‘Dead Space’ vidgame creator inspired by Hollywood

Movies sparked moments in 'Modern Warfare 3,' he tells D.I.C.E. audience

When Glen Schofield looks for inspiration, he often turns to Hollywood, the co-founder and general manager of Sledgehammer Games told an audience in a Wednesday talk at this year’s D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas.

Schofield, whose studio co-developed “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and created the “Dead Space” franchise, discussed the art of inspiration — which, he noted, can come from a variety of sources, ranging from ear-piercing sounds on the subway to vacation pictures.

But in many cases, he said, the film industry deserves the credit. When creating “Dead Space,” an action horror series published by Electronic Arts, he and his team started by watching movies — more than 400. First up were the obvious horror and science fiction studio releases, but then he delved into indie horror pics, ultimately watching obscure movies like “Cannibal Holocaust” and “Martyrs.”

From there, he said, conversations with directors James Wan and Wes Craven served as inspiration.

“I think (this research mode) is a competitive advantage,” he said. “I’m hoping if I go against anyone else in this same type of game (genre), I’m going to go deeper than you.”

During his address, Schofield also showed homages in his videogames to iconic moments in big Hollywood films, playing scenes side by side. For instance, a scene introducing a submarine at the start of “Modern Warfare 3” was a virtual frame-by-frame reproduction of the opening of “Star Wars.” Another scene later in the game was very similar to a scene in Ridley Scott’s “Black Hawk Down.”

“It’s really just trying to take some different ideas and mold them into your own,” he said. “You mine for stuff and look for things people have done really well.”

Of course, Schofield noted, inspiration isn’t limited to movies. Books, toys and aspects of day-to-day life can also spark ideas.

In fact, he noted, the sound of the BART public transportation system trains going under San Francisco Bay was used as a horror sound effect in “Dead Space.”