February 3, 2023


Even earlier than the monsters arrived, the USG Ishimura was a nightmare.


I imply, sure, the hulking spaceship the place Lifeless House takes place isn’t precisely a floating Hilton as soon as its crew have been turned inside out by a bunch of drooling flesh moths, however there may be ample proof that the Ishimura was a depressing place to dwell and work lengthy earlier than that occurred. Because of this the planet cracker class vessel remains to be remembered as fondly as different iconic areas equivalent to Metropolis 17, Rapture and the Spencer Mansion. Regardless of its fantastical contexts, the Ishimura is a plausible location, one the place the work itself is deemed extra essential than the employees who do it.

You possibly can watch a trailer for the brand new one right here if you happen to fancy it. Go on. Why not. Deal with your self.


Once I first performed Lifeless House again in 2008, I grew to become infatuated with the Ishimura. It felt lived in. Actual. Each part of the ship justified its placement inside the wider complete. Each room offered comprehensible context. Engineering sat by the engines, due to course it did. Suitcases had been strewn across the arrival lounge. Medical was evenly divided between clinics that helped with illnesses of each the thoughts and the physique. And it helped that you just, protagonist Isaac Clarke, had been an engineer. Somebody who understood the joints and brackets that held the whole lot collectively. You, too, had been a practical a part of this bigger machine.


Revisiting the sport this week in preparation for the upcoming remake, I used to be happy to see my recollections hadn’t fooled me. The Ishimura remains to be a powerful feat of setting design, regardless of the posters for the mysterious “Peng” carrying totally different connotations than they did fifteen years in the past.

When Peng entered the nationwide dialect, I genuinely thought it was a Lifeless House reference as a result of I’m damaged on a elementary degree.


However this time round, I discovered myself significantly struck by the crew quarters. Rows upon rows of empty bunk beds, crammed collectively in tiny rooms within the dingiest nook of an already dingy ship. They’re appalling. Atrocious. They’re indicative of a society that cares little for its staff, and with an exasperated sigh, I realised that the Ishimura is much more plausible than I keep in mind. The individuals who designed it thought in regards to the individuals who would dwell on it as an afterthought, and boy howdy ain’t that realism in its most unsubtle kind.


The Ishimura is a planet cracker. Its sole function is to punch into the floor of a planet to wrench out its shiny guts. These on board then use a wide range of instruments – the identical instruments Isaac makes use of to sever flesh and bone – to separate the property from the rock. The within of the ship, unsurprisingly, appears like a vessel that has cracked a variety of planets. It’s suffocatingly bleak. Countless corridors of grim steel. Heavy doorways to guard in opposition to the risks of such a career. A medical bay as massive because the processing plant, presumably as a result of limb severing was an issue method earlier than everybody grew blades out of their palms and determined it could be trendy to pop their small gut on the unsuitable aspect of their tummies.


You’d assume, contemplating the remainder of the Ihsimura resembles the within of a washer (and, because of the massive quantity of equipment it comprises, seems like one too) that the crew quarters would provide its residents some type of mild respite within the type of carpets, or perhaps a single plant. However no. Other than the presence of countless rows of cramped bunk beds, they’re indistinguishable from the remainder of this godforsaken ship. The Concordance Extraction Company cares little to your consolation, and why ought to they? The Ishimura is a place of business, and simply since you’re caught there for months (years?) at a time issues little to these stuffing their pockets stuffed with scrumptious planet rocks.

Isaac stares longingly at a bed in Dead Space

Higher than the home I rented in my second yr of uni, to be honest. Considerably much less mould on the partitions, for starters.


“However what of the officers!” you cry. “The place does the Captain, his first mate, and his prepare dinner sleep?”. Effectively, that’s a very good query. The rationale we develop to know the Ishimura so intimately is that Lifeless House ferries the participant to each nook of its sprawling format, and Isaac does certainly spend time exploring the officer’s quarters. They’re brilliantly – laughably – common. Right here we discover the carpets the crew should crave. Every officer has their very own personal room. A double mattress. Velvet sheets. A cupboard full with exhausting liquor and images of residence. However right here’s the factor: It doesn’t matter. The partitions are the identical claustrophobic steel as seen in all places else on the ship. Your rank amongst your colleagues means little to the groaning bones of the Ishimura. Gown it up in crimson as a lot as you want. In case you are aboard, you’re nugatory. Insanity and decay are each an inevitability and a welcome conclusion.


I hope, if something, that the remake enhances this sense of suffocation. I need to see extra proof of the distress that existed no matter mutated monsters. Of capitalism’s agency grip on the throat of consolation. The USG Ishimura is plausible as a result of it sucks. That’s exactly why I find it irresistible to at the present time.

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