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How to get the Dead Space remake’s alternate ending

And what it means

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Dead Space Isaac taking a breath after escaping Aegis VII. Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

A big change in the Dead Space remake is the addition of an alternate ending. To see it, you’ll have to play the game (at least) twice and find some collectibles.

Our Dead Space remake alternate ending guide explains what you need to do to trigger the new ending, and then explains what you’ll see and how it fits into the larger Dead Space lore.

How to see the Dead Space remake’s alternate ending

Seeing the new alternate ending to the Dead Space remake isn’t that tricky, but you do have to play the game through twice — which is no small thing. When you beat the game for the first time (on any difficulty), you’ll unlock New Game Plus.

During this second playthrough on NG+ (again on any difficulty), you’ll be able to find 12 Marker Fragments scattered around the USG Ishimura. You can see the locations in MrReign’s video below. Just make sure to bail before the 9:50 mark if you want to avoid spoilers.

Your job is to collect all of those Marker Fragments and arrange them on the table/altar in Captain Mathius’ room in the Executive Quarters on the Crew Deck during Chapter 11 “Alternate Solutions.”

From there, you just have to play through to the end of the game (again).

Dead Space Isaac stepping through a doorway with SPOILERS superimposed on the bottom Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

So what is the alternate ending?

Let’s say you don’t want to play through the whole (terrifying) game again and just want to know what that whole alternate ending entails. Well, it’s, frankly, not much. (You can watch it at the end of the video above.)

Dead Space Isaac watching the Ishimura’s payload crash into the surface of Aegis VII.
And he lived happily ever after.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

In the standard ending of the game, Isaac escapes from Aegis VII secure in the knowledge that he destroyed the necromorphs and the (Red) Marker, and now everything is hunky-dory and there is no more space engineering to be done. Until he once again hallucinates his dead girlfriend and we get a jump scare just before the credits roll.

In the alternate ending, there’s no pretense of hunky-dory. Isaac looks a little manic (or, at least, happier than he should considering what he’s just seen), there are scribbles in Marker font covering every surface of the shuttle’s interior, and Isaac’s having a full conversation with his dead girlfriend. He says that he’s “gotta build a little something first” before they can go home.

To be a bit too reductive about it, he’s basically just saying, “But first, we’ve gotta do the sequels.”

What the hell does that mean?

Let’s back up for a second.

Dead Space (in general) and Dead Space (specifically) are cosmic horror stories. (We could also call it Lovecraftian horror since it’s a genre made most famous by noted bigot H.P. Lovecraft, but we’ll stick with “cosmic” here.) This brand of horror involves unknowable and unknowably alien forces that affect humanity on an existential level. Think of Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out Of Space,” where a color (from space) drives a family insane and mutates them into monstrous forms.

Which brings us to Dead Space’s Markers.

Isaac next to the activated Red Marker on Aegis VII
The Red Marker on Aegis VII.
Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via Polygon

In Dead Space lore, the Markers (like the one Isaac doesn’t quite destroy at the end of the Dead Space remake) are kind of cosmic horror-themed Swiss Army Knives. They’re a source of limitless energy (leading to, the lore implies, interstellar travel), a communication device, a necromorph-creator, and a broadcasting station sending out a variety of signals. Some people just see or hear these signals as noise and hallucinations. Some, however, see something more.

One of these signals is a drive for whatever intelligent being is nearby to create more Markers. That self-replication signal is what led to the creation of the Red Marker we see in Dead Space — and probably explains all those little Marker models you have to find to unlock the secret ending. It’s also what’s behind the other Red Markers we see in Deads Space 2 and 3.

In the first ending to Dead Space, we see Isaac escape the planet and then we get a jump scare-hint that maybe the waking nightmare isn’t over for him just yet.

Image: Visceral Games/Electronic Arts via GamersPrey

In the alternate ending, we see confirmation of that. His creepy smile, the Marker ramblings (that he likely wrote) all over the inside of the shuttle and on his helmet, and his sweet conversation with the dead Nicole are all a result of just how deep the Marker signal got into his brain. A few years later, during Dead Space 2, we (will) learn that Isaac has the full blueprint to make a new Marker implanted in his brain due to the events of Dead Space, and that blueprint is used to construct a new Marker (resulting in a new necromorph outbreak) on Titan.

So, yes, Isaac is kind of just saying that they’ve got to go do sequel things, but it’s also a glimpse of just how bad things are under that iconic helmet of his.

The next level of puzzles.

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