Everything we know about The Callisto Protocol
From the co-creator of Dead Space comes the next evolution of sci-fi survival horror
At the Game Awards 2020, we received the earliest signs of life for the new horror game The Callisto Protocol. Directed by Glen Schofield, a co-mastermind behind Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol marks the next chapter for sci-fi horror games. Originally, it was once tied to publisher Krafton’s battle royale PUBG. However now, this narrative-based survival horror title sits in its own isolated world.
With the recent news of the game’s December 2, 2022 release date, here’s everything we know about The Callisto Protocol so far!
Welcome to Black Iron
The Callisto Protocol’s story places players in a distant future where criminals are sent to prisons in outer space. However, at Black Iron Prison, an even darker reality exists below the surface. As you explore the haunting walls of this galactic penitentiary, you’ll uncover these disturbing secrets among the horrors that lurk beyond every corner.
The year is 2320. You are Jacob Lee, a prisoner at the maximum-security penitentiary Black Iron located on Jupiter’s moon Callisto. As if your fate couldn’t get any worse, however, other prisoners begin turning into horrible creatures, sending the whole facility into chaos. Faced against brutal, ever-evolving monsters and limited resources, can you escape Jupiter’s Dead Moon? Or will you too fall victim to these ravenous creatures?
For those who want to get a taste of the horrors you’ll face in this upcoming game, you can also watch the initial cinematic reveal trailer below.
In addition, you can get even more up close and personal through the extended Red Band trailer. However, the Red Band Cinematic Trailer is very gruesome and not intended for the faint of heart.
The Truth of Black Iron
On September 29, 2022, Striking Distance Studios and Krafton unleashed a brand new trailer for The Callisto Protocol. Dubbed, “The Truth of Black Iron,” the trailer provides an even deeper look into the game’s story. You can also watch it for yourself below!
Just as the creatures who lurk in the darkness will evolve throughout the game, the trailer hints that so does the main objective. In the trailer, we meet Dani Nakamura, leader of the resistance group. As the action-packed video intensifies, Nakamura tells our protagonist Lee that their purpose isn’t about escaping anymore—it’s about answers.
Essentially, this hints at the narrative aspect of the game playing an equally important role to the survival horror. From everything the developers showcased so far about the game, it truly looks like a cinematic horror masterpiece in gaming. What secrets does the powerful United Jupiter Company hide on the dead moon Callisto? And will Jacob Lee even live to find out?
Breaking down combat: limb by limb
Anyone who is familiar with Dead Space should also instantly recognize The Callisto Protocol’s striking similarities. Given the game’s director, that shouldn’t come as a shock. However, while this new title adamantly boasts an original story set in its own world, it heavily borrows off the aesthetic that made the previous deep space horror trilogy so successful.
One major area The Callisto Protocol pulls from Dead Space is through certain combat mechanics. In particular, body dismemberment plays a critical role in combat. From hacking off arms to blasting away legs, players need to use strategy in targeting body parts to survive the bloodbath.
However, the combat systems is also one of the main areas this game differentiates itself too. Where Dead Space heavily relied on engineering tools repurposed as firearms, Callisto relies more on conventional weapons and melee combat. Players will need to master both melee and ranged attacks in an environment where adaptation is crucial to handle anything thrown at you. But since ammunition is scarce, the hand-to-hand battles feature more prominently.
Because of that, the game also features a combo system players will need to master to get an edge over their foes. In an exclusive interview with Game Informer, design director Ben Walker details how combat works. Walker also details how the melee combos work as a means to set up a more devastating ranged shot.
Our overall tone of our combat is kind of a struggle, right? You’re doing whatever you can do to kind of get by and get through. And since we do have, almost half of our combat is melee, [it] means you have to be smart about how you use your bullets. So to that end, we’ve added our melee combos, when they finish they kind of push the enemy away. So, that gives you a chance then to lock on really quick and get a nice clean shot on an enemy.Ben Walker, The Callisto Protocol’s Design Director
To get a full inside scoop on Walker’s combat deep dive, you can also watch the interview for yourself below.
