What we heard: On May 11, Electronic Arts announced that Dante's Inferno had sold over 1 million units since its release in February. With the tepidly reviewed game still a fixture on the game-rental charts, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that word of a sequel to the literary classic-inspired action game began to spread this week.
The source of the speculation is a job posting on Gamasutra for an open position at Visceral Games, the internal shop set up at EA's Redwood Shores campus last year. It is for an environment artist on "the sequel to a major new IP" that the EA Games label is "100% committed to." The listing promises that the "sequel will set new quality standards and make the franchise the world leader in the action/melee-combat genre."
While there's plenty of hand-to-hand head-bashing that goes on in Dead Space, it seems unlikely that the game described is Dead Space 2. For one, Dead Space 2 was announced last December, and Visceral developers are actively promoting it--meaning the project is hardly shrouded in secrecy. Also, the sequel was confirmed as recently as last week to be coming out on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The job listing for the unnamed game is for a developer with experience on the 360 and PS3, the two consoles that Dante's Inferno was released for. (A PSP version followed in March.) No mention is made of the PC.
Second is the listing's emphasis on the "action/melee-combat" genre. In Dead Space marketing materials, EA refers to Dead Space and its follow-up as "survival horror" titles and emphasizes its use of ranged weaponry to dismember ghoulish necromorphs. By contrast, the product description of Dante's Inferno plays up the "intense melee combat" of the God of War-like game.
The official story: EA reps had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. Most games that go platinum get sequels, and EA--which posted a $677 million annual loss last Tuesday--needs all the hits it can get.