Learn how Striking Distance Studios is creating unforgettable scares with Horror Engineering.
On behalf of everyone at Striking Distance Studios, I wanted to let you know how excited we are to give PlayStation fans an exclusive first look at The Callisto Protocol.
Some of you may know me as the creator of Dead Space, and I’m excited to be returning to my roots with an all-new take on the sci-fi survival horror genre. I hope you like what we’ve got to show you today!
Set on Jupiter’s “dead moon” Callisto in 2320, The Callisto Protocol is the story of Jacob Lee, an inmate at Black Iron Prison who must fight for his life when a mysterious outbreak throws the moon into chaos. Prison guards and inmates are mutating into monstrous creatures called Biophage, and Jacob must battle to survive the horrors of Black Iron and uncover the dark secrets of the United Jupiter Company.
Creating terrifying moments in games is hard. To bring the world of The Callisto Protocol to life, the team uses a process we call Horror Engineering to hand craft unforgettable scares. It’s about blending atmosphere, tension, brutality, helplessness, and humanity to thrill players … and hopefully scare the crap out of them.
Let’s take a look at how it works.
Horror starts with atmosphere. Callisto is an oppressive world that feels desolate, isolated, and puts players on edge. We spend a ton of time designing the lighting to create a sense of dread and keep players guessing about what’s in the shadows.
We also take full advantage of PS5’s 3D Audio capabilities and leverage acoustic ray tracing, diffraction, and portaling to fully immerse players in the world. From the monstrous sounds of Biophage echoing down long dark hallways, to the ambient whirring of broken prison machinery, audio is a huge feature in making players feel trapped, isolated, and alone.
We also obsess over building and releasing tension. You can’t have jump scares around every corner. Sometimes we space scares out to give players time to catch their breath, and sometimes we hit them with two or three scares in a row. We want your heart to race with every tick of the PS5’s awesome haptics. From the satisfying swing of Jacob’s stun baton, to the heavy footsteps of a massive enemy, the PS5 helps us make players feel every moment of the pulse-pounding tension.
What would a horror game be without brutality? Striking Distance Studios has designed a strategic combat system that forces players to get up close and personal with our horrifying creatures. We seamlessly blend melee combat and gunplay with a unique gravity weapon called the GRP.
Black Iron guards use the GRP to control the prison population, but it also allows Jacob to get creative in how he battles the Biophage. Players can freeze a rushing enemy in their tracks, or even throw Biophage into a nearby turbine fan or environmental hazard to escape a seemingly dire situation.
The Callisto Protocol is a survival horror game, so players should feel helpless. Jacob isn’t a soldier, and every encounter is a life and death struggle. Ammo, health, and weapons are precious, and players will need to scour Black Iron for any advantage they can find.
And finally, the game needs to have an element of humanity. We want to give players characters that they care about, and a deep, immersive story that’s going to keep them guessing until the end. The role of Jacob is played by Josh Duhamel, who delivers a thrilling performance that brings the whole world to life.
We can’t wait for you to experience the horrors of Callisto yourself later this year!
The game comes out around the world on PS5 and PS4 on December 2, 2022. And make sure to pre-order the game on the PlayStation Store to receive a special Contraband Pack to help give Jacob a fighting chance against the unspeakable horrors of Black Iron Prison. That’s all we have for now, but we’ll have much more to share about The Callisto Protocol in the weeks and months ahead.
The game comes out around the world on PS4 and PS5 on December 2.