Horror games are absent lately unless we count the remakes of Resident Evil. While a fantastic series, there was a time when developers were more interested in scaring us than entertaining. One of the shining examples of this, and the decline in horror elements in games, is Dead Space.
It’s a spacefaring, horrific trilogy inspired by Resident Evil 4. As Isaac Clark, we navigated narrow halls and a space-station subjected to zero gravity, trying to survive the Necromorphs. The game’s focus on the dismemberment of alien hordes made it unique. Now, the Dead Space creators look to the future to create another horror-survival hit called The Callisto Protocol.
The Callisto Protocol is in the PUBG Universe
The Callisto Protocol’s synopsis reads:
“Set on Jupiter’s moon Callisto in the year 2320, The Callisto Protocol is a next-generation take on survival horror. The game challenges players to escape the maximum-security Black Iron Prison and uncover its terrifying secrets. A blend of horror, action, and immersive storytelling, the game aims to set a new bar for horror in interactive entertainment.”
That alone does not tell us the surprise: This game is an extension of the Battle Royale PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). By no means is The Callisto Protocol going to be a battle royale, however. We’re looking at a third-person survival horror game. Considering many Dead Space veterans are working on the game together, we have an idea of the kind of game we’re getting. How did the idea of this game evolve from PUBG? It’s an exciting tale.
The Team and how it came together
Glen Schofield, the former executive producer of Dead Space, said in an interview with IGN, “The funny thing is, I came in with this story when I went and met with the PUBG people for the first time and started talking about The Callisto Protocol and building a studio. I presented this game to them, and so what we did was we made it fit within the PUBG storyline.”
In an interview with Report Door, he went on to explain, “I went to them (PUBG Corp) and said, ‘I’ll give you a game studio, and here’s the game I’d like to make.” Once he finished his presentation, PUBG Corp, now Krafton, gave the green light to create Striking Distance Studios and left him to his own devices for the past 18 months.
With the studio came talent that worked on Dead Space. Steve Papoutsis, Scott Whitney, and Christopher Stone are among the 25 plus developers who left Visceral Games and Sledgehammer games. Schofield also told Polygon about his experience making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. He’d spent ten years making it, thoroughly enjoyed it because of the future setting, but sci-fi horror is his passion.
What to expect from The Callisto Protocol
We will get more information this year about the game, but the release is 2022. The game will be on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. While it’s a shame we won’t get it this year, I’m glad they’re taking their time. Dead Space is one of the greatest survival-horror games to drop, but Dead Space 3 faced many issues.
EA published the Dead Space series. They inserted microtransactions into Dead Space 3 that tied directly to the game’s crafting system. Crafting materials naturally dropped less in-game to coax us into buying them. During a period where EA had earned the ire of many gamers, this was the wrong move. It’s also EA who made Dead Space 3 more action-oriented, lowering the scale of horror and including multiplayer. In the end, EA’s tactics for continued sales ruined the final game. It was fun, but it didn’t hold a candle to Dead Space or Dead Space 2.
Without EA’s input, Strike Distance Studios can avoid microtransactions. They also don’t have to bow to a massive publisher’s whims, so the control is in their hands. The direction, the narrative, the gameplay; It can all return to the standard that Dead Space created. Thanks to a chat between Polygon and Schofield, we can rest assured that his signature horror-survival style is intact. Bring on the scares!
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