The Callisto Protocol – everything we know

Helmi Chaieb
Helmi Chaieb
10 Min Read

The Callisto Protocol took over the internet when it was announced at The Game Awards of 2020. This debut game by PUBG Corporation’s own Striking Distance Studios had quite the reception for looking like the much-anticipated Dead Space sequel, and even though it’s not, we’re not really to blame for thinking that at first glance. The Callisto Protocol has everything it needs to be the spiritual successor of the iconic survival horror trilogy, Dead Space. This is especially because the game’s director is the co-creator of Dead Space, Glen Schofield.

 We’ll dive right into all that in a minute, but you should also know that this game has a lot more to it than its Dead Space influence. So, without further anticipation, let’s explore what we know so far about The Callisto Protocol, its development process, and its release date.

The Callisto Protocol – Trailer


Striking Distance revealed The Callisto Protocol on The Game Awards in December 2020. The cinematic trailer wowed everyone. From what we saw in the video, Callisto could very well be the best story-driven survival horror game in a very long time.

We can also understand how the co-creator of Dead Space and many fellow well-experienced industry veterans from that franchise used their knowledge to shape this game. In fact, this led a lot of people who saw the trailer to think that Callisto is indeed the next Dead Space that we’ve all been craving for almost a decade now.

The game’s director and CEO of Striking Distance was generous enough to give us the answers we needed, which we’ll discuss later on in the article.

The trailer starts off with a prison inmate in a futuristic setting who wakes up to some clobbering noise and a flickering emergency hologram. He walks next to the bars of his cell to see a security robot that seems to be malfunctioning.

Growling noise from behind his back alarms him. He turns only to find out that his cell-mate is up. Only now he’s a reanimated monster that traps him with his back to the cell door. The inmate shouts for help, but to his misfortune, the monster lashes at him. It releases some tentacles and sticks them inside the inmate’s head in a very gruesome manner.

Everything we saw later turns out to be security camera footage that was being watched by someone (possibly the protagonist) aboard a transport ship that’s about to land on the premises of Black Iron colony.

Then just before the trailer ends, we see the same inmate being reanimated.

The trailer also hypes us for a 2022 release date for PC and consoles.

Story and setting

The Callisto Protocol - story and setting
Credit: The Game Awards 2020

The Callisto Protocol has a very interesting setting. It takes place in the distant year 2320 on a prison colony called Black Iron. The colony is built on Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons.

In this game, you’ll be taking the role of a prison inmate. You should expect to be unraveling some serious mysteries and secrets concerning Black Iron, and the people behind it, the United Jupiter Company.

Callisto was discovered by Galileo in 1610, and it fits the game’s format very appropriately. Some scientists seem to consider it as a promising candidate for human colonization because of its low radiation levels.

What really piqued everyone’s interest, however, is that The Callisto Protocol is actually set in the PUBG universe. That’s right! The same PUBG where you take part in a hundred-players battle royale as you shoot each other till only one of you survives.

The man at the helm, Glen Schofield addressed the game’s connections to PUBG. Schofield says that the two games will indeed have some sort of connection in terms of lore, but it won’t be “really deep.”

There may even be some Callisto easter eggs, and references hanging here and there in future PUBG seasons. Creating these references should be a smooth process since Striking Distance themselves are working on the lore for the PUBG universe.

However, we shouldn’t expect either of the games to have a major story element that connects them.

Moving on to Black Iron prison colony, it should be an interesting place to wander. The interior of this mysterious prison alone promises us a chilling atmosphere fit for making a really successful survival horror game.

However, should we have to exit the prison, and traverse Callisto, it’ll definitely boost the experience. We don’t really know how they’ll manifest Callisto in the game, and neither do we know what sorts of horrors await us outside Black Iron.

What we do know, however, is that the colony is actually in the middle of a hostile alien invasion. Whether that explains the monster that we saw in the trailer, we don’t really know. But we should definitely look out for some more answers setting-wise in the coming months.


Striking Distance
Credit: The Game Awards 2020

It all began when Glen Schofield went to PUBG Corporation. He pitched the idea for The Callisto Protocol and suggested building a new studio.

PUBG went on to announce Striking Distance in 2019, with Glen Schofield as the CEO. In the announcement video, Schofield stated that they’re going to craft “an original narrative experience in the PUBG universe.”

He’s also had an interview with IGN following the reveal trailer for The Callisto Protocol. In the interview, he was very forward with his aspirations for this game. He said that he’s “looking forward to really trying to make the scariest game on next-gen platforms.”

Some of the original members of the Dead Space team have joined Striking Distance to work on this project. Almost 30 people that Schofield has worked with at Visceral and Sledgehammer games are now members with Striking Distance.

That includes Steve Papoutsis who took the helm as the executive producer of Dead Space after Schofield left Visceral in 2009; Scott Whitney, the former Dead Space designer; and Christopher Stone who was the animation director on Dead Space, Call of Duty, and many other franchises.

Dead Space Influence

The Callisto Protocol - Dead Space influence
Credit: The Game Awards 2020

At the reveal event, Glen Schofield was asked about how similar The Callisto Protocol will be compared to Dead Space.

He revealed that he was adamant about having his own style. It has though, “grown and maybe matured a little bit” over the years.

He’s not going to stop every once in a while, to make sure that there are no similarities between the two franchises. Instead, “it has to just be natural.”

He did also state that he’s sure “there’ll be some familiar vibes within the game.”

And we can already notice those vibes from the green neck indicator on the inmate’s neck in the announcement trailer.

There are also many easter eggs that Striking Distance has included in the announcement trailer for The Callisto Protocol.

The most notable reference is something written on the wall at the beginning of the trailer. “I.C. was here,” and “J.C. was here.” Don’t tell me that they weren’t referencing the main protagonist of Dead Space, Isaac Clarke, and John Carver from Dead Space 3.

The writings on the wall are only two of the numerous Dead Space characters that were referenced in the trailer.

With that said, we expect a lot of similarities and further nostalgic references to Dead Space in The Callisto Protocol.

Overall, everything that we already know about the game promises us that it’s going to be a worthy Dead Space spiritual Successor.

But most importantly, everything also makes it out to be the next big title in the survival horror genre.

The Callisto Protocol release date and platforms

The Callisto Protocol - release date
Credit: The Game Awards 2020

As we saw in the announcement trailer, The Callisto Protocol is going to be out sometime in 2022, hopefully not so far into the year. We should be able to play it on PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC.

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An ambitious writer, a passionate gamer, and a lover of movies, television, and all that is fun to learn about. Never misses an opportunity to do what he loves.
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