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The Callisto Protocol marks Glen Schofield's return to survival horror, but it's so much more than just a next-gen Dead Space [GamesRadar interview]

Astorian

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"We're helping PUBG Corp right now as a team of writers, working on the lore for PUBG and its universe," he explains. "They have a timeline, and we fit on that timeline now. It's not going to be really deep, but there will be little connections here and there. We'll probably be referencing one another from time to time… It will make more sense once the game comes out!"

"Mystery is part of the importance of a game like this," says Schofield. "What's around the next corner? What's behind that door? I think it was a good mix of showing enough, and then keeping some things like our mechanics and our characters and our story – a lot of the story – still hidden away so that we can tell a little bit more as the game develops, you know? We've got to leave some stuff up to the audience to figure out."


Of course, given that The Callisto Protocol is set on a moon that mankind has never set foot on, Striking Distance has a fair amount of creative leeway when it comes to depicting its icy milieu, though that's not to say it hasn't done its research. In fact, talk to Schofield about Callisto, and he starts to sound less like a studio head and more like a professional astronomer.

"It's covered in ice, but it does have what they believe is an ocean below that ice," he tells me, "so obviously there's water there. They do believe that one day man could colonise it, but the atmosphere is 200 degrees below zero in Fahrenheit, so it's pretty darn cold!"

Striking Distance has pitched The Callisto Protocol as a next-generation take on survival horror, which is no small claim. Granted, Dead Space proved it was still possible to make a commercially successful new IP within the genre that didn't just blithely follow convention, but that was over a decade ago. We've had hundreds of survival horror titles follow in its wake, many good and many not-so-good, but it begs the question; are players still capable of being truly terrified? Schofield is confident that The Callisto Protocol can do it.

"I'll admit, it's a challenge, but it's always been a challenge, right? On Dead Space, it was a challenge. And so I think we can still scare people, that's for sure. We already know because we have people testing it, and playing it, and going, 'Man, you've got me. You've got me on that one!'"

As for how The Callisto Protocol will utilise the next-gen technology of the PS5 and Xbox Series X respectively, Schofield points to sight and sound specifically as two areas that could elevate survival horror to new heights.

"You can put everything that's in my room here into a room in a video game now. I mean, pencils and paper and every little detail you could possibly think of. And we're trying to do that. We're trying to get every kind of nuance in there. And then you've got the 3D sound. Audio, in general, is integral to creating a survival horror game, so the idea that you can now hear something, and it sounds like it's behind your back, or it's just above you… it's insane."

 

Arachnid

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There's the red band trailer for anyone who hasn't seen it. It's a lot more gruesome than the original trailer.

I'll wait and see gameplay before calling it the second coming of Dead Space.
I have high hopes for it. The creators of Dead Space with their new studio they staffed with a bunch of ex-Visceral devs? Assuming the publishers don't mess with their dev process with "creative input" or limits, this should be something special.
 

SinDelta

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One of my most anticipated games of the new generation. Dead Space 1 and 2 are some of the best games I've ever played, the Alien and Aliens of videogames (excluding Silent Isolation.)
 
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BPX

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When your last name is Schofield you have to make a prison break game
 
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ZehDon

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Happy to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. I've gone back to Dead Space and Dead Space 2 more than once; some of the best atmosphere in gaming. Glad to hear they're still trying to do something original, too, and not just "Totally Not Dead Space". Can't wait to see how it comes together.
 
S

SLoWMoTIoN

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I enjoyed Dead Space so I'm hoping this doesn't suck like Outer Worlds did. (Cause I enjoyed NV and Obsidian...yes)
Set in the same timeline as PUBG... huh. That's odd.
Wut
 

RJMacready73

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Deadspace was something else, one of those games that defines a genre and scared the absolute shite outa me playing it, that trailer looks insane from a purely cgi view but man... its the 3D sound that i think will make the difference in this game, there is something truly unnerving to playing a horror game and you can hear something breathing behind you
 
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TLZ

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If this is anything like Dead Space I'm in. That game was so good I what myself a few times. The atmosphere was great. The enemies. The weapons.
 

King_Mandu

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Ars Technica long interview w/Glen

20 min. version

Cool video interviews about the development of Dead Space with Mr. Schofield. I always liked this dude from interviews way back and Dead Space was such a phenomenal game. I was kind of bummed he left Visceral not too long after and worked on CoD for a long time. Here's to hoping he can recapture that old magic and inject it with something new.
 
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