Dead Space creator leaves The Callisto Protocol studio to 'pursue new opportunities' after its sky-high ambitions fall through

Sneaky mutant in The Callisto Protocol
(Image credit: Krafton)

The Callisto Protocol, intended to be a spiritual successor to Dead Space, didn't exactly have a smooth entry into the gaming atmosphere. While helmed by the creator of the sci-fi horror classic Glen Schofield, who joined Striking Distance Studios in 2019, things didn't exactly pan out as planned.

The game received mostly negative reviews on Steam after being infected by performance issues, and while there was plenty to like—PC Gamer gave it a 79—it's completely fair to expect a game to actually function out of the box. While the reception has since improved, the scars of its shoddy release state are still there—recent reviews on Steam are "mostly positive", but its overall score remains "mixed".

This lukewarm reception led to Striking Distance Studios laying off 32 employees, not two months after the game's final DLC was released. While the business-speak chalked those layoffs up to "strategic changes", it's likely the game's massive underperformance had more to do with them. 

The Callisto Protocol had over $150 million dollars poured into its development, and it was expected to rake in 5 million sold copies in short order. That didn't pan out. The game only hit 2 million copies sold by January 2023, far from those expectations.

Schofield's resignation was confirmed by Bloomberg yesterday. A Krafton representative said he left to "pursue new opportunities". In a later statement he made to GameSpot, Schofield says the following: "Creating Striking Distance Studios has been an incredible journey and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved with The Callisto Protocol, a game close to my heart. While pursuing a new adventure is exciting, leaving [Striking Distance Studios] is bittersweet, but I know the studio is in excellent hands."

Steve Papoutsis will be taking up the baton as CEO, while Striking Distance Studios' COO and CFO will also be departing the studio. Papoutsis still has a history with the franchise as an executive producer on Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3, though it remains to be seen whether the good ship Striking Distance will be able to survive its severed limbs.

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.