Engineering scares with Glen Schofield

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Who doesn’t love a good scary game? A lot of people, I’m sure, but I’m not talking to them. There is nothing better than reconciling wisdom with evil and barely escaping your life. The art of horror is well-known in movies and TV, but gaming is a completely different creature.

“Well, in movies and on television, the camera is locked,” said Glenn Schofield, CEO of Striking Distance Studio, in a fireside chat with Rachel Kesar of Gamesbit at the GamesBit Summit 2022. “So the director always knows where the camera is looking. They can scare the viewer because they know where it is. [the camera] Is going to happen. And they know where the fear is coming from. In a videogame, the character or, in most cases, the camera is in the player’s hand. And so you never know where they might turn the camera on. ”

Glenn Schofield is no stranger to designing scary games. Being one of the minds behind the Dead Space series, he has practiced a lot to make people uncomfortable. His new studio, Striking Distance Studio, is working on a new horror survival game called The Callisto Protocol.

So, how do you plan to be scared in a video game? If you get control from the player, it loses a lot of impact. That’s when designers turn to engineering fears.

“You have to try and scare the engineer,” Schofield continues. “It simply came to our notice then. You know 80% to 90% of your players are watching this one field. Now, I don’t mind if the players miss some of them from time to time. A game is much longer than a movie, so we’re scared. “

scares are in time

One part of fear engineering, which seems like a great job, is knowing when and how often to scare people. Every five minutes something scary happens on the dot and the player prepares for the next fear.

“Sometimes we scare you and then you’re like, well, now I have a few minutes to breathe and we’ll scare you right away,” Schofield says. “In a tough game, try to get away from the guard. Times are really different, right? Like I said, sometimes it’s a gut call. Sometimes we won’t scare you for 20 minutes. And then the second time we’ll give you two scares in a minute, because you have no idea this is going to happen. “

Glenn Schofield’s new game, The Callisto Protocol, is due out later this year. I, for one, am excited by being intimidated by professionals. For more on this topic, see the “Handcrafting Scar with Horror Engineering” talk at Gamesbeat Summit 22.

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