Striking Distance Studios
Producing a star-studded podcast set in the fictional universe of a blockbuster video game

Striking Distance Studios spent years crafting the big-budget sci-fi horror video game The Callisto Protocol. Before its release, the game developer sought to build anticipation by commissioning projects in other mediums that would introduce the fictional universe that had been crafted for the game—and give people a taste of the brutal, immersive horror experience the game promised.  

The Callisto Protocol, a blockbuster sci-fi horror game developed by Striking Distance Studios, features photorealistic graphics and exquisitely disgusting creature design. GDP tackled the challenge of creating an official prequel for the game in the form of an episodic podcast.

GDP was invited to work with the developer on a six-episode scripted podcast. Our challenge was to create a compelling narrative and establish the otherworldly setting, as well as the threat posed by horrifically mutated beings, using only the medium of audio. “We brought together some of the best talents in fiction podcasting to help us create a fascinating yet terrifying world,” says Paula Chowles, GDP’s executive producer.

GDP first enlisted Willie Block and Jake Emanuel of Breaking & Entering to serve as the showrunners and directors. Block and Emanuel had previously created The Edge of Sleep, the hit audio drama that has been downloaded more than 7.5 million times and is being adapted into a TV series. 

The story that was crafted in collaboration with Striking Distance Studios is set in the year 2320, shortly before the events in the game. It focuses on a skip tracer who is hunting down a dangerous escaped criminal on a derelict space station. In the process, she must confront murderous alien life forms, as well as unspeakable horrors from her past.

GDP secured top-tier Hollywood talent to voice the roles. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Wednesday, Star Wars episodes VII and VIII) was our protagonist. She was ably supported by Michael Ironside (Scanners, Top Gun, Starship Troopers), Kevin Durand (Lost, The Strain, Legion), Sam Littlefield (The Leftovers, Blackout, Batwoman), and Leland Orser (Alien: Resurrection, Berlin Station, Ray Donovan). 

GDP worked with Striking Distance Studios, showrunners Willie Block and Jake Emanuel, and writers Tex Gresham and Gregory Thompson on a scripted series that established a far future universe, developed rich characters, and gradually ratcheted up the terror.

The immersive three-dimensional soundscape of the podcast was designed by Samuel Plattner (A Wounded Fawn, Bad Vibes) and Pacific Standard Sound (Prey, Stranger Things), and the atmospheric score was composed by Ryland Blackinton (My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Bad Vibes). 

The Callisto Protocol: Helix Station debuted on all podcast platforms in November 2022, a month before the game’s launch. Throughout its run, it consistently remained in the top five fiction podcasts on all major platforms, and garnered buzz and acclaim from fans and media alike. It won a Webby Listener’s Choice Award and three Signal Awards. The series was also the runner-up for best brand podcast in the Brand Entertainment Awards.

The audio series was well received by fans of the game, fans of horror and science fiction, and fans of the heavyweight star talent that voiced the roles.