The Callisto Protocol Was Inspired By SpongeBob SquarePants

The Callisto Protocol Was Inspired By SpongeBob SquarePants
Images via Nickelodeon | Striking Distance Studios

Written by 

Tom Chapman


30th Nov 2022 17:32

We're just days out from the release of Striking Distance Studios' The Callisto Protocol, and unsurprisingly, there's a lot of talk about this spiritual successor to Dead Space

Survival horror games are everywhere these days, and in 2022, you can pick between everything from The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me to Choo-Choo Charles. Still, it's The Callisto Protocol arguably making the most noise.

The inclusion of Dead Space's Glen Schofield means there are some obvious parallels with Visceral Games' horror series, however, you might be shocked to learn it was also inspired by SpongeBob SquarePants.

How Is The Callisto Protocol Inspired By SpongeBob SquarePants?

The Callisto Protocol
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Striking Distance Studios

It might seem baffling to try and connect the dots between Schofield's outer space horror and Nickelodeon's family-friendly cartoon, but apparently, the latter was a source of inspiration. 

Speaking to GLFH, Character Director Glauco Longhi explained how the Black Iron Prison connects to Bikini Bottom because it's inspired by cartoons "like Spongebob." 

Expanding on how Squidward and co. can be found in The Callisto Protocol, Longhi added: "We look at cartoons on the stylisation and movement because, although it's super real and immersive, we stylised a lot of things to make them more appealing.

"So some of the movements, and in the case of the gore, the blood, and how we remove the limbs, there's a push of style to emphasise some of these actions." In particular, the team wanted to portray the "strong silhouettes" stylised in cartoons.

"Cartoons do that very well. Disney, Pixar, or whatever – they give you the message right away. If there's a fast character, you get it right away [from the] strong silhouettes."

The Callisto Protocol Will Be Bloodier Than Dead Space

Promoting this visceral horror, Longhi concluded, "That system was built in a way that gives animators the freedom to dismember the limbs and give designers the ability to dismember the limbs, it gave environment artists the ability to dismember characters."

"So for example, you might face areas where you have these environmental hazards, and you could step on them, and you die. 

"We can add things very easily now. So it's basically if you have an idea – yes, we can do it. There are no limitations anymore."

We know The Callisto Protocol will lean into its new-gen potential by being bloodier than anything you can imagine. Apparently, everyone in the game acts like a "squishy bag of meat," while bullet holes will "gape" with successive shots.

Even though the likes of Event Horizon and Alien have been the main sources of inspiration, it's bizarre to think SpongeBob SquarePants also lent a hand. Still, it's a bit sad we can't expect a boss battle against some nightmarish space squid

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