Revealed at the 2020 edition of The Game Awards, The Callisto Protocol is a Dead Space successor in all but name. Helmed by Dead Space co-creator and Sledgehammer Games founder, Glen Schofield, this next-gen horror exclusive sets to bring familiar-feeling scares to Jupiter’s moon, Callisto. Schofield's aim? “To create the most terrifying game on next-gen platforms”. With early next-gen horror fare like The Medium already shaping up to be pretty promising, Schofield’s team certainly have their work cut out. Yet, if the gruesome reveal trailer is anything to go by, The Callisto Protocol is brimming with skin-crawling potential.
In this stunningly rendered teaser, we see a nervous prisoner investigating suspicious sounds reverberating around the dimly lit prison. Needless to say, things don’t go particularly well for our unsuspecting convict. As the lights outside his cell flicker and his fear begins to grow, a terrifying Alien-esque creature possesses his sleeping cellmate, devouring our poor nameless protagonist in a chillingly gruesome manner. Sackboy this is not.
With Schofield bringing 25-30 Dead Space and Sledgehammer Games alumni with him, The Callisto Protocol certainly has the dev pedigree behind it to make it a tantalising prospect. The question is then, when can we play it?
The Callisto Protocol release date and platforms
The bad news about Callisto Protocol is that it is still a fair way off. While we don’t have a specific date confirmed for the upcoming survival horror title, the game has been given a rough 2022 release date. Platforms for the game revealed so far are PS5, Xbox Series consoles and PC. Yet with the game published by PUBG’s Krafton, who have released the battle royale on Stadia, there is a chance that Callisto Protocol may find its way on Google’s streaming service. Still, regardless of where the game ends up, it seems as though early next gen adopters will have to wait patiently for their dose of futuristic fear. The good news then, is it gives us more time to dive into the mysterious lore behind this terrifying new world…
The Callisto Protocol gameplay, settings, and characters
As we’ve already mentioned, this intergalactic survival horror tale takes place 300 years in the future. Set in 2320, this adventure is set on a Jupiter moon humankind has never set foot on - Callisto. The game revolves around horrific creatures and a conspiracy unfolding on the moon Callisto’s dingy and dangerous Black Iron Prison. With only a teaser and a handful of interviews to go on, story details are light so far. Yet what we do know is that the game will be third person and story-driven.
"Mystery is part of the importance of a game like this," says Schofield in an interview with GamesRadar. "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."
While little has been revealed about who we’ll actually be playing as, Schofield revealed that the game’s yet to be revealed protagonist is stuck inside Black Iron Prison: "The game challenges players to escape the maximum-security Black Iron Prison and uncover its terrifying secrets,” states the game’s official site, “A blend of horror, action, and immersive storytelling, the game aims to set a new bar for horror in interactive entertainment."
In news that will please Dead Space fans, Callisto looks to bring back Dead Space’s ingenious ‘diegetic’ HUD. What does this mean in English? It means that your character’s health and other important information will be displayed via your protagonist’s avatar, through their suit, gun overlays, etc. You can see an example of this diegetic HUD in the trailer, situated on the prisoner’s neck.
The only other character of note seen in the aforementioned teaser is a mysterious figure watching the prison’s security cameras. While it isn’t clear whether is the prison warden or someone responsible for the outbreak of these horrific creatures, we’re sure to learn more about this shadowy figure in due course. The last piece of the surprisingly scant narrative puzzle? A ship called the Charon. While we know little about who is on this ship, as we see this enigmatic man looming over the camera control panel, an announcement clears the Charon for landing.
Callisto Protocol is part of the wider PUBG universe
Yes, you read that correctly. In one of the more eyebrow-raising bits of Callisto Protocol news, Striking Distance CEO Glen Schofield has confirmed that Callisto Protocol occupies the same fictional universe as PUBG. The reason behind this? Callisto Protocol is published by the company behind the battle royale sensation. Despite this Jupiter-set horror outing taking place 300 years in the future, Schofield tells Gamesradar that “there will be little connections here and there” between the two vastly different games, and that this unlikely lore building will “make more sense once the game comes out." Let’s hope so. Intergalactic chicken dinner, anyone?
In an interview with GamesRadar, Schofield went on to explain that:
"We're helping PUBG Corp right now as a team of writers, working on the lore for PUBG and its universe. They have a timeline, and we fit on that timeline now. It's not going to be really deep, but there will be little connections here and there. We'll probably be referencing one another from time to time… It will make more sense once the game comes out!"