Glen Schofield Departs Striking Distance Studios Amid The Callisto Protocol Fallout

Industry veteran Glen Schofield departs Striking Distance Studios, along with key executives, amid The Callisto Protocols underwhelming performance, causing a drop in KRAFTONs stock and staff layoffs.

Industry veteran Glen Schofield, renowned for founding Visceral Games and later Sledgehammer Games, has recently bid farewell to Striking Distance Studios, as reported by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier. In his statement, Schofield expressed mixed emotions about his departure, leaving the studio in the capable hands of Chief Development Officer Steve Papoutsis, who will take on the role of CEO. Schofield and Papoutsis have a rich history, collaborating on eleven games, including the iconic Dead Space series.

However, Schofield's departure is not an isolated event, as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) are also making their exits. Parent company KRAFTON maintains that these departures are voluntary, but they are undeniably tied to the disappointing reception of Striking Distance Studios' inaugural game, The Callisto Protocol.

Billed as a spiritual successor to Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol fell short of expectations. It received a lukewarm 7.2 rating from Kai Powell at Wccftech. While visually stunning and filled with intense death scenes, the game suffered from a dearth of engaging content, making the lengthy twelve-plus-hour journey through the foreboding Black Iron Prison feel like a tedious ordeal. Crafting and skill progression were minimal, with steep credit costs for upgrades, limiting players to enhancing only a couple of weapons throughout the game. Melee combat and overall combat encounters appeared scripted, failing to provide the dynamism expected in modern horror gaming.

Adding to its woes, The Callisto Protocol was plagued by severe Unreal Engine 4 shader-based stuttering issues on PC, tarnishing the player experience further. This lackluster performance led to a significant downturn in KRAFTON's stock, dropping by nearly 8.5%. Reports from early 2023 revealed that Glen Schofield and his development team had been allocated a staggering budget of over $160 million, while actual sales fell far short of the projected five million units.

In a distressing turn of events, KRAFTON announced the layoff of 32 employees from Striking Distance Studios in the previous month. Nevertheless, the studio's future plans appear to remain intact, despite these setbacks.

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