The Callisto Protocol: game developers reveal behind-the-scenes secrets about the technologies used

In an interview with IGN, the developers talked about the technology that will be used in the game’s bloody combat and amputation system.


Although Electronic Arts is making a remake of Dead Space, we’d all rather have a good sequel. We finally get it from the original creator Glen Schofield’s team at Striking Distance, The Callisto Protocol, which promises to be a bloody and gruelling sci-fi survival horror of its spiritual predecessor. Schofield has developed a special technology to make the game’s dissection even more authentic, a colleague of the creator told IGN.

The Callisto Protocol uses the latest version of the Unreal Engine 4.27, which is not yet version 5, but watching the gameplay videos, it doesn’t make it any less modern. Mark James, CTO of Striking Distance, spoke to IGN in the US about the technology behind survival horror. Of course, the studio consults with Epic Games, the creator of the Unreal Engine, during development, so they’ve thought about the Simple Demolitions System, the system responsible for destruction and damage. According to James, they’ve basically rebuilt the Unreal Engine mechanics from the ground up to fit the gory gameplay of The Callisto Protocol, so you can expect highly advanced blood splatter, dismemberment and limb tearing, as well as realistic flesh, muscle and bone amortization. These act as natural ‘HP strips’ for your opponents, so the more a monster becomes a slab of flesh, the more certain you are of victory. Of course, the player’s character will be similarly damaged, meaning The Callisto Protocol will not spare Jacob.

Striking Distance also had to get creative with the light-shadow system. The problem was that Unreal Engine 4 could only handle four shadow-forming light sources, so the game engine was modified to support more light sources but use fewer resources as lights. UE4 already had a ray tracing solution, but it was very different from the more modern version of Unreal Engine 5, which would have been needed for Callisto Protocol. So the developers came up with their own technology, called Hybrid Ray Traced Shadows, which is the reason for the game’s impressive light-shadow system. In this context, Mark James revealed that Epic Games had also made some of the engine’s version 5 enhancements available to them, so they could complete the 4.27 version. Of course, we are talking about minor optimizations here, not major changes.

The Callisto Protocol is coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on 2 December 2022. Read about the films, games and real-life events that inspired the game here. Here are some more details about the game and its development from Glen Schofield. And this article shows how we’ll have to be very frugal with ammunition, which is only natural for survival horror.

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