Callisto Protocol Director explains how Spongebob provided inspiration

Coming very soon, CALLISTO Protocol is the spiritual successor to the Dead Space series created by some of the same developers.

This isn’t the Dead Space reboot fans have been eagerly waiting for launching next year, this follows the same formula and does something modern.

Callisto really brings the blood.


Callisto really brings the blood.Credit: Striking Distance

We spoke to character director Glauco Longhi, who is probably better known for his work on horror film sets than games.

That’s not to say he didn’t work on some big hitters, you’ll find his name in the Uncharted 4 and God of War Ragnarök credits, but it was the bruise that got Longhi working on Callisto Protocol.

Set in a prison colony on the moon of Jupiter, The Callisto Protocol feels like the evolution of the series director Glen Schofield is best known for.

The alien menaces in Callisto don’t need to be dismembered like Dead Space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

While your method of murder is shooting, that doesn’t mean the creatures won’t fall apart.

Longhi says, “The way we designed these creatures was mainly based on different needs.

“For example, we might need a character that walks on walls.

“So we need to come up with a cool design that allows the creature to climb the walls and run faster.

“However, some creatures came from an artistic perspective, like, ‘Hey, let’s just make something that looks very crazy.’ And then we bring that into play and find a way to make it work.”

Inspirations included the usual suspects like sci-fi horror films Event Horizon and Alien, but there was another unlikely source as well.

He explains: “Even some cartoons like Spongebob. We look at cartoons in terms of stylization and movement because while it’s super real and immersive, we’ve stylized a lot of things to make it more engaging.

“Some of the moves, and in the case of the blood, the blood and how we remove the limbs, there’s a style push to highlight some of those actions.

“Animated films do that very well. Disney, Pixar or whatever – they get the message across to you right away. If there’s a quick sign, you’ll get it right away [from the] strong silhouettes.”

Video games, movies, and artwork were the main reference points in trying to figure out how to sell what happens when you crack an alien’s limbs with a steel pipe.

The goal of this research was to make your actions feel important rather than doing something gross.

He explains, “We want the player to be able to hit the enemy and have the right reaction to those hits.

“And at the same time, we want the player to feel that if the enemy hits you, the same thing will happen to them.

“So it’s more like enhancing real life in a way. It’s not real life because we don’t fight, but if someone hits you on the head, we expect you to feel the same kind of reaction.

“Maybe he can rip your head off too. Maybe he can tear your arms off like you can tear off the enemy.”

Everything and everyone in Callisto acts like a soggy bag of meat, including you.

Keep your hands to yourself, things can tear you apart in an instant.

He continues, “This system was built so that it gave animators the freedom to dismember the limbs, and it gave designers the freedom to dismember the limbs, it gave environmental artists the ability to dismember characters.

“For example, you could be presented with areas where you have these environmental hazards and you could step on them and die.

“We can now easily add things. So if you have an idea – yes, we can implement it. There are no more restrictions.”

Consecutive shots in the same spot will cause the bullet holes to grow and gape.

This effect isn’t just for show, many enemies react differently depending on where you hit them.

The blood splatters are also more realistic. He says, “When you shoot at an enemy, you would expect that blood to hit walls, you expect that blood to hit other enemies.”

It does what liquid does, hitting your face mask when you’re up close, smearing onto the floor when boots scrape the floor, and dripping off ceilings and edges.

When you’re pushing an enemy into an ambient hazard, you’ll find them sprayed over the walls.

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Longhi explains, “It’s very directed. Whatever is happening on screen, we wanted to get an appropriate visual response to it.”

The Callisto Protocol will be released on December 2nd for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

Written by Kirk McKeand and Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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