Isaac Clarke didn't speak a word in Dead Space, despite the horrors unfolding around him. Isaac didn't even have much of a reaction when he found out the reason he was traversing through swarms of infected humans -- his girlfriend -- wasn't quite the person he'd thought she was. In Dead Space 2, however, Isaac will have a voice. Developer Visceral Games hasn't revealed that voice yet, but the team did explain to me at PAX East the reasoning behind giving Isaac a voice. It's about the story.
"The voice thing is really just about making the game believable," said executive producer Steve Papoutsis. "So, the first game, there really wasn't anybody around, there wasn't anybody for him to talk to. And in the new game, c'mon, he's just been through this horrific experience and there miiiiight be some people around, so it would make sense that he may actually speak. It was an evolution based around what the story required, and just the fact that it's tough to stomach that some guy's not going to talk for another however many hours Dead Space 2 is."
Papoutsis was quick to add that Isaac won't be delivering one-liners and spouting advice to the player every few minutes. They're being careful and deliberate about when he speaks. But art director Ian Milham admitted there's a potential problem for his team by giving Isaac a voice in Dead Space 2.
"While we certainly are cognizant of all the risks there and we're gonna do a good job of it -- because you could cast the wrong guy or you could make a misstep," said Milham. "The things that would make us question the decision, we're aware of...and we're definitely planning on doing a really good job and nailing the character, but now he's a much bigger character and he is a character and he's going to to be the one in charge, bringing experience to bear and the story is going to revolve around him."
"We're trying to take the bar and the terror to new levels," added producer Rich Briggs. "Isaac is going to have some reaction to this. He's going to see a lot of very terrible things, even worse in Dead Space 2, and we've gotta make him feel like a believable character. If you saw somebody rip their heart [out] in front of you, you probably wouldn't just keep walking."
Dead Space 2 will be released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (and maybe PC) sometime in the future. A release date hasn't been set, but 2010 isn't looking likely. Expect Dead Space 2 in early 2011.