You know you are in dialog with somebody who’s severe in regards to the nasty finish of the horror spectrum once they namedrop Martyrs. Last week, halfway by way of a name with Glen Schofield, he talked about the 2008 French New Extreme movie as one of many inspirations for the The Callisto Protocol. In phrases of subject material, they don’t seem to be an apparent match. As just about everybody has famous, the grim sci-fi of The Callisto Protocol is a religious successor to Dead Space, whereas Martyrs is a recent suburban nightmare during which [spoilers] excessive torture is inflicted by a shadowy cabal attempting to sneak a preview of the afterlife. But Schofield instructed us he was haunted for weeks by Martyrs, and its unflinchingly grotesque results have fed into the obsession with physique horror that may be discovered all through The Callisto Protocol.

The Callisto Protocol was one of many stand-out video games showcased at this yr’s E3-ish sequence of livestreams, and in a wierd coincidence, it is going to be competing with the remake of its predecessor. We spoke about how Schofield and Striking Distance Studios intend to maneuver survival horror ahead given direct competitors from its well-loved predecessors.

PC Gamer: Let’s dive straight in: inform me a little bit bit about why the jail setting in The Callisto Protocol lends itself so properly to horror.

Glen Schofield: To most individuals jail is horrifying already. So you are beginning with a spot that individuals do not wish to go to. You solely hear horror tales about it. We’ve set it on a moon, that is already scary. The thought is like, this is likely one of the worst, if not the worst jail within the galaxy. It simply felt like an incredible setting, right from the beginning. That’s where I wished it.

In phrases of making stunning moments and constructing environment usually, what has the facility of the PC and subsequent gen consoles enabled? What are you doing that wasn’t potential with Dead Space?

This Grav Gun can choose up the enemies and fling them into large followers, into spikes on the partitions, and we have lathes and large machines and issues which actually get brutal

It’s not like swiftly “Wow, we got all this new gameplay stuff.” It’s extra energy and we are able to do issues like ray tracing where we’re capable of actually make issues practical, which I feel is vital for a horror game—the extra you’ll be able to really feel like ‘I’m there. I’m an actual individual. Everything I’m seeing is actual.’ Headphones are the best way to go together with this one. We’re doing stuff within the background [that makes you go] ‘where was that?’

The extra you get the participant to show their head a little bit bit and take their consideration off one thing, the higher. It permits us to do extra cool particular results that not solely maintain it grounded, however make it really feel extra practical as properly. So it is lots in regards to the energy. There’s stuff that I want we might have finished in Dead Space. We’re actually being attentive to particulars.

The plasma cutter was such an iconic a part of the Dead Space video games. Is there something comparatively modern when it comes to the fight in Callisto?

It’s a unique sort of fight on this game, whereas in Dead Space, individuals simply use the plasma cutter. They might use the road gun right here and there and stuff like that, however it’s largely simply the plasma cutter. With this game, you are going to have to make use of all the pieces that we provide you with, particularly melee. The melee is essential—it is in your face, it is brutal. Some enemies you are simply going to should take care of that means, then you have to improve your weapons for others. Not that you simply’re gonna get an entire heck of a variety of ammo, however there are some enemies you do not wish to be up shut and private with.

Then now we have this GRP system that we’re speaking about, which is a Grav Gun, however this Grav Gun can choose up the enemies and fling them into large followers, into spikes on the partitions, and we have lathes and large machines and issues which actually get brutal. On prime of that, you’ll be able to choose up issues on this planet, lower off their legs, lower off their arms—we have a gore system that goes a lot deeper than we did in Dead Space. You can chop off half the top they usually’re nonetheless coming at you. You can lower off each arms they usually’re nonetheless gonna chunk you. You can lower off each legs. They’re nonetheless coming at you, man.

This core system took us two and a half years. It’s fairly deep and fairly brutal. Callisto Protocol makes you say: “I better use everything, I better learn all the tools that I’m given, because I’m gonna need them.”

Josh Duhamel stars as a prisoner, Jacob Lee, and watching the latest trailer, it jogs my memory of Norman Reedus in Death Stranding. It actually feels just like the actor is actually up there on display screen with these performances. Does the advance in high quality have an effect on how you consider casting as a developer? Do it’s a must to contemplate much more than “is this the right voice?”

Well, you need a good actor, and Josh was one of many stars for Call of Duty World War Two. We obtained to know Josh fairly properly engaged on that. He has way more vary than individuals suppose, and we simply liked working with him, liked how he obtained immersed within the character. I feel you will notice previous ‘it is Josh,’ and see him extra as Jacob as an alternative. It was vital that we obtained good appearing, as a result of there’s a variety of appearing within the game, the story is actually vital. I’ve used every kind of actors: B-listers and A-listers and even some C-listers who’re truly actually good at it.

This wasn’t about utilizing Josh for publicity. This was about utilizing Josh as actor.

The enemies in the latest trailer felt like one thing between John Carpenter’s The Thing and the fungus individuals in The Last of Us. How do you go about creating really scary opponents in a survival horror game—I’m notably fascinated by the truth that it’s a must to make a variety of rank and file enemies, but in addition, you need to have the ability to scale as much as extra substantial boss-tier opponents as properly.

Absolutely, you begin off with grunts, your first line of enemies, and we make six totally different variations of them. By the time you’re where we at the moment are, we have gotten rid of 4 of them, we have added new ones and we have modified them.

Since we made large ones, small ones, all the pieces in-between, we’re now capable of go ‘Alright, this one’s slower, this one’s sooner, this one’s a bullet sponge.’ Even the grunts, the fodder are onerous [to fight], however they’re additionally totally different. We maintain a few of them till later, after all, however we’re even including two new ones now. It’s fairly late however we’re dropping them in as a result of these are even cooler. You simply get higher after two and a half years.

