Between the game’s sci-fi horror aesthetic and most of the developers’ history on the Dead Space franchise, The Callisto Protocol has been getting plenty of comparisons to Electronic Arts’ horror series. Striking Distance is looking to set the game apart, though, and has spoken about how it plans to do so, such as the new game’s focus on melee combat. One area it also looks to stand apart from Dead Space in is the gore which, according to the game’s director, will be significantly gorier than the three Dead Space titles.
The Callisto Protocol drops players on Jupiter’s moon of Callisto in 2320, which now houses a prison colony named Black Iron for the United Jupiter Company. Players take on the role of Jacob Lee, played by Josh Duhamel, who is one of the many prisoners living out their days inside the prison colony. Life in the prison is upended, though, when the prison’s warden seemingly orchestrates an alien invasion that sends the colony into chaos as mysterious creatures begin roaming its halls and the dead are somehow re-animated.
As the game is set to release during the 2022 holiday season, the team at Striking Distance has slowly been pulling back the curtain to give players a taste of the horror awaiting them in Black Iron. Glen Schofield, the game’s director and one of the studio’s founders, spoke at length with Eurogamer about the game, Striking Distance’s approach to its debut title, and the comparisons to Dead Space. It was the latter of the three that led Schofield to touch on The Callisto Protocol‘s gore and how it compares to Dead Space. Schofield’s quote can be found below.
“It’s got some pretty horrific moments, it really does. We have a gore engine – we built Gore technology. It’s a lot of rendering, and you break up the characters into jumps, cut them up with bones sticking out and all that. Then the rendering guys, they do their special thing to it which is make everything look wet. And so every character had to be done that way – and however you go at it, chunks break off, or parts of the face, parts of the head. It’s so advanced compared to Dead Space.”
Dead Space, when it was released in 2008, was considered extremely gory for the time because of its creatures, dubbed Necromorphs, and what players had to do to defeat them. As the name implies, Necromorphs were the horrifically reanimated and mutated human corpses brought back to life by the mysterious markers. Players would need to use “tactical dismemberment” to defeat the creatures, chopping off Necromorphs’ limbs until they stayed down for good. Dead Space‘s sequels would build on this, adding in graphic deaths Isaac Clarke can suffer if players fail at any point.
That said, the trailers and gameplay for The Callisto Protocol released up to this point show that players will be in for a very gory experience. The creature design, for example, is extremely graphic as the monsters roaming Black Iron’s corridors have muscle, tendons, and bone clearly visible. Jacob Lee doesn’t appear to be getting off easy, either, with some of the teased deaths being just as gory as any of the creatures Lee has to survive.
The Callisto Protocol is scheduled to release December 2, 2022, on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.