Aliens. Outer Space. Body horror is horribly illustrated. Veteran video game designer Glen Schofield is finally back to doing what he loves most.
After spending about a decade working in the “Call of Duty” franchise as one of the founders of Sledgehammer Games, Schofield started Striking Distance Studios with the intent of getting back into the horror and sci-fi genre. It’s the space game Schofield, one of the primary architects of the “Dead Space” series, knows very well. This holiday season, on December 2, Striking Distance is set to release its first game, “The Callisto Protocol,” via PUBG publisher Studios Krafton.
A long trailer for the game was shown earlier this month as part of Summer Game Fest, a multi-day, largely online celebration of video game teasers and trailers. ‘Dead Space’, known for its moments of high tension contrasted with panicked terror, has a definite impact, although a brief look at ‘Calisto Protocol’, named after Jupiter’s moon, shows the game’s doubling of action-packed aspects. It is set in a moon-based prison colony 300 years in the future, where prisoners are transformed into human hybrid hybrids and disgusting monsters, as one should expect a lot of disgusting player death scenes.
Callisto Protocol will be released for PC, Xbox and PlayStation. Schofield, as part of Summer Game Fest, took a minute to talk about the game’s development to the media. While much is still being wrapped up, Schofield has discussed his love for the genre, and provided insights into his creative process.
Since you’ve worked in this space before, what draws you to the terrifying sci-fi genre? What is this type of game specifically talking about?
I am an artist first and foremost. This is what I trained on. I love science fiction. I have always loved science fiction fiction. I can draw whatever I want, and I did, and that’s okay. I always tried to be realistic in my paintings. So I love sci-fi fantasy, and I love the emotion of horror. It just gives off weird feelings – I’m scared, I’m nervous, I’m this and that. He is very emotional. So the combination of these two things is pretty cool.
Describe the horror tone of this game.
It is my body. My feeling is that psychic, cerebral, has its own moments, but I can’t see making a game based on it. I can’t see myself making one. We have little. touch it. We touch a bunch of different horrors, but we don’t get into ghosts, we don’t get into demons. We have some badass monsters. It is simply my body. It is physical horror.
She seems very craving for more physical horror.
Well, it’s the fear of jumping, right? It’s the tension. It’s very deep. You can feel it. It makes people walk rather than run. What is around the door? And when I die, it must be so horrible. I feel this is very western. It may be more American than European. There is a lot of this kind of horror in our movies, so I’m used to it. And I think body horror is one aspect of it, but it’s scary because you don’t want that to happen to you. So most of this is all material.
I made this game almost entirely during the pandemic. What was it like?
We came and hired 50-60 people. We do our concept art. We had our architects and designers. We were way ahead of where I was with Sledgehammer. We move into our space and after nine days it became an epidemic. We set up an entire motion capture studio. How the hell am I going to do this? I’ve been making video games for 30 years but now it’s turned upside down. I had to learn again and fast. This pretty much sucked. There are things I learn about studio management. My last studio had a partner. on business things. I was the creative guy and was able to do my things and focus on the game. With this said, I have a really good C team, but there are bubbles of stuff. There has been a lot of work going on trying to be the game manager.
You have to delegate. But there are a lot of decisions you have to make. Some are big, some are small, and some are controversial, so I have to do it. I have an MBA, so I know business, but I’m better at creativity. I love starting studios. I love going out and selling ideas. all of that. But there’s a lot of running it where it’s like, “Okay, leave that to the finance guys.”
“Dead Space” was a standout game of this genre.
Looking back, I think we came out at a good time. We’ve come up with Zero-G. This has never been in a game before. We’ve come up with no-HUD [heads-up display]. This wasn’t really a game. There is a bit of luck in timing. We’re not so lucky to come up with ideas, but we came at a time when there weren’t many ideas in this space. We are doing this, and we have to dig deep in search of new ideas. There are more nuances.
