The Callisto Protocol is a pretty interesting game to examine. When it was announced at The Game Awards 2020, it got plenty of attention as a new entry in the ever popular genre of sci-fi horror. However, nobody expected it to be an expansion on the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds universe. The game has a lot to prove on that front; fans really want to see how The Callisto Protocol possibly ties into PUBG. What’s more, its development is in the hands of Striking Distance Studios. While Striking Distance is a brand new studio, it’s helmed by game industry veteran Glen Schofield, so fans are simultaneously expecting a big break for a new studio and another gem in Schofield’s repertoire.
As high as fan expectations are, though, they’ll need to pump the breaks a little bit. The Callisto Protocol may have been announced last year, but it won’t be released until sometime in 2022, so it could be another year and a half before fans get their hands on the game. The Callisto Protocol still has a long development ahead of it, which means that Striking Distance probably won’t be putting out many significant announcements about it over the course of 2021. There’s too much work to do to focus on publicity right now. That shouldn’t disappoint fans, though. If anything, it should be encouraging. Since The Callisto Protocol has so much to prove to the game industry, it ought to take its time in development rather than rushing ahead.
The Callisto Protocol has a lot of reasons that it’ll get a lot out of its time in development. For one thing, it needs to ensure it has its relationship with PUBG sorted out. It’s set so far in the future that Striking Distance could opt to not acknowledge PUBG at all, but then fans would be left wondering what the point of the games sharing a universe was in the first place. It also can’t lean too heavily on PUBG for its set dressing, or it’ll feel like it doesn’t have its own plot to focus on. The Callisto Protocol has to come up with some reasonable connections while still standing on its own two feet, which is a lot of narrative polishing to do.
The gameplay needs to stand out within its genre too. Fans are already comparing The Callisto Protocol to Dead Space, thanks in no small part to Glen Schofield being a creator of the Dead Space franchise. Dead Space was a short-lived but critically acclaimed franchise that set a lot of bars for horror games in outer space. With Schofield at the helm, there’s no doubt that The Callisto Protocol will be treated as a spiritual successor to Dead Space. The Callisto Protocol needs to have the strong, satisfying combat and high quality scares that so many critics highlighted as Dead Space‘s strengths.
With all these expectations in mind, it’s only natural that Schofield and Striking Distance want to keep their heads down developing The Callisto Protocol. There’s a lot riding on Striking Distance’s performance. Since it’s a brand new studio, it’s the first time that everyone there is working together, too. Even under Schofield’s experienced guidance, it’s best that The Callisto Protocol prioritizes development over publicity for its own sake. Complications would be inevitable if a brand new team tried to get fans hyped and throw the game together as soon as possible. Striking Distance wants to make sure The Callisto Protocol is good for the sake of its future and the future of other games in the PUBG universe.
Naturally, fans will profit from a smooth if quiet development process. Time is an invaluable resource for game developers, and the more time Striking Distance has, the stronger The Callisto Protocol can be when it’s delivered to fans. Striking Distance is better off focusing on getting the game right, rather than trying to drum up excessive publicity for The Callisto Protocol. So far, Striking Distance seems aware of that. Although the Callisto Protocol has a long, quiet road ahead of it, slow and steady wins the race. Ultimately, a few months without announcements will be a small price to pay for a better game.
The Callisto Protocol will release in 2022 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.