“Real-life” horror and gore inspires The Callisto Protocol

Striking Distance chief creative officer Chris Stone speaks to us about upcoming space horror game The Callisto Protocol’s movie and real-world inspirations

The Callisto Protocol inspired by real-life horror and gore - a two-faced humanoid monster

Fans of horror games – us included – are eagerly eyeing up The Callisto Protocol’s December release date, so we spoke with the team at Striking Distance Studios about the upcoming space game’s influences and inspirations, and what goes into designing such terrifying experiences. The team states that it would love The Callisto Protocol to be the start of a franchise, and such ambitions start at the drawing table.

PCGamesN spoke with Chris Stone, chief creative officer at Striking Distance Studios and formerly animation director on Dead Space, about where the team are looking most closely for inspiration. Stone names genre-defining horror game series Silent Hill and Resident Evil as “obvious influences,” but says that Striking Distance Studios also takes “a lot of inspiration from movies like The Thing and Event Horizon.” Stone quotes French and Korean cinema as prominent influences, saying that both are “really stepping up their game in the horror genre.”

In addition, Stone says, “we’ve found ourselves looking at a lot of real-life examples of horror and gore. While these were a lot less fun to research, it was some of the most memorable and valuable content when it came to creating realistic visuals and experiences.” This has been a controversial subject in the past, with some people questioning the long-term effects on developers of studying real-world gore for games such as Mortal Kombat 11.

Of course, there’s one inspiration in particular that everyone will draw comparison to, given the involvement of Stone, the game’s creator Glen Schofield, chief development officer Steve Papoutsis, along with Striking Distance’s art director, lighting director, audio director, and design director – all of whom worked on Dead Space.

“Naturally our creative fingerprints are all over The Callisto Protocol,” says Stone. “All those ideas we had years ago on Dead Space that we couldn’t do because the hardware couldn’t keep up, now we can do them and it’s amazing.” EA’s own Dead Space remake is set to release in January, but Stone says the team at Striking Distance Studios isn’t worrying about that. “I’ve shipped nearly 30 titles in my career, and we’ve always had competition. We just put ourselves in the shoes of the gamer and make the best game we can.”

Keep your eyes on PCGamesN for more on The Callisto Protocol, including the full interview with Chris Stone talking about the game’s development, very soon. Our personal highlight so far is probably the gravity gun shown at Summer Game Fest, but we’re eager to find out more about what lies in wait for us.