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The Callisto Protocol

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Krafton
Developer: Striking Distance Studios
Release Date: Dec. 2, 2022

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'The Callisto Protocol' PC System Requirements, Details Character Creation, Black Iron Prison - Trailer

by Rainier on Nov. 25, 2022 @ 1:23 a.m. PST

The Callisto Protocol is a brand new story-driven, single-player game from the minds behind the Dead Space franchise.

The Callisto Protocol is a next-generation take on survival horror that fuses brutal combat with a deeply human story in a terrifying sci-fi world.

In this narrative-driven, third-person survival horror game set 300 years in the future, the player will take on the role of Jacob Lee – a victim of fate thrown into Black Iron Prison, a maximum-security penitentiary located on Jupiter's moon, Callisto. When inmates begin to transform into monstrous creatures, the prison is thrown into chaos. To survive, Jacob must battle his way to safety to escape Black Iron Prison, while uncovering the dark and disturbing secrets buried beneath the surface of Callisto. Using a unique blend of shooting and close-quarters combat, Jacob will need to adapt his tactics to combat the rapidly evolving creatures while scavenging to unlock new weapons, gear, and abilities to outrun the growing threat and escape the horrors of Jupiter's Dead Moon.

The Callisto Protocol challenges players to master a thrilling blend of hand-to-hand and ranged combat, including a unique gravity weapon once used by Black Iron guards to control the prison population. Players will be forced to get up close and personal with their grotesque opponents, hacking off limbs, blasting off legs, and getting creative with whatever is at their disposal to survive each life-or-death encounter.

One of the most hostile, isolated environments in the universe, Callisto looms large over Jacob’s desperate struggle to survive. Players must not only contend with the horrors of Black Iron Prison, but also the centuries-old secrets that plague Jupiter’s long-dead moon, both above and below the surface.


  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10/11
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 580
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 75 GB available space
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10/11
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8700 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 or AMD Radeon RX 5700
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 75 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: SSD recommended

Welcome to Black Iron Prison, a maximum-security penitentiary located on the desolate surface of Jupiter’s moon, Callisto. Let’s dive into how The Callisto Protocol’s atmospheric environments, compelling characters and monstrous creatures make the fight to survive the horrors of Jupiter’s dead moon a terrifyingly immersive experience.

A Futuristic that feels familiar

One of the most important aspects of any survival horror game is the setting – the place or places players either survive or die. The Callisto Protocol is full of fear-inducing locales, like Below, a series of long abandoned tunnels ‘below’ the prison that once serviced Arcas, the Callisto’s first human colony. For Aasim Zubair, director of environment art, the core concept started with a straightforward design philosophy: “make it dark, wet, and creepy.”

Below is an incredible showcase of our lighting and gave our environment  team a fun challenge to design a unique location that was still thematically similar to the Prison above, and offered environmental clues to its creation and the original Callisto colony.

And it certainly is. However, Below’s environment stands out in the sci-fi survival horror game thanks to its grounded inspiration.

“[Below is unique] because the majority of it is based off real-world materials and shapes,” says Zubair. “Instead of the rugged sci-fi design cues that dominate many of the game’s other environments, Below allows the player to feel grounded in something familiar and relatable while also letting them look into the past of humanity’s first attempt to colonize the dead moon.”

In addition to grounding players in a recognizable environment, Zubair’s favorite part of the environment is the mood and storytelling. “Below provides a great opportunity for exploration, hidden areas, creepiness and a chance to use the space for compelling environmental storytelling,” he says. 

If you dare to explore the dark recesses of Below there’s plenty of secrets to discover and maybe even a glimpse of the original colony’s dark past.

A terrifying human story in a pioneering future

Like Below’s environmental storytelling, Lead Writer R. Eric Lieb crafted a compelling story and complex characters to heighten players’ sense of dread and fear in The Callisto Protocol. “Complex characters are important because their actions and choices they make are what ultimately drive the plot,” says Lieb. “However, the horror genre serves as a unique crucible for characters where their actions and choices are often literally a matter of life and death.”

The connection between the game’s protagonist, Jacob Lee, and his jailer, Captain Leon Ferris, is another compelling narrative hook. “In developing Leon we often described him as the ‘dark mirror’ of Jacob,” says Lieb. “Thematically both begin in a similar place, either oblivious about (or willingly blind to) the consequences of their actions.”

“Their meeting shatters both of their comfortable worlds,” says Lieb. “How each reacts to what is happening within Black Iron – as well as who, exactly, is to blame – forms the core of their relationship [as well as] the player’s understanding of the world that is presented to them throughout the game.”

Sam Witwer’s voicework and acting brings the compelling character of Captain Farris to life. One of the things that made him stand out during auditions was his approach to the character. From the start, he imbued Leon with a subtle menace, like a coiled snake that may or may not strike, that just keeps you on edge. Sam is an actor who wants to understand everything about the character and their role in the story, so once we cast him as Leon it was very much a collaboration as we continued to develop the character. 

During read-throughs, for example, Witwer was always asking insightful questions or offering suggestions that resonated with either the logical or emotional motivations of that scene. And he was always spot-on. No spoilers, but there’s one specific scene where Sam offered a suggestion during shooting that Striking Distance Studios folded into the flow. Sam Witwer has incredible instincts and a fantastic understanding of what makes a story work.

Biophages and the descent into monstrosity

Character Director Glauco Longhi and the creature designers at Striking Distance Studios also recognize the importance of heightening fear by creating creatures that are relatable and grounded. 

“We started with the idea of infected humans so that part of the fear is what happened to them could also happen to you,” says Longhi. But it’s not simply that biophages have humanoid shapes, they have postures based on distinctly human emotions resembling pain, fear, and fury.

The Callisto Protocol contains plenty of enemies to intimidate and terrify players, but Grunts are the most human-looking. “[Grunts] bridge the gap between humans and more monstrous creatures, [their] silhouettes, proportions and anatomy is somewhat close to humans,” says Longhi.

The Rusher is another warped enemy that walks on walls, sprints, and leaps at players. “[Rushers] have this contortionist, crooked sort of motion with twisted joints and limbs,” says Longhi.

Discover more terrifying monsters, compelling characters, exciting plot points, horrific environments when The Callisto Protocol releases on December 2, 2022.

Striking Distance Studios is building The Callisto Protocol using a unique design process the team calls “Horror Engineering.” By blending elements of brutality, atmosphere, tension, humanity, and hopelessness, the studio delivers unforgettable scares that keep players’ hearts racing as they survive to escape the horrors of Callisto and Black Iron Prison.

The Callisto Protocol is available now for pre-orders in Day One, Standard, and Digital Deluxe editions. A Collector’s Edition, available exclusively in the US and Canada at Gamestop and EB Games, includes a limited run Steelbook case, comic book, and ultra-premium collectable statue.  

The Callisto Protocol aims to put the horror back in survival horror when it comes to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC on December 2, 2022.

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