The Callisto Protocol Developers Studied ‘Real-Life’ Gore To Influence Its Horror Vibe


If you saw the painfully bloody gameplay reveal for The Callisto Protocol at this year’s Summer Games Fest, it may not come as a total surprise that developer Striking Distance Studios studied real life examples of gore while researching how to portray the nastier side of horror.

In an interview with PCGamesN, Striking Distance’s chief creative officer, Chris Stone, said “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.”

The extended gameplay trailer for The Callisto Protocol features numerous sequences of gory violence; weapons tear chunks from enemy bodies, while foes thrown through industrial fans explode into sloppy mist. I’m thankfully no expert on what bodies look like when torn apart, but I’d guess Striking Distance is in the right ballpark.

As the PCGamesN interview also notes, studios using real-life references for violence has been a source of controversy in the past. Those working on Mortal Kombat 11, for instance, worked in a studio where colleagues were watching detailed human and animal deaths as part of research. One developer was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of their exposure to such graphic material.

Not all of the research has been so grisly, though. Stone, who was animation director on the original Dead Space, also pointed to Silent Hill and Resident Evil as “obvious influences”, but also noted that the studio draws “a lot of inspiration from movies like The Thing and Event Horizon.”

The Callisto Protocol Gameplay Summer Game Fest 2022

For more, check out our own interview with Striking Distance, where we learned that The Callisto Protocol will be much more open and replayable than Dead Space ever was.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.

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