Being developed by Striking Distance Studios, The Callisto Protocol is a third-person survival horror game set to release on 2 December 2022. It will share several similarities with the Dead Space series, both in terms of atmosphere and gameplay, as the development team is led by Glen Schofield – the original designer of Dead Space. After watching the launch and gameplay trailers, I can undoubtedly say that I am really excited about this game. Let me explain why.
Potential for a Great Narrative
The story takes place in the year 2320, on one of Jupiter’s moons: Callisto. You play as Jacob, a cargo ship pilot who finds himself trapped in the Black Iron Prison on Callisto, and must seek a way to survive the horrors unleashed in this facility. Everyone except you, guards and inmates alike, is mutating into deformed and mutilated flesh-eating monstrosities, seeking to extinguish the last breath of human life from the celestial body.
The developers already have a brilliant base on which to build the rest of the narrative on. After all, what could be a more captivating story than of a lone survivor on a distant moon seeking safety from an otherworldly threat? Let’s hope they can build on this to create a powerful narrative for The Callisto Protocol.
The Horror Is in the Details
A good character design is a must in any game but especially in a horror game to make the experience as frightening for the player as possible. Undoubtedly, The Callisto Protocol excels in this area. In the trailers, you can see every detail of the horrifying mutants. Blood oozing out, new body parts protruding their way out of the skin, bone and muscle recasting into makeshift tentacles to impale victims with; you get the idea. Now imagine being trapped in a facility full of these creatures who could kill you in excruciating ways, like the death we saw in the trailer. Yikes!
A significant part of whether a horror game is a success or not comes down to its sound design. A good sound design can increase the immersion level tenfold. From what I can tell from the trailers, The Callisto Protocol is on the right track in this department. Your footsteps echo across the eerie silence of the prison hallways, your character screams in agony as humanoid creatures tear apart his limbs, and the monsters groan and slither as they search for their prey. These all will form a stranglehold on the players’ psychologies as they make their way across the prison.
Moreover, the music seems to have all the highs and lows needed for a horror soundtrack. An immersive soundtrack can create fear of the unknown in the player’s mind – just take a look at the success of Outlast as an example.
The Callisto Protocol won’t leave you defenseless against the terrifying creatures. In fact, it will arm you with a futuristic pistol with some sort of gravity-manipulating power that you can use to fight these beasts. The gameplay seems highly enjoyable; the trailer showcases the player using the gravity gun to throw one of these creatures into a rotating fan, slicing it to bits. Additionally, you will be able to engage in close-range combat if you run out of ammo or time, allowing you to bash the humanoid heads into smithereens. However, if you fail to defend yourself, expect an extremely violent and painful death, a hallmark of the Dead Space series and one that the developers have brought over to The Callisto Protocol as well. One trailer shows the protagonist being slowly pulled into heavy machinery; in the process, his body is reduced to a pulp!
For all the reasons I have discussed above, I expect The Callisto Protocol to be a title people will be talking about for years to come. Every so often, we get a gem of a game, and this might just be one of them.