The Dead Space franchise is only a year old, but the universe has already amassed a sizable backstory encompassing ancient alien artifacts, covert government experiments, and underground religious operations. With two games, a comic spin-off, and an animated prequel, several sources feed into and expand the lore of Dead Space. Dead Space 2 incorporates all of this material and moves it forward. “Everything that happens in Dead Space 1 is relevant to what happens in Dead Space 2,” Visceral Game’s senior production designer Ben Wanat told us. With that in mind, we combed through the game logs and grilled the franchise's creative team to unearth a few clues that hint to where the franchise is headed next.

The Basics
The core premise of Dead Space is simple. In the 26th century, humanity has exhausted most of the Earth’s natural resources, bringing its population precariously close to extinction. In order to feed the beasts of commerce and industry, humanity turns to the stars, searching for new raw materials on other planets. Giant vessels called “planetcrackers” travel the galaxy, mining the universe’s nearly inexhaustible resources.

The USG Ishimura was the first planetcracker, and it performed its function admirably for over 60 years. Then, during a routine missions to the planet Aegis VII, the Ishimura uncovered the Red Marker – a giant curved obelisk covered in alien script. As the Dead Space comics revealed, strange organic matter found near the Marker was brought aboard the ship. Once the crew was exposed to this unusual substance, a zombie-like outbreak ensued. Nearly the entire ship’s complement of 1,300 crew members were either killed or transformed into monstrous creatures called Necromorphs.

The original Dead Space chronicles protagonist Isaac Clarke’s attempt to answer the Ishimura’s distress call, as well as his own confrontation with the Necromorphs and the Marker. But the larger story is far more detailed than the game lets on. To gain clues about where the series is headed, it’s important to focus more closely on some of the bigger factions within the Dead Space universe.