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Friday, May 17, 2024

The Callisto Protocol will sell you extra death animations as DLC

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Science fiction horror game The Callisto Protocol has been marketed as a spiritual successor to Dead Space, vowing to go gorier and nastier than the series it’s inspired by. We know a lot about The Callisto Protocol, but we today we learned more about its several bits of expansion content on the way post-release. 

One of those things is that the game’s DLC packs will include lots of additional gross-out death animations for both protagonist Jacob and the nasty monsters he fights. They’re sort of like skins for his armor—they actually come bundled with armor skins—and there are 25 of them in total: 13 new Jacob deaths in the Contagion Bundle, and 12 enemy deaths in the Riot Bundle. Both bundles are included with the Season Pass, which is part of the Digital Deluxe Edition, available for a mere $20 more than the standard edition. 

The Contagion bundle also includes an ultra-hard, permadeath game mode and some skins. The Riot Bundle, meanwhile, includes a wave-survival mode and some skins. Also included in the Season Pass are the Other Way Skin Collection, an armor look themed after an insurgent movement; and a very-vague-for-now Story DLC.

There are of course many perfectly reasonable explanations, other than just a blatant cash grab, for selling death animations as bonus content. Animators and artists and that entire pipeline of developers need something to do, or else you just, what, fire them? That kind of cyclical hiring and firing has been awful for the games industry in the past. These animations are probably what they’ve been working on since the game content was finalized to polish and look for bugs.

Indeed, Striking Distance Studios CEO Glen Schofield offers up another reason: They think this is what fans want, so they’re making more of it and they haven’t started on it yet.

To be clear: We’re not holding anything back from the main game for the season pass. We haven’t even started work on this content yet. It’s all new stuff that we’ll be working on in the new year. Fans have asked for EVEN MORE deaths, so we’re making it a priority next year.November 23, 2022

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It’s actually kind of nice that the developers think their gruesome murders are so cool you’ll be happy to pay for more of them. It’s a kind of confidence in their work. But it’ll still rankle some people, who will be unhappy that these animations were worked on, possibly even completed, before the base game was even on sale. I guess this truly is the legacy of Dead Space, which had lots of microstransaction skins for an already-premium singleplayer game—and if people are unhappy about it, well, it won’t be the first time

The Callisto Protocol is set to launch on December 2.  

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