Callisto Protocol developers set permissions

The announcement of the Callisto Protocol last month should be an unequivocal victory for Striking Distance Studios, the end of a story that began with the creation of the studio in 2019.

But it was a very dangerous situation for many who worked on the game, because the release of the Callisto Protocol also marked their first look at its incomplete scores.

GamesIndustry.biz has spoken with five former Striking Distance Studios developers who were denied the game’s awards, and say they have a lot of company. The combined information estimates that about 20 people in various departments did not receive the game’s awards.

A representative for Striking Distance did not return a request for comment.

“It definitely hurt,” said one source. “It doesn’t work. I made a lot of contributions and worked on it for (a long time). To not be there is a shame.”

“My contribution is very good… Not being there is very bad”

While it is not unusual for developers to leave a project before being released from approval, our sources confirm that no specific policy has been disclosed to employees, and that None of the people we talk to think about the Callisto Protocol’s. usually not done.

One describes them as a “big surprise,” leaving some senior developers, leaders, and editors who have made significant contributions, including people who have worked at Striking Distance for more than a year. , or had a history of working with Striking Distance CEO Glen Schofield in his first room. , Sledgehammer Games. Another described some of those who left behind the bequests as “the real principals who built the house.”

“I understand if the contractor does a small job for a few months and is no longer there, but we are talking about full-time workers who have been employed by the name for more than a year, and there were five in important part of the product.” said one developer. “That’s where most of us were surprised.”


It is not clear why some former employees received credit while many others did not.

Our sources also pointed to inconsistencies in how Striking Distance allocated credit. Some of the former employees were classified as “additional” assistants in their departments, some were classified as “Miscellaneous” at the end of the year. almost 20-minute credits rolland others were left out altogether.

“Obviously there was a lot of interest in the game and the people who confirmed it,” said one source. “I think they’re very selective of people they like or have some kind of relationship with, and those get credit and others don’t.”

(Of the International Game Developers Association credit rating call for credits for any team member who has worked for the company for less than 30 days, including contracts, and to withhold the names of employees who leave before promotion.)

For many of our sources, failure to do so added insult to injury. Last year while completing the development of the game, Schofield very critical for posting on social media about his pride in the team working 12-15 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, despite fatigue and even with COVID.

Schofield later deleted that post, saying the company values ​​”commitment and creativity, not long hours.” Regardless, many of us talk and say that long hours are part of the job.

“It’s a very strong culture of delivering and putting in those tough hours, which is good,” one developer said of working at Striking Distance. “The sport can be strong, especially when giving a product of this size, you don’t always achieve the best balance of work and life. It helps in the production of this product , was punished with credit for not going the extra mile … to stay until it was shipped.”

Most of the people we talked to (but not all) said they stuck with the game as management pushed to go beyond AAA and create what they called “Quad A ” games. Someone told us that it is very bad because the team was staffed very quickly during the pandemic, when the number of the team doubled in three months in a process that required constant meetings always to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Designers I know worked 10 hour days just in meetings. Then they have to be competitive just to do the work they have to do

“The designers I know were working 10 hours a day just in meetings,” said one source. “Then they have to be motivated to just do the job that they have to do.”

The management of Striking Distance has declared itself to have a “people first” mentality, but even when management acknowledges the difficulty and promises to solve it, it may come down to the same meeting. they praised the people for many hours.

“There’s always been this problem, where on the surface they say one thing, then almost always later say something that contradicts that,” said a one developer.

The other one agrees, saying that the administration was quick to pay lip service to personal care, but did little to provide accommodation.

“They don’t give you a few jobs,” they said. “It’s the same amount of work that needs to be done, but do you want to spend as much time as you need to?”


Callisto Protocol screenshot showing the book of blood on the reading wall
Earlier developers said that Striking Distance’s human-first promises didn’t match its performance.

Some have expressed additional concerns about the culture inside the hospital and how people are greeted outside the door.

“Whenever someone leaves the room, there is no indication of that person’s departure,” said one. “It’s the only company I’ve ever worked for where you find out a week to a month later that someone on the team has left.”

Another said that the standard of resignation emails in other classrooms was completely absent.

“You never saw those emails,” the developer said. “There were no emails like that. People just went away. ‘Oh, what happened to so-and-so?’ ‘He’s gone.'”

One of the sources said there will be more changes at the school in the fourth quarter of 2021 and that management is worried that hearing about the departure will damage morale. Another simply describes the circle of power as “retaliation.”

“Someone wanted to send a message, and the message is, ‘Next time be more honest with us'”

“I think Sledgehammer likes honesty,” another source said. “And they can be punished if they know nothing … (The use of information) was like a clear FU to those who left. honest with us.'”

However, many of the people we spoke to who didn’t get the grades were surprised by it, and didn’t expect anything less based on their experiences in the classroom.

“I honestly had a great time working there, and I felt like I had a great relationship with everyone on the team, down to the C-staff and Glen,” the said one source. “I don’t have anything bad to say about Glen… The only time there was some controversy out there, and I think the devs who left were punished for not doing credit.”

Another echoed the sentiment, saying, “I haven’t had a bad time at Striking Distance, I really like my job, I like the company, I like the people we work with, and I love the game, I don’t know. if there was no pain, but it was a smooth transition as possible.

When asked if the awarding of awards would prevent them from recommending Striking Distance as an employer to their peers in the industry, one of our sources refrained from judging, but added, “I I want to have a conversation about it.”

Sign up for GI Daily here to get the best news straight to your inbox

Leave a Comment