Sci-fi Horror Can be Uniquely Disturbing
Just look at Event Horizon, Alien Isolation, Signs, or any other example. Dead Space – the futuristic sci-fi series that sees a religion worshipping creatures made from the parasitically controlled limbs/corpses of its victims – is just one of many, but the series’ unique feel and level of gore is enough that people have been clambering for a sequel since the series ended – especially given the shock ending of the final game’s DLC which saw Earth under attack by the brethren moon.
The Callisto Protocol isn’t that follow-up, but it certainly feels like one. Directed by Dead Space’s Executive Producer, Glen Schofield – in his first horror game since the original Dead Space (Apart from a special thanks in its rail shooter sequel Dead Space: Extraction) the game is set in a prison on Jupiter’s moon Callisto, in the midst of an alien invasion. Apart from that, information is limited – although, bizarrely, we do know that the game is set in the PUBG universe.
“We’re helping PUBG Corp right now as a team of writers, working on the lore for PUBG and its universe,” Schofield explained to Gamesradar. “They have a timeline, and we fit on that timeline now. It’s not going to be really deep, but there will be little connections here and there. We’ll probably be referencing one another from time to time… It will make more sense once the game comes out!”
It’s likely that this was a requirement for the publishing deal signed with PUBG Corp, but Schofield has stated he’s been given “carte blanche” to tell his own story. Perhaps PUBG Corp saw a gap in the market for a sci-fi focused horror franchise, and thought they could fill it? Who knows. After all, there’s a lot of strange connections out there (Just look up the Six Degrees of St. Elsewhere. If the Disney canon can exist in the same university as Stephen King’s books, something like this is small potatoes.
The trailer may have given us nothing about the story, but Schofield clearly knows his stuff. Dead Space is often hailed as one of the scariest games of all time, and the team at Striking Distance are aiming for The Callisto Protocol to live up to its legacy.
“I’ll admit, it’s a challenge, but it’s always been a challenge, right? On Dead Space, it was a challenge. And so I think we can still scare people, that’s for sure. We already know because we have people testing it, and playing it, and going, ‘Man, you’ve got me. You’ve got me on that one!'”
Schofield also went into some detail about why Callisto was chosen: “It’s covered in ice, but it does have what they believe is an ocean below that ice,” he tells me, “so obviously there’s water there. They do believe that one day man could colonise it, but the atmosphere is 200 degrees below zero in Fahrenheit, so it’s pretty darn cold!”
A frozen planet is nothing new – after all, one was the main setting for Dead Space 3 – and there’s definitely some interesting scares to be had with the concept. Perhaps we’ll be seeing some of Callisto’s local flora and fauna? Who can say, but as a horror fan, I can’t wait to explore Callisto for myself.