The story behind Dead Space takes place hundreds of years in the future, during a time when mankind has exhausted all of the natural resources on Earth. Fortunately, in this dire time, humanity has mastered space travel, and a process known as planet cracking has been developed to combat this drought. A celestial body is split into pieces, and its minerals are strip-mined and melted, returning the byproducts to Earth for consumption. An entire fleet of ships sails the stars performing these tasks, and the crown jewel of this mining fleet is the USG Ishimura, which has performed more planet cracks that any other vessel. However, on a routine mission, the ship cuts off all communication from galactic command, which is somewhat strange. To discover what's going on, a small maintenance crew is quickly dispatched to the Ishimura from a nearby vessel.
The unsettling nature of the world is heightened by the fact that there is no specific HUD to speak of -- Isaac's health is presented on his back, his ammunition is holographically projected above the gun, and incoming transmissions that he receives pop up in front of his face. Even checking his inventory is pulled up via holograms, and it is done in real time, meaning that a Necromorph can come crawling through the floor or leap from a vent behind you and strike you at any time. Because you're never removed from the action, you feel much more immersed in the world, which is only added to with the environmental items scattered around the ship. Messages scrawled in blood, text and audio messages that detail what happened on board the ship, and even Isaac's notes to himself in his personal journal add to a sense that this is a ship that no one should be on or even near if they value their life, which is an impressive way to balance the story with the action of the game presented in front of them.