COLLECTED WORKS GLEN SCHOFIELD
Edge|September 2021
The artist-turned-producer reflects on 30 years with very little dead space
CHRIS SCHILLING

BARBIE: GAME GIRL

Developer Imagineering Publisher Hi-Tech Expressions Format Game Boy Release 1992

GEX 3D: ENTER THE GECKO

Developer/publisher Crystal Dynamics, Midway Games Format Game Boy Color, N64, PC, PS1 Release 1998

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING

Developer/publisher EA (Redwood Shores) Format GameCube, PC, PS2, Xbox Release 2003

JAMES BOND 007: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Developer/publisher EA (Redwood Shores) Format GameCube, PS2, Xbox Release 2005

DEAD SPACE

Developer/publisher EA (Redwood Shores) Format PC, PS3, Xbox 360 Release 2008

CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3

Developer Sledgehammer Games Publisher Activision Format PC, PS3, Xbox 360 Release 2011

CALL OF DUTY: WWII

Developer Sledgehammer Games Publisher Activision Format PC, PS4, Xbox One Release 2017

THE CALLISTO PROTOCOL

Developer Striking Distance Studios Publisher Krafton Format PC, PS5, Xbox Series Release 2022

Glen Schofield was confident when he applied for his first job in the game industry some 30 years ago. “I can do this,” he remembers telling himself. “Little did I know how hard it was!” Either way, he could hardly have imagined that, three decades later, he’d have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands: from Barbie to Bond, Disney to Call Of Duty.

By the time he left Absolute Entertainment, Schofield had contributed art to more than ten games over three years, from Barbie: Game Girl to 1994’s Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!

Having gained a degree in commercial art from Brooklyn’s prestigious Pratt Institute, he started his career as an illustrator in New York before moving to a multimedia company where he learned about computer graphics, using tools such as DPaint. When he was given a commission to illustrate covers for Game Boy games, his career path was set.

Making games was, of course, very different back then: at the time, he says, he could be involved in as many as eight releases per year. In his role as art director at Absolute Entertainment, most games were made by just two people: an artist and a programmer. “In most cases, the artist was the designer; the engineer mostly spent time implementing the game, and they would also do the music at that time. They had their hands pretty busy. So I ended up designing all the time.”

A move to California to become art director at Capcom America in 1994 proved transformative, even though he only worked on one game there, contributing art to Street Fighter: The Movie. “I was the third guy hired there. They hired the president, the vice president, and then me, the art director. And guess who had to do all the work! I was painting the walls, buying equipment and all sorts of things. But it taught me a lot about setting up a studio, which I used in my later years.”

After joining Crystal Dynamics, Schofield led his first project, directing Gex 3D: Enter The Gecko, where he worked with Evan Wells and Bruce Straley, latterly of Naughty Dog fame. Schofield directed six games there, running the studio for a while before another move to EA, where he assumed production roles on several big-name licences, from James Bond to Lord Of The Rings.

But it was with a new idea that Schofield made arguably the defining game of his career: 2008 chiller Dead Space. “My elevator pitch was: I want to make Resident Evil in space,” he grins. With its brilliant diegetic interface and grisly ‘strategic dismemberment’, it earned Schofield some of the best reviews he’d ever had.

Following a stint at Sledgehammer developing three Call Of Duty games, it’s no surprise that he’s returning to science-fiction horror with The Callisto Protocol. And despite the demands of his role as a studio head, he’s still unable to resist getting involved in art and design – hopefully without becoming too much of a backseat art director. “I don’t want to be too prescriptive, because I’ve got some great people on the team. I won’t tell them exactly what to do if I don’t like something. But I’ll tell them if it’s a little off.” As an artist, Schofield has always recognised the importance of fine details; as he reflects on his career to date, it’s clear that’s what got him where he is today.

BARBIE: GAME GIRL

Developer Imagineering Publisher Hi-Tech Expressions Format Game Boy Release 1992

There was a small company in New Jersey, I think I was like the 12th or 13th person hired at a place called Absolute Entertainment. We did a lot of the work for Acclaim – they were a powerhouse in the ’90s. So I did a lot of cartoon games, things like Swamp Thing, Bart Simpson, Ren & Stimpy, and Rocky And Bullwinkle and a lot of the other big cartoons that were around at the time. I worked on a Goofy game where I learned a lot because the quality standard for working on a Disney product is just really high. I had to train a little bit with a couple of Disney artists and get the style down. We were kind of creating a newer style for them – it wasn’t pure 2D; they wanted some shadowing and things like that in it. Man, did I learn a lot on that product!

I moved up to art director, as a bunch of my games were pretty successful. Believe it or not, my first game was called Barbie: Game Girl. They thought it would be funny if the new guy did the Barbie game, but little did they know that Barbie would outsell everything that we did that year [laughs]. I don’t take any credit for that – I give that to Barbie, the licence. But I did my studying on it. I mean, I didn’t know anything about Barbie, so I had to go out and buy some Barbie dolls, and I had to look at the clothing. I went into women’s clothing stores so that I could understand it a little bit more. So I did my research, which was a little embarrassing at times… and the guys would put a Barbie doll on my chair in the morning, and a purse, or things like that. They wanted to have a little fun with me, but I got the last laugh in the end because I became the art director.

GEX 3D: ENTER THE GECKO

Developer/publisher Crystal Dynamics, Midway Games Format GBC, N64, PC, PS1 Release 1998

I got a call one day from Crystal Dynamics to come up for an interview and I remember going up with all my drawings. Because as an art director back then, you did all the drawings and backgrounds and characters – and I had a ton of them. I went in with big pieces of paper and canvases and all sorts of things, and they hired me on the spot, as the producer. They wanted me to produce Gex, and within a couple of weeks of being there they put me in charge of the game. The guy who was in charge – who was a lawyer, believe it or not – he said, “I don’t know anything about this – you take over from here”, and he went on to run the studio and I went on to run the game. So Gex was my first 3D game. I went there and I saw that they had this beautiful engine and no art. And I’m like, ‘My god, this is perfect for me’. Because I knew how to create art and how to hire artists and get the game going. And they did have a game designer there, but I worked with the game designer to help design the game.

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