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The Callisto Protocol’s combat will be 'equal parts' melee and ranged

Upcoming sci-fi horror, The Callisto Protocol, won’t just be loading players up with guns and ammo, it’s been revealed. Instead, players will find themselves engaging in plenty of melee combat too. 

This news comes from The Callisto Protocol’s design director, Ben Walker, who told Game Informer during an in-depth look at the game's combat that it is “leaning into the survival side of things” and that the “overall tone” of the combat “is kind of a struggle.” It makes sense, then, that he reveals that “almost half of our combat is melee.”

That’s not to say the game won’t arm players with ammo for ranged combat, of course, but Walker notes that the balanced split “means you have to be smart about how you use your bullets. So, to that end, we've added our melee combos, when they finish, they kind of push the enemy away. So, that gives you a chance then to lock on really quick and get a nice clean shot on an enemy.”

In his chat with Game Informer, Walker also touched on the ways the team at Striking Distance are going to utilize the PS5's DualSense controller. "We're leaning in very heavily to all of that," he said. "As satisfying as it is to hear and see, feeling it just adds that extra level and that controller definitely gives us that ability so all of those little nuances and everything, we're working hard to put those in and make sure that they really stand out on the controller."

In terms of specifics, Walker says that "since we do have melee, we want to get the bones snapping. Feeling that in the controller, right? So, when you actually make that connection you'll kind of get that little crack feel in the controller."

The last we saw of The Callisto Protocol was during Summer Game Fest earlier this month when a new gameplay trailer was revealed. It was an exceptionally gory, visceral affair so the fact that the game's combat isn’t afraid to really lean into the up-close-and-personal nature of melee isn’t actually all that surprising. 

The Callisto Protocol is scheduled to release on December 2 2022 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Those Dead Space comparisons

As more of The Callisto Protocol has been shown over the past month, the game has been drawing comparisons to Dead Space, the remake of which is due to release in January next year. 

Aside from atmospheric similarities, The Callisto Protocol’s developer, Striking Distance Studios, has a few Dead Space veterans on staff. They include studio head, Glen Schofield, who was previously the general manager of Dead Space development studio, Visceral Games. The comparisons, then, are to be expected.

But with these new details about combat emerging, we’re increasingly able to see the points of difference. In a recent interview with PCGamesN, Striking Distance chief creative officer Chris Stone, who was previously the animation director on Dead Space, addressed the comparisons. 

Stone pointed out that the team have "all grown and evolved a lot as game makers and artists in the past ten or fifteen years and The Callisto Protocol reflects that", adding that he thinks the mixed combat system touched on above, as well as the story and its visuals, will set The Callisto Protocol apart.  

“We’ve built a deep combat system that blends up-close-and-personal melee action and long-range gunplay with a gravity weapon called the GRP (‘Grip’) that lets players seamlessly transition between the weapons," Stone explained.

“Low on ammo? Grab an enemy and pull them close for a devastating blow with the stun baton. Getting mobbed? Throw an enemy across the room and shoot off their legs to get some breathing room. And of course, if you see an environmental hazard, grab the enemy and throw them into it for a grisly instant kill.”

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