The Callisto Protocol is shaping up to be a game like few others, and understandably has earned the attention of many survival horror fans. If your eyebrows went up at the sight of The Callisto Protocol’s announcement at the 2020 Game Awards, you were not alone. That announcement alone was one of the most talked about moments of the entire show, which is saying a lot given how many noteworthy announcements and awards were presented that night. It’s a game that really seems to have a firm grasp on the type of game it wants to be which is something that a lot of people have been clamoring for for a long time, some sort of Dead Space spiritual successor or at least a game that has that style and can give fans of that series something new to play in similar vein. We still don’t know a lot yet as the team has been fairly tight-lipped about the game since announcing it, but we do know enough to be excited for it and here are five of the reasons why.
The clear and purposeful inspiration from Dead Space
If you are like me and have been hoping for anything with the words Dead Space on it in the form of a video game for many years now despite the odds of such a thing being as dismal as they are, then you were elated to hear that the game is as close to that as will probably ever get at this point. With the original team that made those original 3 games long since dissolved, and many of those who worked on the games have long since moved on, the odds of us ever getting a proper Dead Space 4 were and are pretty dim. At the most I think we may get a remaster of those three games at some point someday… maybe.
That would still be cool, but a new game is the Ultimate Prize and it’s looking like The Callisto Protocol is about as close to that as we could ever realistically expect to get. The Callisto Protocol seems to have us covered on that, as the trailer clearly wants us to know they hear us. Everything from the dark industrial look of the inside of the facility, to the glitchy hologram communication calls, to what appear to be life bars on the back of people’s necks, it looks like The Callisto Protocol knows exactly what it’s doing, and it’s liberally borrowing some ideas from the game that it’s so clearly inspired by. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Striking Distance Studios weren’t going so far with this to cause impulse buyers a few years from launch to see it on a shelf, mistakenly think it is Dead Space 4, and buy it for that reason alone.
Dead Space veterans confirmed to be on the team
As if you needed any more reason to think that this is a Dead Space successor, you can now take even more comfort in knowing that several Dead Space veterans have been picked up by Striking Distance Studios to work on this game, if for nothing else then for the pedigree alone. Anybody can make a spiritual successor to anything. Some of them turn out fine, some of them don’t. But to go out of your way to bring people on from the game you’re trying to harken back to does bring an extra bit of credibility to the project overall and instill more faith in those who are looking to consume it for that reason.
To add even more fuel to that particular fire, the former general manager of Visceral Games who is now working with Striking Distance, went so far as to even say that Dead Space is in his team’s DNA. It certainly doesn’t guarantee that the game will be a slam dunk. Mighty No. 9 had people on it from Mega Man and it still turned out to be.. well, Mighty No 9. But generally speaking, I would say it’s something that speaks to the games favor in most cases. It’s also comforting to know that Striking Distance Studios is headed up by the former co-head of Sledgehammer Games, who definitely knows how to stay on track and launch completed games on time.
A new, interesting setting
While the setting of Dead Space on the Ishimura was definitely interesting in its own way, it was also a little bit removed from what we can really wrap our minds around in 2021. It was almost too abstract in a way that wasn’t particularly helpful when it came to having an attachment to our understanding of the setting. Here the game will be taking place on Jupiter’s dead moon of Callisto in a fairly distant future year of 2320. And instead of being a part of a mining operation like in Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol will feature a protagonist who’s trying to break out of a maximum security prison, and while doing so discovers lots of horrible unspeakable things. In that way it might remind one of The Suffering just as much as Dead Space. That’s a combination I never would have thought of, and I’m all the more intrigued by it.
Development of the game has continued despite pandemic concerns
While the pandemic has absolutely rocked pretty much every sector of our lives, it’s always good to know when certain projects that we’re excited about have managed to survive it. It speaks to the quality of the team behind it. According to a recent interview that Steve Papoutsis, the chief development officer at Striking Distance Studios gave, the team is pressing on with their 150-person team despite not being able to meet in their office space. This will understandably introduce issues here and there and may very well results and the game being released a little later than we would have liked, but Steve goes out of his way to reassure but the game is well into development and is definitely coming. that is comforting to know. It’s also encouraging to know that this team is as capable as they are, which should bode well for the game in totality.
The game is very much its own thing
While the game is obviously borrowing a few ideas and taking a few cues from Dead Space for obvious reasons, something that also shouldn’t be missed here is that it’s going to have its fair share of unique ideas. Instead of a monster like Dead Space’s formless Necromorph that seemed to have more in common with The Thing than anything else, The Callisto Protocol’s main baddie, at least the only one we’ve seen so far, will be very much its own design, have its own form, its own rules, and appears to be more insect-like, which is an interesting take for this sort of game.
Also, as previously mentioned, instead of floating out in space, you’ll be on a moon, in a prison. This might make it more claustrophobic and also introduce some moral grey areas with the characters, where Dead Space’s Isaac was pretty much an innocent guy who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Morally ambiguous characters tend to be more interesting, so this difference between Dead Space and The Callisto Protocol is one worth looking forward to. With all of that, despite the obvious Dead Space undertones, we also have a unique, original horror game to look forward to that happens to have a lot of seasoned Dead Space developers on staff. I don’t think I could craft a better recipe for a modern horror game myself.