Even earlier than the monsters arrived, the USG Ishimura was a nightmare.
I imply, sure, the hulking spaceship the place Useless Area 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 reside and work lengthy earlier than that occurred. That is why the planet cracker class vessel continues to be remembered as fondly as different iconic areas resembling 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 necessary than the employees who do it.
After I first performed Useless Area again in 2008, I turned 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 simply, protagonist Isaac Clarke, had been an engineer. Somebody who understood the joints and brackets that held all the pieces collectively. You, too, had been a useful 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 reminiscences hadn’t fooled me. The Ishimura continues to be an impressive feat of atmosphere design, regardless of the posters for the mysterious “Peng” carrying totally different connotations than they did fifteen years in the past.
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 bear in mind. The individuals who designed it thought concerning the individuals who would reside on it as an afterthought, and boy howdy ain’t that realism in its most unsubtle type.
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 quite a lot 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 quite a lot of planets. It’s suffocatingly bleak. Infinite corridors of grim metallic. Heavy doorways to guard in opposition to the hazards of such a occupation. A medical bay as giant because the processing plant, presumably as a result of limb severing was an issue approach earlier than everybody grew blades out of their arms and determined it might be modern to pop their small gut on the fallacious 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 accommodates, appears like one too) that the crew quarters would provide its residents some type of mild respite within the type of carpets, or possibly a single plant. However no. Aside from the presence of infinite 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 workplace, and simply since you’re caught there for months (years?) at a time issues little to these stuffing their pockets filled with scrumptious planet rocks.
“However what of the officers!” you cry. “The place does the Captain, his first mate, and his cook dinner sleep?”. Properly, that’s a superb query. The explanation we develop to know the Ishimura so intimately is that Useless Area ferries the participant to each nook of its sprawling structure, 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 photographs of house. However right here’s the factor: It doesn’t matter. The partitions are the identical claustrophobic metallic as seen in every single place 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. If you’re aboard, you might be 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 like it to at the present time.