Impressions from The Callisto Protocol gameplay demo from Summer Game Fest. Are we waiting for the best horror in space or a clone of Dead Space?

Impressions from The Callisto Protocol gameplay demo from Summer Game Fest. Are we waiting for the best horror in space or a clone of Dead Space?


At the Summer Game Fest, they showed a new horror gameplay from the Striking Distance studio, its name is The Callisto Protocol . So far, the project has been a dark horse. An indistinct trailer, boring enemies and parallels with Dead Space did not inspire much enthusiasm. And finally, we were shown a small fragment of the gameplay. In this article, we will talk about our impressions of what we saw, and also try to figure out what we can expect from The Callisto Protocol on release.

What is The Callisto Protocol about?

Little is known about the plot. We play as the pilot of a cargo spaceship – Jacob Lee. For unknown reasons, he crashed on the planet Callisto, the moon of Jupiter, and then thundered into a local prison. This is also pointed out by the narrator from the trailer. He is also presumably the main villain, who, however, mentions that he helped the hero survive.

From interviews with the developers, it is known that Jacob will face biophages right in prison – a local analogue of zombies or mutants. Where they came from in the protected area is one of the main secrets.

All in the same trailer, the antagonist talks about rebirth. In the gameplay passage, the hero finds a hologram from the past, in which we see people in white coats and one of the mutated prisoners. Obviously, human rights are ignored in the space prison and terrible experiments are performed.

What they showed us at Summer Game Fest


The gameplay video consisted of two parts. In the first, Jacob traveled in a prisoner’s yellow robe, and in the second, he flaunted in real armor. The costume is reminiscent of the space suit from Dead Space, as well as the health indicator on the hero’s neck. The developers have already stated that they will integrate the interface into the environment. It looks good, but, unfortunately, unoriginal.

In general, the first thing that catches your eye is graphics, work with light and animation. Jacob was played by a real-life actor, Josh Duhamel, who you may have seen as a military man in Transformers. Close-ups in videos look naturalistic and very detailed. But the pilot is not moving so well. Animations are clumsy and do not even reach the level of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End , let alone The Last of Us Part 2 . Jacob does not react in any way to obstacles, and the turns with his whole body say hello to the same Dead Space, which came out, attention, in 2008.

But gloomy corridors and flashing lamps create an excellent atmosphere of hopelessness and tension. It seems that the project is already doing well with this. In general, the graphics are quite good, and a lot of different light sources help to create the right mood. In any case, there is still time to polish minor errors.


The developers boasted of interacting with physical objects in the manner of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic . With the help of a gravitational device, the hero can attract various objects and even enemies to himself, as well as throw them at fan blades and other architectural objects. It remains a question whether this will only work with certain elements of the prison decor and opponents, or if gamers will be allowed to show their imagination. By the way, the hero himself can fall into a similar trap. The demo just ended with the death of Jacob, who fell into the blades of an incomprehensible device.

The gun works in the manner of the famous Isaac cutter, they can shoot different parts of the body. This should motivate players to approach battles tactically – to slow down some by firing a burst on their legs, and to deprive others of their arms. Unfortunately, while the system works through time. In the demonstration, Jacob repeatedly shot at the limbs of biophages, but did not always achieve the desired effect. We hope that this will be fixed by the release, otherwise the most important feature of the project will be lost.

And yes, we saw different enemies. In addition to ordinary mutants, reminiscent of the infected from The Last of Us Part 2, “tanks” and a strange snake similar to the headcrab from Alien lit up. Also, a monster appeared in the video, with appetite eating someone’s head. His appearance only vaguely resembles a person, which hints at several stages of “infection”. However, all this is not enough for an interesting game, and the opponents look secondary. It remains to be hoped that the developers left the main surprises for later.

Despite the predominantly low pace of what is happening, there will also be moments of active confrontations with a large number of enemies in the game. This is directly indicated by the second passage from the show, where four monsters crawl out on Jacob at once.


In addition to the pistol, the hero’s arsenal will definitely include a shotgun, a kind of electric sword (club?) and a gravitational device. Interestingly, in the video, Jacob is simply clenching his fist to pull enemies in without pulling out any special tools. The Jedi approve! The hero generally feels great in close combat – we were shown spectacular combos, dodges and finishing kicks to the head.

Most likely, every murder weapon can be upgraded. At a minimum, the gun at the beginning and at the end of the video looks different.

What do we expect from the game

The creators of The Callisto Protocol come from Visceral Games and personally Glen Schofield, who came up with the concept of “dead space”. This is both a plus and a minus for the upcoming project. On the one hand, the developers have already established themselves as the authors of an excellent space horror, on the other hand, the number of self-repetitions is alarming. And the gravity feature looks like a copy of the “force” from the recent Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order or a replacement for the gravity gun from Half-Life 2 .

But it is too early to draw any categorical conclusions – there is little information on the game. The Callisto Protocol has no rivals – except for the Dead Space remake – and the hope for an original approach and the talent of the creators is still strong. We hope that behind a beautiful wrapper there will also be an interesting game.

The Callisto Protocol is due out on December 2, 2022, and the game has every chance of becoming a hit. An intriguing plot and cinematic graphics grab attention now. Clumsy animations and combat will probably be corrected, and the variety of monsters will be increased. However, comparisons with the original source cannot be avoided. The remake of the first Dead Space is scheduled to be released on January 27, 2023. There are fears that the novelty against the background of the prettier original may turn out to be secondary.


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