This past week, The Game Awards gave Dead Space fans something they’ve needed for a long time: hope.
Speaking from personal experience, series diehards have resigned themselves to never getting a new game – let alone something to make up for 2013’s middling Dead Space 3. Imagine our surprise, then, when creator Glen Schofield showed up at Geoff Keighley’s glitzy press conference to pull back the curtain on his latest game: The Callisto Protocol.
From the reveal alone, Schofield’s latest look like a return to everything that made Dead Space great. The spiritual successor, which is being developed by Striking Distance Games, promises players “third-person narrative-driven survival horror” according to Schofield. That alone is a comfort, as the original games took an unfortunate turn towards action, which was met with fairly middling responses at the time. If this game is making a pivot away from that, it’s already got a big leg up on its predecessor.
However, there’s a bit of a buried lede about The Callisto Protocol: it’s not exactly an original IP. While the initial reveal gave most that impression, the game is actually a far-flung sequel to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. We don’t really know much about its connection to the popular battle royale title, but we do know it’s set some 300 years into the future. While it’s hard to imagine merking randos for a chicken dinner factors too heavily into it, that connection is definitely worth paying attention to.
Now, it’s easy to be cynical about this news, and I’ll admit – I was too. The phrase “PUBG Universe” has big “Dark Universe” (RIP) energy, and the idea of retrofitting a sci-fi horror game into that world is kind of baffling. But that’s just it – it’s baffling, not a bad idea. In fact, it’ll be kind of exciting to see how a completely different game might factor into the smash-hit multiplayer experience.
But beyond that, this announcement’s a good thing because it shows PUBG Corp is willing to fund things beyond service games. A sci-fi horror title not set on earth is about the furthest thing you can get from “dudes drop onto an island and shoot each other,” after all. The Callisto Protocol being tied to the franchise in any way is cool because it shows ambition, and because it gives us something more interesting and substantive to look forward to for this franchise.
Plus, it being part of the expanded PUBG lore (which is a phrase I can’t believe I just typed) has tangible real-world benefits, too. PUBG is a massive game – while Fortnite snatched its crown, it’s still one of the most-played games on Steam, and its FTP mobile version continues to reap massive profits. This is a team with plenty of money to throw around, essentially, and the fact that they’re willing to pitch it towards something this far-out can only be a good thing.
So while the idea of a PUBG universe might seem laughable, this announcement is reason enough to get excited about the possibilities. After all, if they’re giving us the Dead Space sequel we’ve been waiting for, imagine what else might lie in store.
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Bella Blondeau is a lovable miscreant with a heart of gold… or so she says.
She likes long walks in dingy arcades, loves horror good and bad, and has a passion for anime girls of any and all varieties. Her favorite game is Nier: Automata, because she loves both robots and being sad.
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