Striking Distance Studios, the developer responsible the third-person survival horror game The Callisto Protocol, has reportedly laid off nearly three dozen staff. The news comes from various posts on LinkedIn, as brought to light by IGN, who confirmed the news with parent holding company Krafton.
The statement from Krafton cites ‘strategic changes that realign the studio’s priorities to better position its current and future projects for success’ as the reason for the layoffs. The company also makes mention of outplacement services and ‘meaningful’ severance packages for its affected staff.
Striking Distance is led by Glen Schofield, formerly of EA’s Visceral Games, and the co-founder of Sledgehammer Games, owned by Activision Blizzard. Most widely regarded for creating the well-regarded survival horror game series Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol was a project seemingly designed as a spiritual successor to his work on Dead Space.
Unfortunately, The Callisto Protocol was released to a largely mixed critical reception, with criticisms levied at its lack of new ideas. In the GamesHub review of The Callisto Protocol, critic Nicholas Kennedy said ‘Every opportunity the game gets to subvert expectations or do something new is instead a moment of deferral to one of Callisto’s many inspirations.’ The game’s launch on PC also ran into several technical issues.
A year after launching, the game had reportedly sold 2 million copies, short of its initial target of 5 million.
The title was subject to a few small controversies.
Schofield came under fire for working conditions at the studio when he Tweeted some remarks that were in praise of staff that worked long hours while exhausted and tired, crunching to meet deadlines. He later issued an apology for this statement, though sources told GamesIndustry.biz that the culture would continue.
Prior to release, the game was refused classification in Japan due to its depiction of violence, restricting it from sale in the region.
Following the game’s release, the studio was accused of leaving as many as 20 former developers off the credits of The Callisto Protocol.
To top things off, an EA-published remake of Dead Space was released the month following The Callisto Protocol, which attracted a more positive reception.
Striking Distance released the final piece of post-launch downloadable content for the game in June 2023, which concludes the game’s narrative arc.
Our thoughts and well-wishes go out to the former Striking Distance staff affected by the layoffs.