.