The Callisto Protocol is out now. The game has been one of our most anticipated upcoming horror games for some time now, and the world is finally in a position to jump into Striking Distance Studios' love letter to the original Dead Space.
Below you'll find a link to our review, as well as everything else we think you need to know about The Callisto Protocol – from info on the Black Iron Prison setting, to available platforms, gameplay details, and more.
The Callisto Protocol review
With The Callisto Protocol out now, we've had the chance to sit down and assess the debut game from Striking Distance Studios. In our full The Callisto Protocol review, we found that while the studio has built an incredibly vibrant and atmospheric world, a poorly optimized combat system holds it back from greatness.
The Callisto Protocol release date and platforms
The Callisto Protocol release date is locked for December 2, 2022. That was confirmed over the summer, when developer Striking Distance Studios appeared at the Sony State of Play showcase in June with a new trailer – a first look at The Callisto Protocol gameplay, following three years of teases from creative director Glen Schofield.
Striking Distance also confirmed that The Callisto Protocol will launch on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One. While the studio hasn't ruled out a The Callisto Protocol Game Pass release, Schofield says that he has discussed the possibility (opens in new tab) with Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, but he wants to "give the game time in the market" before committing to any subscription services.
The Callisto Protocol trailer
There have been numerous trailers released in the past two years, from the original The Callisto Protocol Red Band trailer to the more recent story trailer that takes us inside the Black Iron Prison. Above you can see the extended The Callisto Protocol gameplay trailer from Summer Game Fest, which should give you a good idea of how the game plays and the careful homage it pays to its biggest influence – Dead Space.
The Callisto Protocol gameplay details
The Callisto Protocol is a third-person survival horror game built for a new generation of players. It's effectively a love letter to Visceral Games Dead Space (2008) and Dead Space 2 (2011), albeit infused with a decades worth of introspection and iteration from creator Glen Schofield. If you haven't played either of the best horror games of the Xbox 360 generation, then you should know that you're in for a hellishly scary time.
The Callisto Protocol works overtime to build a foreboding sense of tension through dense, dark atmospheric levels – interspersing exploration with quick hits of gruesome combat versus grotesque opponents. The only way to survive is to hack off and blast away limbs, wrench enemies into dangerous components of the environment with a gravity gun, or pummelled flesh into mulch in heavy melee combat. Like Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol isn't for the faint of heart.
Speaking to GamesRadar+, Glen Schofield says that while there are natural similarities between Dead Space and The Callisto Protocol, Striking Distance has sought to imbue its new-gen survival horror with more depth beyond all the expected death and dismemberment. "The combat is different in our game, right? You can decide what you want to do, there's melee, there's stealth, and there's a weapon system which you upgrade through skill trees."
"Then there's the GRP, which is the advanced Gravity Gun, where now you can pick up enemies. That introduces sandbox elements, in that you can pick stuff up around the world; you can use the enemies as meat shields, throw them into fans, or into another enemy," says Schofield, adding, "through all this, you can pick the way you want to go."
The Callisto Protocol setting and story
The Callisto Protocol is set in the year 2030, on the dead Jupiter moon of Callisto. Striking Distance Studios has envisioned this location as "one of the most hostile, isolated environments in the universe", and one that is constantly looming over Jacob Lee throughout the events of The Callisto Protocol.
Jacob Lee is who you'll take control of during The Callisto Protocol – an inmate at the Black Iron Prison on the surface of the dead moon. After a mysterious outbreak throws the moon into chaos (typical), you'll be forced to outrun and survive against bloodthirsty creatures that stalk the station, and unravel the mysteries haunting the United Jupiter Company.
Schofield tells us that the story will be told through combat through the cold corridors of the Black Iron Prison, in the environments (both above and below the surface of Callisto), and via cinematics interspersed with all the action. "One way we tell the story is through other characters through cinematics, and we have around 45 minutes to an hour of that alone. There's a lot of storytelling in there, in between the tension and the hard stuff, and a very rich story at that."
Does The Callisto Protocol have a PUBG connection?
Once upon a time, The Callisto Protocol was a part of PUBG. At least, that's how it was announced to the world back in 2019. Something changed during development though, with The Callisto Protocol eventually spinning out into its own IP that "no longer takes place in the PUBG universe." Naturally, this has caused some confusion, so we took the question straight to Glen Schofield. The Striking Distance CEO told us that as development evolved, the studio thought that "saying its attached is disingenuous" and took the problem straight to Changhan Kim, CEO of publisher Krafton. And he told Schofield the words he wanted to hear: "All right, cut it free."
How long is The Callisto Protocol?
The Callisto Protocol understands the value of not overstaying your welcome. Speaking with Edge Magazine for issue #377, Glen Schofield tells GamesRadar+'s sister publication that The Callisto Protocol is "trending towards 12-to-14 hours" in length to complete the core story. For those of you who want to see more of the Black Iron Prison and the horrors contained within, Schofield says that there are "beta paths" through the game which will not only add an element of replayability, but "encourage conversations between players who took different routes to finish."
Will The Callisto Protocol have multiplayer?
Striking Distance Studios has confirmed that The Callisto Protocol is a single-player, story-driven survival horror game. Speaking via Discord (opens in new tab) on December 17, 2021, Glen Schofield answered a question about whether The Callisto Protocol would have co-op with a firm answer: "This is a story that we wanted to tell, and the best way to tell it was being a single-player game… Sometimes, when you get into co-op, you go in different directions and you’re not following the story as well. And not only that, we wanted you to be alone. That's what makes this really scary."
The Callisto Protocol is one of the most exciting upcoming PS5 games and upcoming Xbox Series X games of 2022. While you wait for it to release, why don't you go back and play one of the best survival horror games.