Set on Jupiter’s dead moon Callisto in the year 2320, The Callisto Protocol casts players as Jacob Lee, an inmate in Black Iron Prison. When a mysterious outbreak throws the moon in chaos, Jacob must face his darkest fears to defeat the bloodthristy creatures that stalk him as he unravels the dark mysteries at the heart of the power United Jupiter Company.
When I joined Striking Distance in June of 2022, I was brought on with only 6 months until the targeted release date. That meant I had to quickly learn the game and the various systems that had been built. Within a couple weeks, I had already begun fixing bugs across the the game’s eight total chapters. This initially included fixing various collision issues, item pickup placement, and adjusting the enemy variations and tuning. However it wasn’t long before I was fixing bugs using Unreal Engine’s Blueprint Scripting, setting up scares, and collaborating with several departments to bring the game to its best possible state. Additionally, with the help of UI and engineering, I also helped implement the High Contrast accessibility feature throughout the entire game.
Here are just some of the levels I helped work on:
The Callisto Protocol’s Riot Mode was the third DLC that released as a post launch content update. It featured an endless combat experience with never before seen enemy combinations and a new map for players to explore.
This was the first level I had hands on experience with from the beginning. I participated in the creation of the whitebox level as well as prototyped early concept for moving hazards.
Using my experience from the base game I was able to quickly implement existing systems into the level such as our robust vent network allowing enemies to traverse through vents from anywhere in the map. I also helped add wall traversals, which allowed certain AI enemies to skitter and hide around literally every corner of the map. Finally, I worked closely with AI Engineers and the Systems Design team to create the Horde Encounter Network. This allowed me to create and tune over 100 hand made waves, allowing for new combinations of enemies that players did not experience in the base game.
The Callisto Protocol: Final Transmission is the fourth and final DLC for the game. It takes Jacob through entirely new areas of Black Iron Prison, showcases a brand new enemy “The Biobot”, and introduces a new melee weapon “The Kinetic Hammer”.
I worked with several other designers on this DLC, but was responsible for the design ownership of two sections in this large level. I collaborated daily with producers, environment artist, engineers, and several other departments to create new and interesting designs that would promote engaging gameplay for the player.
The Grunt Lab is an section that occurs early on in the DLC. It showcases several of our basic grunt enemies surrounded in a glass wall. However, when the player disrupts the power in the room, they lurch to life.
I really liked working in Grunt Lab because it offered an interesting variation on how our game normally handled combat. The player initially traverses the room seeing the enemies only a pane of glass away. It allows the tension to build until they finally attack. Then the player must re-traverse the room and escape to continue on in the level.
The other section I worked on was the Boss Arena. This occurs at the end of the DLC and showcases an enemy unlike anything seen before. In comparison to the Grunt Lab this section was highly iterated upon during development. Since the boss was constantly evolving, the layout and variation of the level also changed.
This section also included a massive collaboration of efforts from the team with the common goal of creating a boss that would outshine the major fights of the base game.