With word now that Visceral Games' developers are open to a new Dead Space game, it seems appropriate for the series to finally settle what kind of multiplayer it's going to have. The first game was single-player because co-op was proposed too late into development, and the game engine wasn't optimized yet. Later, Dead Space 2 had competitive multiplayer that was great fun, but had limited content and a few balancing issues. Dead Space 3 took the experience cooperative, but also unfortunately fumbled its gameplay by grafting in a weapon crafting system as well.
The next Dead Space game could go in any direction, but what it needs to do is pick one. If it's going to have co-op, then its cramp levels need to better support it. If it's going to have competitive multiplayer, then it either needs to seriously retool (or better yet, drop) the current weapon crafting system.
Either way, tightness of Dead Space 2's shooting will also need to return. Dead Space 3 put more emphasis on splash damage and cones of fire, and this took way too much away from the focus on precisely dismembering enemies.
The competitive multiplayer should still retain the narrative focus (a la Killzone 3's Operations mode) that the original Dead Space 2 multiplayer emulated. Except now, there should be more branching options, and flipped goals. Maybe the necromorphs go on the offensive instead of the humans. If humans fail an objective, why not give them an alternate last-ditch one to save the match and get them back on track? Variety is the key to any multiplayer mode, and it is what Dead Space 4 needs badly if it wants to outdo its predecessors.
A cooperative experience should both include a standard horde mode (seriously, why is it only the mobile Dead Space game that has this?) and a cooperative story mode. Except it shouldn't also be the main campaign, or in any way dramatically impact our single-player experience. No story content locked behind magic co-op doors, Visceral.
Lastly, if we really want to be ambitious and include all the above modes of play, then some kind of united upgrade system (a la Splinter Cell: Blacklist) should be considered. Nothing to the extent of Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker, where you'd have opponents with vastly better late-game gear. Instead, you'd merely be able to spend in-game currency and upgrades on the game's competitive, cooperative, and single-player unlocks.
So you'd play single-player to unlock extra suits with unique effects, play the competitive mode to grind for upgrade points, and chill with a friend in co-op to experience a cool side story. It all works in unison without stepping on anyone's feet. Here's hoping we see something like that in Dead Space 4.