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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The Callisto Protocol is currently slated to launch on December 2, 2022.
It’s worth noting that the company had a number of vacancies as of March 31, 2022, which could mean development is behind schedule. We wouldn’t be surprised if this one slipped into 2023, but for now, expect to play it just in time for the holidays this year.
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).
You will be able to play The Callisto Protocol on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC when it launches in 2022. You can 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.
The first trailer for The Callisto Protocol 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.
Then, during the June 2022 State of Play event, Striking Distance finally revealed gameplay, along with the release date.
It’s an absolutely terrifying trailer that certainly makes The Callisto Protocol one of the most exciting upcoming games of 2022.
During Summer Game Fest 2022, Striking Distance showed the game in action, and it looks absolutely stunning, mirroring Dead Space while also carving out an identity of its own. The main sticking point is that the game is horribly violent, with over-the-top combat sequences and death animations that are along the lines of Mortal Kombat.
The most recent trailer was shown during Gamescom Opening Night Live 2022. This trailer gives us a look at the game’s “mutation” feature, which involves enemy Biophages morphing on the fly. The player needs to defeat the enemies before they evolve and become even more powerful.
Striking Distance has finally shown gameplay for The Callisto Protocol, but there’s still a lot left to reveal. 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.
As part of a recent issue of Game Informer, it was revealed that the main character, Jacob Lee, will be able to interact with objects by pushing and pulling them. This could lead to some interesting gameplay segments wherein Lee must block a path with a large object as he’s being chased by an alien (known as Biophages).
Striking Distance told Game Informer (as relayed by IGN), that Lee will eventually be able to equip a baton, pistol, and shotgun, so combat will play a larger part than what was initially shown. Design director Ben Walker told Game Informer, “We want you to be afraid of single enemies. All these tools we built up for Jacob are to deal with the difficulty as opposed to coming at it from the end of, ‘Hey, you can kill all these cool things, now let’s make some enemies.’ We did it in reverse for that very reason. You feel scared, and you have to make the right calls at the right time.”
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 a captivating 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, while ammo is shown on the weapon itself.
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.
FYI @CallistoTheGame is its own story and world. It no longer takes place in the PUBG Universe. It was originally part of the PUBG timeline, but grew into its own world. PUBG is awesome, &we will still have little surprises for fans, but TCP is its own world, story and universe.
— Glen A. Schofield (@GlenSchofield) May 26, 2022
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 was originally set in the same universe as PUBG, but in May 2022, Schofield confirmed this idea was scrapped. Evidently, the team felt restrained by tying The Callisto Protocol to PUBG, so hopefully, the game will take on a life of its own now. Schofield said The Callisto Protocol “grew into its own world,” and that it takes place in “its own world, story, and universe.”
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.
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.
Since a release date has been officially confirmed for The Callisto Protocol, it’s now available to pre-order.
There will be multiple versions, including a Day One Edition and a Digital Deluxe Edition across PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It’s unclear what will come in the Deluxe Editions, but pre-ordering on PlayStation gives players access to the Contraband Pack, which comes with extra in-game goodies to help you along your journey.
In addition, a collector’s edition will be made available to pre-order in the U.S. and Canada at GameStop and EB Games. It comes with a limited-run Steelbook case, comic book, and ultra-premium collectible statue, but it isn’t available to pre-order just yet.
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