When Glen Schofield left Call of Duty developer Sledgehammer Games already in 2018, he needed a break. The game designer, best known as the creator of the outstanding sci-fi horror series Dead space, decided to head out to the Arizona desert for some R&R – which for him meant coming up with lots of new game concepts. “I would go out and draw,” he says. “And while I was drawing, I came up with ideas.” He came back with a 40-page book that would eventually turn into his return to the horror of survival genre: a game called Callisto Protocol.
The game – developed by Striking Distance Studios, a new team under the umbrella of PUBG the company Krafton – was announced for the first time in 2020, and last week an awful new trailer was unveiled at Summer game party. (It was affectionately called the “Schofield clip.”) Schofield says he’s been looking to get back to horror for a while, and his desire grew stronger as he worked on the zombie mode for Call of Duty.
“I just wanted to tell a different story,” he says. “I think of it much like Ridley Scott; he did Alien and then came back to do Prometheus. It’s something you like to do. I do not see many movies that are sci-fi horror because they are so expensive to make. And that’s probably my favorite genre. So I thought, ‘Let’s see if we can get it back.’
Callisto Protocol takes place in the year 2320 in a prison colony housed on one of Jupiter’s moons, where players must escape just as the other prisoners are transformed into strange alien monsters. (The setting was originally intended to be a remote part of PUBG universe, even if that is no longer the case. “The story went in a different direction,” Schofield says of the change. comparisons with Dead space. And that’s something Schofield has agreed on during the game.
“In the beginning I would say, ‘Oh no, it is.’ Dead space‘”he explains.” But after a while I think: I do not want a HUD, so it’s the copy Dead space? I want him to step on – is it to copy Dead space? Perhaps. But it’s also my DNA. I did not just want to cut everything. So I became a little more open to the idea the further we got into the development. ”
The big difference this time, he says, is the technology, even if it has not changed all. “We’re already 3D, so it’s not going to change the game all of a sudden,” says Schofield. Instead, the current state of consoles and computers means that his team can create a more credible world – something that is especially important for horror. It includes having more believable alien monsters, more immersive sound design and being able to cast much more visual effects on the screen. But one of the most important things is how much more detail they can add to the world.
“Realism helps the science fiction side, which many times people do not believe in,” says Schofield. “But nowadays you can put rust on it or get water dripping out of things, and the player is like, ‘I have no idea what that thing is, but man, does it look real.’ It founds science fiction. “
One of the challenges, though, is making sure the game is scary enough. As a self-confessed horror fan, Schofield is much more insensitive than the average person. (The same goes for many other members of Callisto Protocol “There are times when we do not know if it’s scary or not,” he says. It does not help that Schofield sees the game’s scenarios through several phases, from white box prototypes to fully developed interactive game. It can take a little of the power out of them. Hitting the right level of scaring thus means a lot of tests and adjustments based on player feedback.
Inspiration comes at the same time from many sources, including film. “I see a lot of horror,” says Schofield. “And a lot of it does not affect me. But, there are some who really got me … and I’m like, ‘Wow, man.’ If they affect me, you know they’ll affect players.” (At one point during our conversation, Schofield mentions having lunch with horror director Eli Roth, where the two discussed the sound effects involved in cutting an eyeball’s optic nerve with scissors in the first Hostel But apart from drawing from films, Schofield states, “much of it comes from the imagination of our creative director, Chris Stone. I sometimes say to him: ‘I need two more [deaths]’or so I say,’ I want to take my head off ‘. “
One thing they do not test for, however, is whether a killing or intimidation goes too far in the other direction. “The scarier, the better,” he explains. “I do not know what’s scary.”
Callisto Protocol will be launched on December 2, and it comes at a time when there seems to be a return of sci-fi horror games. There is Fort Solis, the return of Routine, a new Aliens expansionand also a remaster of the original Dead space. Schofield understands that there will be plenty of comparisons, but he also seems convinced that his latest horror venture will stand on its own. “You can go in as’ Hey, this is Dead Space 4“he says,” but I think when you come out you will say ‘No, that is Callisto Protocol. ‘”
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