It is more difficult. It’s more of a challenge. There are times when I say, “I don’t like this challenge.” Things were hard to find, no doubt. But I really wanted to scare people. You can always come up with new ways to scare people. You have to think about it, but it’s fun for me, and you can always tell a new story. I wanted to tell a different story. I spent 10 years in Call of Duty, and we always tried to tell a great story, whether we did it or not. We spent a lot of time on the story. I wanted it for this game. More acting. More nuances. You have to polish the story. The story is very complicated.
What do you think of some specific themes of the “Calisto Protocol”?
People change. I want to leave it at that. This is kind of a thing. People do bad things to other people. Some people can be very harsh.
How long has this idea been in your head?
four years. The idea came to me in 2018. I started in 2019 by going to major publishers and saying, “I want to start a studio.” I met these guys [PUBG Studios] At full speed. I probably entered my second month of touring. One of my friends called me and said, “Someone called and said he was looking for a ‘Call of Duty’ guy?” I was like, “Is that me?” So I talked to them a few times and I really liked what they had to say. They loved the idea of the story.
They told me later, which was a nice compliment, and they said they were meeting a lot of people at the time, but I came and all I did was talk about the game. “Everyone came and said, ‘That’s how much money we’re going to make. “I wanted to make a game.” I thought this was awesome. It’s me. We should talk about the game and find out the other things later.
How would you like to be referred to as a “Call of Duty” person?
At that time it was fine. These days, with “Dead Space” and this game now in existence, there are a lot of people who are referring to me again as “Dead Space”, which I am very proud of. Listen, I’m proud of Call of Duty, and I had a great time. “Dead Space” is just more satisfying. It was a little game, man. We had no idea it would become this thing.
Have you reconsidered it?
Just in places here and there. I went back and played a couple of things here and there. Sometimes you look at it and go, “That sounds crap.” Sometimes she says, “That was a very good idea.” This does not mean that it is my idea. I find that I am very happy when someone else comes up with an idea. “Great idea! Let’s get it into the game.” This is a talent in itself.
When you think about it today, what stands out why this game is so popular?
I think it was an innovation. Then we had some rules, and I won’t remember them all. One was that the main character would not speak. There were times in development when we were like, “He should talk.” no. does not speak. We are bound by our rules. We were afraid, but it turned out to be the right thing. And there was this kind of innovation everywhere.
And there’s a lot of vibe, especially in terms of story and background.
I am very proud of the way we came up with religion. I’m pround of it. You played a real important role in the game.
How do you come up with a religion? Read something in National Geographic on Chicxulub, the giant crater in the Gulf of Mexico [is believed to have] Kill the dinosaurs. They were talking about getting the meteorite out of there. So I was like, “What if it wasn’t a meteorite? What if someone did it on purpose?”
The meteorite came and killed the dinosaurs and entered the Ice Age and started the mammals and then came the human. This meteorite started man. That’s when I got it. There was an alien race that started man. Then all of a sudden in the “Dead Space” universe you have people who think this was done on purpose and look at the obelisk they found. Other people said, “You’re crazy. It’s just a sign.” But these people had faith and it became the religion. It shocked me and I say, “That’s a good idea!” Some don’t come that way.
With “Callisto”, would you say this is a game where you had the story first or the world and the environment first?
I had the idea of prison. I had an idea that something bad was going to happen. So I said, “Why is this happening in prison?” So I had to dig deeper. Then I had to find a moon that could have a trigger – Callisto, which could have water. It was said that the man might colonize it one day. It wasn’t like, “Oh, the big story!” We save the environments and then we go bigger and deeper. We kind of knew the beginning and the end, but there was a lot of filling. We are still filling it. Small pieces. We are doing the new audio commentary. Small pieces.
What drew you to the prison setting?
What’s more scary than prison? This is so scary. People don’t know much about it. There are a lot of closed doors. They are closed places. It’s scary at first. Then you put it on a moon like Callisto. You cannot escape from the most terrifying places in the world. The universe is scary.