Is it truthful to say that as you progress by way of the story that the enemies you face get weirder?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they get weirder, they’ve extra varieties of mechanics to them, or it’s a must to perceive them higher. We’ve obtained a pair you do not wish to melee you—it is advisable to keep far-off. You’re gonna be performing some working right here and there. I really like while you’ve obtained enemies it is advisable to flee from. You can kill them, however it’s gonna take a while, some technique, you are gonna die a little bit bit, and you then’re most likely going to consider it earlier than you return in.

This positively looks as if a thematic throughline between Deadspace and The Callisto Protocol when it comes to physique horror. Why do you discover that attention-grabbing as a subject? And why is our area such setting to sort of discover that factor?

I discover physique horror is only a large a part of the horror that I like. It brings out a bizarre emotion. Like, we did not simply chunk the top off, we picked the highest a part of the top off—we’re attempting to be much more gross. And with the brand new graphics and the facility of those new programs these days, you can also make that basically gross. Martyrs is a type of. It’s a French movie…

I’ve seen Martyrs. Few movies have messed me up as badly as Martyrs. It’s excellent, however it’s horrific.

Right? It affected me for like, two weeks. Same, identical, identical. [Glen describes a particularly gruesome scene in the movie involving an eyeball.] Just the sound alone of the scissors…

I had lunch with [Hostel director] Eli Roth after it. And I’m like, ‘Dude, that sound alone.’ He instructed me: “We used nine scissors, and we put them together to get that sound.”

So I began having us do stuff like that.

Mylène Jampanoï in horror film Martyrs

(Image credit score: Wild Bunch)

Speaking of eyeballs, that eyeball spike scene in Dead Space 2 actually sticks with me as properly. Are you sort of going for some large set piece sort of scares like that in Callisto as properly?

Yes, however totally different. We’ve obtained some fairly horrific deaths for Jacob. And we have a dismemberment system for him as properly. So, yeah, dying is fairly vital.

There’s been a development in horror motion pictures for the menace to be sort of this manifestation of grief or previous trauma, they name it elevated horror, that is been doing the rounds within the final 5-10 years. Is that one thing that pursuits you? Or do you are feeling like it’s kind of performed out? Does it swimsuit video games?

We do not actually take care of grief on this. It’s a jail system and you aren’t getting to know the prisoners. There’ll be a little bit little bit of that, however it’s not an vital a part of it. But there’s a part of the story on the finish—you are gonna go, oh, there’s a little little bit of that in there.

Can you discuss to me a little bit bit in regards to the PC model particularly? Is there something you are leveraging the PC platform for options clever?

Yes, however we’re simply beginning to get deeper into it now. So I actually cannot speak about it. There are issues that we’re attempting to do on the PC model that may make it a little bit bit totally different. I’m undecided how a lot totally different it would really feel. But we do have additional time as a result of we do not have to undergo manufacturing with Sony and all that.

We have a plan, and we’ll see what we are able to get to. I’m sorry, I can not get deeper into that right away. It needs to be a variety of enjoyable, although. I’m certain PC individuals are going to be fairly pleased with it.

You had been initially going to be a part of the PUBG universe, however since then, the game took on extra of a lifetime of its personal and warranted its personal area. Is that right?

When we first got here right here, they had been engaged on an incredible large story, they usually actually obtained large, nice writers, they usually’re engaged on the lore, they usually had an enormous timeline. We had been going to suit on the timeline, and it sort of felt good at the moment, right? But as we’re making the game, and we’re making the story, and we’re writing, and we’re going deeper into it, it simply felt like we wanted to get away from that. Not as a result of we did not prefer it—we love PUBG. But it felt like we’re a brand new IP. And they had been okay with it.

If you are a fan of Resident Evil 4, do you could have any explicit fond recollections of that game you’d prefer to share? Or any ideas on what you sort of hope they obtain with the remake?

That was extremely influential on Dead Space in numerous methods. Absolutely liked it. I did not really feel it was actually scary, however it was an incredible game. Some of the enemies, just like the blind one, had been actually scary. It was extra stress. But it influenced Dead Space. I mentioned, I would like my character to shoot and move, and that was an enormous deal. Everybody’s like, ‘No, it isn’t gonna work.’

I used to be like, ‘I’ll discover methods to make it work.’ And it is humorous, Dead Space was truly Game of the Year on the DICE awards, and the individuals who gave the award had been the Capcom guys who had been making Resident Evil 5. And they mentioned to me backstage: “We wish we had the character walk.”

But [RE4] was an enormous, large affect on me, little question about it. When I noticed components of the remake I could not even acknowledge a few of it. I used to be like, oh, is that the village? It seemed unbelievable. Absolutely gonna play it.

I’ll throw in a fond reminiscence I’ve of Dead Space as properly. Having the pathfinding line that took you to your subsequent goal on the ground as somebody who inevitably will get misplaced in each sort of game as a result of I’ve no spatial consciousness was certainly one of my favourite improvements ever.

Well, I’ll inform you, we’re not doing that [in Callisto]. For me, I really feel like that is one of many evolutions: If I might eliminate that and discover methods to get you thru the game with out it, that is what I wished to do. 

Now, I do not care in case you get misplaced a little bit bit, right—you have to sort of discover your means. But we’re attempting to do it with lighting, with sound, we’re doing it with signage. I really need you to make use of the game to get by way of. To me that is an evolution that I feel we have to have. But I recognize you saying that. I liked that as properly and we wanted it in Dead Space, however I feel we’re gonna be okay on this game.