In an interview ahead of the release of The Callisto Protocol, Glen Schofield makes his views on future projects crystal clear and vows that there will be no more mandatory overtime.
As the marketing for The Callisto Protocol picks up, the CEO of developer Striking Distance Studios and director of the upcoming horror title has given a strong indication that he wants a sequel. Excitement has been building since the game was announced. Fans of Dead Space are eager to see what the creators behind the epoch-making sci-fi/horror have in store for them.
The Callisto Protocol is the first project from Striking Distance Studios, which was once curiously intended to be part of the Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds universe.
It was always intended to be a loose tie-in with scattered references. But something changed during development. Glen Schofield confirmed in a tweet in May that The Callisto Protocol is “its own world, story and universe”. Five months on from that clarification, The Callisto Protocol has gone gold, and the Black Iron dungeon awaits players as they travel to Callisto, the moon of Saturn.
In an interview with Inverse, Schofield couldn’t have been clearer when asked what success would mean for the new IP, admitting that “I want to make a sequel”. He assured us that while The Callisto Protocol is a fully finished game, there are several “cool ideas, [that] we want to do next.” Schofield has just given his opinion on what good horror is. He identified sound design as a crucial element. Explaining that “the player should feel like every little sound is about to come through the walls.”
The Callisto Protocol game director promises no more mandatory overtime
In early September, while The Callisto Protocol was giving players their first glimpse of the gory and horror that awaits them in the full release, Glen Schofield got into some controversy on social media. Schofield, the studio head, commented that the Striking Distance team has been working hard. They work six to seven days a week. Twelve to fifteen hour days. They’re exhausted, but they’re doing it because the team loves it. Users on social media were quick to point out that the post glorified “crunch culture”. They found Schofield’s comments distasteful. He is the head of the studio, who has a hand in everything from salaries to promotions. Although Schofield apologised for his post in September, the studio chief is preparing a more formal apology today, with some clarification.
In an interview with Inverse, Schofield says that Striking Distance has been very good at maintaining a healthy work-life balance during development as a smaller studio.
Towards the end of development, however, Schofield “messed up,” and the team was in crisis mode. His comments on social media were intended to make his team proud for having weathered the worst of The Callisto Protocol’s crisis. But the posts were not meant to glorify overtime. Still, Schofield believes the social media backlash was instructive. As for future projects, Schofield is optimistic. Reportedly, there will be no mandatory overtime in the next game or any future project. As he puts it, “This one was on me.”
The crisis in game development is an ongoing theme in the industry as big-budget games get bigger and deadlines get tighter.
Fortunately, Striking Distance is over the worst. The game is set for release in December. Time will tell if Schofield’s statement today is true. No one necessarily plans for overtime, as it is primarily due to circumstances. Certain milestones need to be met in time for release so that this situation could arise again. What precautions Striking Distance will take and what the next game’s development will look like is up to the studio to figure out.