Carve deeper into the flesh with new gameplay details from Gamescom 2022
During this year’s Gamescom, Krafton revealed even more new gameplay that showcases some of the chilling encounters you can expect. In a section of the game seeing the protagonist taking on numerous enemies in a room, the new gameplay trailer shows off some of the gruesome ways you can strategically pick off mutants in tense situations.
One way you can tackle combat involves using your gravity-based gun to send mutants hurdling into environmental hazards. We see this in play as Jacob launches an enemy into a spinning machine that chops it up into bloody bits. There are also ways to use the gravity gun to hold enemies in place as shields to protect yourself against projectile attacks.
In addition, we also see stealth mechanics in play as Jacob sneaks behind an enemy to use a melee takedown. Melee then takes on an even bigger priority as Jacob gets up close and personal with a gruesome mutant, who we also see can regenerate dismembered body parts. Lastly, this gameplay trailer gives us a look at an on-rails set piece where the player must dodge obstacles as Jacob tumbles down the sewage drain after the water valves get released. As we can see in the trailer, however, one false move here can leave your body severed at the hip. But don’t worry, if you die too much, you can actually get an achievement for it!
The Callisto Protocol will be bigger than Dead Space
Given the similar sci-fi horror aesthetic and Schofield’s attachment to the iconic franchise, the director behind The Callisto Protocol admits he understands the Dead Space comparisons. However, even with that, he firmly believes players will leave the experience with a totally new perspective. In a recent interview with IGN, Schofield elaborates on how he challenged himself to make a game that has its own identity and be bigger than anything he did before.
I think you’re gonna get in there, and you’re gonna play the game, maybe, and think Dead Space. But when you’re done, it’s a different story, different characters, different universe—different way we tell the story. We go really deep on story. The combat is different; enemies are different. I can’t see people going, ‘Oh, that’s Dead Space 4‘.Glen Schofield, The Callisto Protocol’s Director
One way Schofield explains how The Callisto Protocol goes bigger than Dead Space is through next-gen improvements. He adds that building a new environment with more believable locations and enemies really gives the new game its own identity. Aside from more advanced technology, Schofield also explains that the addition of an in-office motion capture studio gave the team more time to flesh out unique animations.
In addition, The Callisto Protocol also encourages significantly more exploration than Dead Space. While this new game mostly operates with linear progression, Schofield explains how players can choose to follow optional “beta paths”. He also adds that these optional side-paths reveal tons of hidden content and lore that explains the story in greater depth.
The Callisto Protocol breaches our atmosphere this December
After over a year and a half of anticipation, the developers finally unveiled The Callisto Protocol’s release date at Sony’s State of Play from this month. In the latest gameplay reveal trailer, the intensity gets dialed up to unfathomable levels with blood-soaked action. At the end of the video, we additionally get the reveal that the game comes out this year on December 2. You can also watch the trailer for yourself below.
In addition, you can also watch the even gorier extended trailer as well. Dubbed the Schofield Cut, this trailer gives you close to 30 seconds of additional bloody violence. Like the Red Band Reveal Trailer, however, this extended cut is also not for the faint of heart.
The Callisto Protocol is developed by AAA studio Striking Distance Studios and published by the team behind PUBG Krafton. It officially launches on December 2, 2022 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC.
Pre-order The Callisto Protocol now!
Ahead of the game’s December release, players can now pre-order both the Day One and Digital Deluxe Editions of The Callisto Protocol. Both versions of the game include the Retro prisoner Character Skin, as well as two Retro Prisoner Weapon Skins. However, the Digital Deluxe Edition also comes along with the game’s Season Pass. You can pre-order The Callisto Protocol now on the official website for all of the available platforms.
In addition, there will also be a Collector’s Edition you can pre-order as well. Along with the base game and standard pre-order bonuses, the Collector’s Edition also comes packed with a slew of cool memorabilia. The additional items include:
- Jacob statue
- Steelbook case
- TCP Comic #0 Edition
- Outer Way Collectable Pin
- UJC Collectable Pin
Although the Collector’s Edition is not yet available for pre-order, stay tuned, as we’ll update this article as more news comes out.
Are you excited to enter the horrors of The Callisto Protocol? As always, share your thoughts with us in the comments!