The Callisto Protocol, we interviewed Glen Schofield, from Dead Space to the moon of Jupiter

The Callisto Protocol, we interviewed Glen Schofield, from Dead Space to the moon of Jupiter

The Callisto Protocol

There were like Glen Schofield, the man who helped create games such as Gex, Soul Reaver, Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain, Knockout Kings 2003 as well as one of the founders of Sledgehammer Games with whom he gave life to several Call of Duty like Black Ops, Modern Warfare 3 and the more futuristic Advance Warfare. But it is useless to go around it: the title that most of all has characterized his long career is the sci-fi horror Dead Space that Electronic Arts produced and then destroyed within a few years.

After some time this videogame artist, artist in the true sense of the word given his training, is back with a new software house, Striking Distance Studios, and a new project. Here is our interview with Glen Schofield on The Callisto Protocol directly from the Summer Game Fest that just ended.


The Callisto Protocol The feeling we had at the beginning of the interview, while we warmed up talking about his recent Italian lunch, it slowly turned into a certainty answer after answer: Mr. Schofield today is a man professionally free to move and act as he wants, and he will be even more so if The Callisto Protocol turns out to be that success which it already promises to be. A PR also attended our chat, but contrary to what happens more and more frequently with other prominent personalities of the video game industry, it was not he who led the dance but Schofield himself who, encouraged properly, had no problems to tell us a little more than he originally intended.

Our first goal was to understand how he saw today's video games which, as we know, have become increasingly faster, more immediate and decidedly less profound from the point of view of gameplay, even if the trend seems to have taken place. reversed in recent years.| and that in a horror game it is possible to apply an infinite number of layers without ruining their essence. The first of these layers is what makes his latest game also a science fiction adventure, the second is defined by a combat system that tries to reach a depth greater than that proposed by the same Dead Space, of which The Callisto Protocol is clearly a spiritual following.

According to the author, in Dead Space the combat remained interesting thanks to the possibility of cutting the limbs of the enemies, while remaining "mono-dimensional"; in the new game there are many more ways to kill, but above all, many more ways to be killed. There will also be situations in which it will be possible to die from a single mistake, perhaps not at the beginning of the game but sooner or later some rather brutal creatures will come forward. The Callisto Protocol is going to be a tough game, it won't rain on that.

Starting over

The Callisto Protocol The next step was to ask Glen Schofield if he saw more of a problem in this new beginning. or an opportunity. If on the one hand it is actually convenient, faster, to continue with an already decided lore, from a creative point of view having to start from scratch can represent a very tempting opportunity, allowing the team to overturn what at first did not work out. duty or more simply imposed limits from the point of view of game design that had not been foreseen. Schofield confirms our impression: if this had been a new Dead Space, for him and the rest of the development team it would have been easier: the setting would have already been decided, part of the mechanics already implemented.

So even if with a bit of bitterness for not being able to continue to evolve his creature, it was much more exciting to be free to rethink the game concept by working with a new setting and new characters, also introducing a whole host of mechanics that Dead Space probably would have seemed out of place. Although clearly connected, The Callisto Protocol is a totally new game and when they can try it, users will notice it too.

A more narrative approach

The Callisto Protocol An aspect of The Callisto Protocol other than Dead Space is the way the story is told. A more cinematic approach was chosen for this new game, with several non-playable sequences, completely absent in the project created together with Electronic Arts, implemented precisely to reinforce the narrative aspect of the project. The choice was also useful for creating more structured characters than usually seen in horror movies and games, where usually a simple pretext - "a group of kids gets lost in the forest" - is enough to have everything you need to get to the credits.

This simplification may be fine for a slasher movie, but it's something Glen Schofield wants to avoid for The Callisto Protocol. Among other things, this new project was born with the idea of ​​being a sort of sci-fi extension of the PUBG universe, exactly the popular battle royale, but when we reminded him of this Schofield connection it was clear: "the idea was that. but in all honesty it never seemed like the best choice. And in fact we changed our mind quite quickly, but waited a bit too long to communicate it to the public. " The Callisto Protocol therefore has nothing to do with the game, which is in part providing the necessary funds for the development of this promising horror.

Stylistic continuity

The Callisto Protocol Dove The Callisto Protocol has chosen a more canonical path is in the management of the game over, present here in its most classic form: if you die, you restart from the checkpoint or from the most recent save. Once again, the graphical interface will not occupy portions of the screen, always free from useless trappings, but will be scattered among the indicators located on the protagonist's suit exactly as it happened in Dead Space.

For Schofield, once you introduce an innovation like this you can't go back and really it's impossible to blame him. Our interlocutor subsequently confirmed to us that from a graphic point of view The Callisto Protocol is practically complete, it will be further optimized to improve general performance but there will be no downgrades of any kind.

Graphics are one of the aspects of which Glen Schofield and the team are most proud, in this regard he wanted to emphasize several times the effort made to insert a dizzying number of details, with a particular eye on the rendering of the materials. The only point where they have so to speak saved is usually on the ceilings, but only because they will be largely dimly lit.

Glen Vs. Schofield

Glen Schofield When the weather is ours provision was quickly coming to an end, we finally named the proverbial "elephant in the room", which is the remake of the first Dead Space that Electonic Arts is working on and destined to come out a short distance from The Callisto Protocol. Glen Schifield wishes the developers well but doesn't believe the two games will have no problem sharing the interest of the public. He tells us that it's all his life that they warn him about any stylistic overlap with other titles, telling us how the same thing happens to him with all the Call of Duty he worked on and even with the first Dead Space, which for EA he remembered since too close ... Resident Evil?

No, surprisingly we are told that the source of concern was an unsuspected title for us, namely Left 4 Dead which was originally distributed by Electronic Arts. We all know how it went then, and the lesson also served to Glen Schofield who today says he is committed only to making The Callisto Protocol the best game possible.

And from what we have seen, the result seems absolutely to handy.

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