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Everything we know about The Callisto Protocol

The Dead Space franchise was … dead … for quite some time, so rather than waiting for Electronic Arts to bring it back, a new studio decided to take the reins with a spiritual successor. The Callisto Protocol is an upcoming third-person survival-horror game from newly formed developer Striking Distance Studios. While a Dead Space remake is in the works at EA Motive, we’re still excited about The Callisto Protocol since it seems to be a healthy mixture of new and familiar, with veteran talent behind it.

But what do we know about this upcoming horror experience? Here, we’ll dive into everything including a release date, the trailer, platforms, and the story for The Callisto Protocol.

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Release date

Main character of The Callisto Protocol.

The Callisto Protocol is currently slated to launch sometime in 2022, though its exact release date is unknown. Given the rocky nature of remote game development right now, it’s possible it could get delayed. With this being Striking Distance Studios’ first game, the team will likely want as much time as possible to kick things off with a bang. If it does launch in 2022, our bet is for an October release window to coincide with Halloween.

It’s worth noting the company had a number of vacancies as of March 31, 2022, which could mean development is behind schedule. We’ll have to wait and see how things unfold over the course of 2022.

Developer

Striking Distance Studios is a newly formed team created in 2019, led by Glen Schofield who is credited as the creator of Dead Space and the founder of Sledgehammer Games. The studio is around 200 members strong, and given the experience of the team, we have high hopes for The Callisto Protocol. It will be published by Krafton, best known for its work on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

Platforms

You will be able to play The Callisto Protocol on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC when it launches in 2022. Striking Distance Studios wants to take advantage of the powerful new systems, so this game will not launch for PS4 and Xbox One. You can also safely rule out a Nintendo Switch version of this game, though it’s possible a cloud version could be in development similar to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy or Hitman 3. If Nintendo launches its long-rumored Switch Pro in 2022 or 2023, The Callisto Protocol might be available for that platform, though we wouldn’t count on it.

Trailer

There’s currently only one trailer available for The Callisto Protocol, and it’s the one that debuted at The Game Awards 2020. This reveal trailer showed off some of the game’s environments, creatures, and characters, along with its art style and tone. It didn’t give us a look at gameplay, sadly, but it did reveal the new developer Striking Distance Studios, along with its targeted release window of 2022.

In short, the trailer is absolutely horrifying and should be reminiscent of Dead Space to those who have played that series before. The alien creatures don’t get much screen time during the trailer but based on what was shown, they seem to be terrifying. Given its supposed 2022 release window, it’s likely we’ll get another, more robust trailer, this year.

Gameplay

Alien creature from The Callisto Protocol.

Striking Distance hasn’t shown gameplay for The Callisto Protocol, but we do know it’s inspired by Dead Space, meaning it’ll be a third-person survival-horror game. The developer’s goal is “To create the most terrifying game on next-gen platforms,” so this game will likely lean away from action and toward survival instead. We should expect to scrounge for supplies while being encouraged to run from enemies as opposed to mowing them down Rambo-style.

Based on the announcement trailer it doesn’t seem like the player will have much to fight back with, but this might evolve over the course of the game. Since you’re playing as a prisoner, you’ll likely have limited resources at the start of the game. In Dead Space, the main character was an engineer who used his plasma cutter as a weapon against the deadly necromorphs. In it, you were able to dismember enemies to slow them down. We’re curious to see if The Callisto Protocol has a similar weapon or mechanic.

In an interview with GamesRadar, Striking Distance founder Glen Schofield said, “Mystery is part of the importance of a game like this.”

“What’s around the next corner? What’s behind that door? I think it was a good mix of showing enough, and then keeping some things like our mechanics and our characters and our story – a lot of the story – still hidden away so that we can tell a little bit more as the game develops, you know? We’ve got to leave some stuff up to the audience to figure out.”

There are some interesting theories about how death will work in this game. Toward the end of the trailer, we can see the prisoner get killed by a creature, but then he comes back to life, almost like a zombified version of an alien. It would be absolutely fascinating to respawn as a different prisoner who then has to defeat the “infected” alien version of the previous character. This hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s an interesting theory that could be implemented if the trailer is any indication.

One thing Dead Space fans will likely be pleased to know is that your heads-up display (HUD) will be presented all from within the game, as opposed to on the screen. In Dead Space, your health was depicted by a bar on the character’s suit, while your ammo count showed up on a little screen on your weapons. There will be no on-screen HUD elements that break immersion, which is great news. You can actually see this idea in action from within the trailer, as the prisoner has what appears to be a health bar on the back of his neck.

Aside from that, we hope there’s some sort of upgrade system and meaningful sense of progression that keeps things moving. Of course, survival will probably be at the forefront, so you likely won’t be a super soldier in The Callisto Protocol, but we’ll wait and see how things play out.

Your overall goal in The Callisto Protocol is to escape the Black Iron Prison and “uncover its terrifying secrets,” according to the official website. While this will be the driving force of the game overall, you’ll likely have other smaller-scale objectives to complete as you work on your escape. We imagine the labyrinthian prison design will likely come into play.

Story and setting

The Callisto Protocol takes place during the year 2320 in a prison called Black Iron. The titular Callisto is one of Jupiter’s moons, serving as the setting for this adventure. Interestingly, this game is set in the same universe as PUBG, though it’s unclear what connections there are between the two. We hope this doesn’t impact the gameplay, but it likely won’t. Schofield told GamesRadar the connection to PUBG won’t “be really deep.”

Based on what we know so far, it seems the warden of Black Iron might be the cause of the alien outbreak, though it’s unclear how this will unfold. It’s possible the warden will be the main antagonist or something else entirely.

Multiplayer

The Callisto Protocol is a single-player survival horror game and will not feature online multiplayer components. Considering Striking Distance wants to stick close to the mechanics of Dead Space, this isn’t surprising. The main goal of this game is to give players a scary, single-player adventure, harkening back to the likes of Resident Evil and Dead Space while looking like a fresh, modern game.

DLC

Alien creature from The Callisto Protocol.

While DLC isn’t out of the question, there currently aren’t any public plans for additional content. It’s possible we’ll get different weapon packs or maybe even additional story content post-launch, but at this point, it’s too early to say. Dead Space received different cosmetics and gear such as weapons and suits, though it’s unclear if The Callisto Protocol will work the same. For now, the game’s developer is likely still working on finishing the base game before thinking about add-ons.

Pre-order

Since a release date hasn’t been officially confirmed for The Callisto Protocol, it’s not available to pre-order just yet. This game will likely become available to pre-order when it gets closer to launch, possibly later in 2022.

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