The Callisto Protocol at Gamescom 2022 – hair-raising struggle for survival in space

The Calisto Protocol Screenshot Biophage

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Of: Joost Rademacher

Striking Distance Studios unleash a new sci-fi nightmare with The Callisto Protocol. At Gamescom we were allowed to get a taste of space.

Cologne – When bizarrely deformed human beings lie in wait, when the universe is flooded with blood, then Glen Schofield must be at work again. The creator of the original Dead Space and his team at Striking Distance Studios are back in sci-fi horror with The Callisto Protocol, the spiritual successor to the horror classic. At Gamescom 2022 we saw fresh scenes from The Callisto Protocol in a presentation and revealed how much blatant horror you should expect on Jupiter’s moon.

name of the game The Calisto Protocol
release December 2, 2022
Publishers Krafton
developer Striking Distance Studios
platform PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
genre Sci-Fi Horror

The Callisto Protocol: A space trucker gone astray and a really brutal virus

Here’s what The Callisto Protocol is all about: Striking Distance Studios unveiled the first trailer for The Callisto Protocol back in 2020. For a long time, no one really knew what the horror game was about – apart from the fact that it takes place on the eponymous moon of Jupiter. Now we’re a little smarter: as cargo ship pilot Jacob Lee, you wake up in a prison colony on Callisto with no clue as to why you’re even there. But something seems to be going wrong in the Black Iron Prison, because you won’t meet the usual prison staff.

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Instead, the entire colony is infected with an extremely dangerous virus. The pathogen known as “Biophage” has unceremoniously transformed nearly the entire colony into morbidly disfigured monsters, vaguely reminiscent of their former humanity. Why you ended up on Callisto in the first place and what this virus is all about are likely to be the driving questions behind your fight for survival in the Black Iron Prison.

The Callisto Protocol: Creepy and extremely morbid – A new level of body horror

This is how scary The Callisto Protocol really gets: Striking Distance Studios have set themselves a big goal, because The Callisto Protocol shouldn’t be less than the “scariest game ever”. Just based on the monster designs we’ve seen so far, they’re already on the right track – the infected ex-humans look absolutely horrific. It trembles and twitches everywhere, vague remnants of what should once have been a human face adorn the disfigured grimaces of the monsters.

You can tell that the team around “Dead Space” creator Glen Schofield has once again dealt with the human body and its possible deformation in detail. Some of the enemies could be almost pathetic if they didn’t try their hardest to get at you. That would be morbid enough in itself if the biophage weren’t extremely prone to mutating.

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The Callisto Protocol: This fellow looks almost friendly, unlike some of his peers © Striking Distance Studios/KRAFTON

If you’re unlucky, you’ll always have to deal with spontaneous mutations when fighting the humanoids turned inside out by the virus. As if the monsters weren’t already dangerous enough, their mutated forms are more dangerous, more aggressive and – worse – more disgusting. If you don’t stop these mutations with all the necessary force of arms as quickly as possible, you will quickly find yourself facing even more dangerous opponents.

But in The Callisto Protocol, surrendered without a fight is vinegar. Jacob may have no memory of his trip to Callisto, but his use of fists and weapons seems ingrained in his cerebral cortex.

The Callisto Protocol: It’s stomping like at an illegal rave

Here’s how you can defend yourself: As spooky as The Callisto Protocol can get with its enemy designs and nerve-wracking set pieces, action also plays a big part here. Jacob Lee is a nimble and resilient main character, capable of countering the infested spawn with stun guns and all manner of firearms. Kicking is the right keyword: like his spiritual father Isaac Clarke, Jacob of course also stomps on everything that didn’t pick up his face from the floor at three.

The Calisto Protocol Screenshot
The Callisto Protocol at Gamescom 2022 – Outrageous struggle for survival in space © Striking Distance Studios/KRAFTON

There is also the Gravity Gun, which fans were already able to see in the gameplay of The Callisto Protocol at the ONL – which luckily is supposed to be less OP in the final game than in the trailer. The environment should also be included in the proper disposal of virus monsters, and one developer assured us that each weapon would have its own special use by the end of the game. So there should be enough time and enough opponents to try out and experiment.

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For you, that time will most likely come on December 2, 2022, when The Calisto Protocol is due out for PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.