The upcoming remake of Dead Space from developer EA Motive is only a few weeks away from launch and leading up to its release, we’re slowly gathering new information about the ambitious game. One of the early decisions made by the studio was to remove the pause button, which would’ve made players feel like they were “never actually safe.” However, Motive decided against this decision in the end.
Speaking to Inverse recently, EA Motive’s Realization Director Joel MacMillan explained how removing the pause button from games – especially in the horror genre – would never give players moments of reprieve that allowed them to take a breath and continue the experience. Pausing the game would simply deflate the tension which is why the studio tried to initially include it in the Dead Space remake.
MacMillan explained in greater detail how the lack of a pause button only adds to the scares and suspense of a horror game, stating:
“In horror games, you can pause and you have a moment of safety there. You can take a breath. And I think you get a reprieve from that. It deflates some of the tension. But with persistent online games, you’re playing with dozens of other people, and you can’t just pause everybody’s game. I think removing that as a feature would make horror games far more impactful — You would truly feel like you’re never actually safe.”
In the end, EA Motive decided to keep the pause button in the Dead Space remake after all. The original game is already an intense experience on its own and taking away the safety net of allowing players to pause the game might’ve been overkill.
During multiplayer or playing online, no pause button makes sense as players can’t exactly pause everyone’s game. However, other mainly single-player offerings have gotten away with removing the pause button which almost became a staple of those titles, notably From Software’s many Souls games.
Dead Space launches on 27 January 2023 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.