The Callisto Protocol is one of many science fiction horror games coming to Xbox and game director Glen Schofield recently spoke with Game Informer about the game’s origins and the motivations his studio has for it as an IP. New gameplay footage of protagonist Jacob Lee wielding a shotgun is also presented throughout the interview.
The Callisto Protocol takes a handful of gameplay cues from Dead Space, its spiritual predecessor, as well as the feel, atmosphere and mechanics. Some of the elements noticeable out of the bat from the gameplay footage are a foot stomp, kinesis, dismembering foes, Jacob Lee as a regular man and the diegetic UI, i.e. an in universe HUD. (Lee’s health indicator on his collar, ammo display on the guns, crosshairs appear when Lee points his gun.)
The game will also feature a proper melee system with the use of batons and most likely other weapons we’ve yet to discover. This was a feature that was highly requested from the Dead Space series and fans should be happy that they can defend themselves from enemies properly should they find themselves out of ammunition.
However, the game’s inspirations were drawn from a desert sabbatical. “I knew I wanted to start another studio and start another game; Try and come up with a new IP again. And so, first off, I took some time off in between Activision and here,” Schofield told Game Informer, referencing his time as founder and director of Sledgehammer Games where he oversaw the production of games like Call of Duty Black Ops.
“One of the things I did was I went down to the desert in Tucson and I went every day. I did this for a couple of weeks, my wife let me, she knew I needed some time off, just to kind of relax and reflect. And I would go out to the desert and draw, but at the same time I’m trying to think of ideas for games and I came up with a few and wrote them up and the one for this game is one that kind of rose to the top for me.”
Schofield doesn’t remember a particular drawing that clicked and brought Callisto into focus for him, but says that what he did was dozens of quick sketches. “It’s like, “Okay it grew on me” right, “Okay I want to do it on like the moon of Jupiter”, “Okay, which moon?” you know? And then I would kind of think about that and I would look that up.”Okay Callisto” and then, you know I knew I wanted to do it in a prison because what’s scarier than being in a prison right?”
Schofield also shared that at one point the idea as was called “Meteor Down” and added that things developed further when he gathered the rest of the writing team around these initial ideas and sketches. “We just kind of changed it around a little but, but it’s pretty intact, the idea.” From there it took about a year and half or more to write the rest of the story, characters as well as adapt it to levels.
When asked to elaborate further on that process, Schofield attributed that to the game’s writing team. “Let me just clarify, I think of myself more as a storyteller than as a writer. So I will do a lot of writing but at the end of the day I say to the writers, “You guys go over it, make sure it’s done right.”
From what we’ve seen so far, The Callisto Protocol holds a lot of promise for fans of science fiction survival horror, whether or not they’re Dead Space fans. We’ll find out if it lives up to those expectations when the game releases on December 2 for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S