We spotted mention of "downloadable content" during a recent hands-on play session with the game. The message pops up when you don't have enough resources to piece together the beefy new weapon you're after.
It states: "Cannot craft. Additional resources required."
These resources (materials, scrap parts and the like) can be picked up by the player, picked up by scavenger bots you send out, or alternatively bought through a quick purchase from the in-game store.
"You can buy resources with real money, but scavenger bots can also give you the currency that you can use on the marketplace," Dead Space 3 associate producer Yara Khoury explained to Eurogamer. "So you don't have to spend [real world] dollars."
Khoury was unable to say how much the micro-transactions would cost, but she referred to several different packs of in-game currency being available, priced varying amounts.
But even with a bank balance full of money, developer Visceral Games has made sure you can't boost your way to the best weapons at the very beginning of the game.
"No you can't!" Khoury replied at the suggestion I'd be able to splurge my money as soon as possible in exchange for the game's biggest gun. "There are a lot of weapon parts that are only available to buy later in the game. Unless you're playing through it again [on New Game Plus]."
Dead Space 3 is the first game in the series to include micro-transactions. The payment system popped up last year in fellow EA-published title Mass Effect 3, too, allowing you to quickly buy reinforcement packs for the game's multiplayer portion. Ubisoft-published Assassin's Creed 3 included a similar system for that game's multiplayer.
And this weekend, in an interview with CVG, producer John Calhoun appears to have only added fuel to the fire by suggesting that the use of micro-transactions is actually part of a strategy to attract the ‘smartphone generation’ to the game.
“We need to make sure we’re expanding our audience,” he said. “There are action game fans, and survival horror game fans, who are 19 and 20, and they’ve only played games on their smartphones, and micro-transactions are to them a standard part of gaming. It’s a different generation. So if we’re going to bring those people into our world, let’s speak their language, but let’s not alienate our fans at the same time.”
Of course, some are suggesting that alienating their fans is exactly what EA are doing through tactics such as these – with even Dead Space 3′s box art coming under attack this week for being “generic” and “mass market”.
Nonetheless, the game is predicted to be a monster hit when it hits stores in two weeks’ time.
Then make the game $30 ya ****heads.