Upcoming Dead Space-Like Horror Game Locking Some Death Animations Behind A Season Pass [Updated]

Upcoming Dead Space-Like Horror Game Locking Some Death Animations Behind A Season Pass [Updated]

Update: November 25th, 2022 at 8:55 a.m. AEST

The CEO of Striking Distance Studios, Glen Schofield, has clarified in a tweet that the developers are ‘not holding anything back’ when it comes to death animations in the game, elaborating that the Season Pass content has not started development yet, and has come at the request of fans in their community.

We couldn’t see an update on the US site yet, so figured we’d add it in here for transparency. The original post follows below.

Original: November 24th, 2022 at 9:25 a.m. AEST

Callisto Protocol, out next month on consoles and PC, is a horror game that looks and plays a lot like the beloved Dead Space franchise. And like Dead Space, Callisto Protocol will feature some gnarly-looking deaths, both for you when you screw up and bite it, and for your alien foes when you slaughter them. But some of these gruesome and chilling death animations will be locked behind the game’s season pass according to new details spotted on the game’s Steam store page. And that’s kinda dumb and weird.

In the year of our lord two-thousand and twenty plus two, nearly every big and small game released includes some mix of DLC, paid expansions, and season passes. This is just how things work these days. It’s been like this for so long that most of us barely even recognise just how much shit publishers are trying to sell us all beyond the actual game. But then a company sticks death animations behind a paywall and it’s a good reminder of just how silly and greedy the game industry can be some days. Case in point, yeah, apparently some death animations in the upcoming horror game Callisto Protocol are only available to players who buy the season pass.

As spotted by VGC, over on the horror game’s Steam page, you can find updated details about what you get when you buy the various versions of the game and its season pass. And according to the details listed on Steam, 25 different death animations are being sold via two different DLC packs. 13 of these animations are for the main character of Issac Clarke Jacob while the other 12 are additional enemy death animations. The season pass is included with the digital deluxe edition, which costs $US80 ($111) on PC. (The base game is $US60 ($83).)

Here’s what the text currently says on the game’s Steam page:

The Season Pass includes:

Outer Way Skin Collection: Bear the armour of the Outer Way, an underground insurgency pitted against the UJC, as you fight to survive the horrors of Callisto.

Contagion Bundle: Discover the ultimate survival horror experience with a new mode, Contagion. With reduced ammo and health drops, a customised difficulty and permadeath – there are no second chances to escape Black Iron Prison or the horrors lurking beneath the surface of Callisto. The Contagion Bundle also includes thirteen new Jacob death animations and the Watchtower Skin Collection.

Riot Bundle: Venture into a previously undiscovered area of Black Iron Prison and battle through waves of brutal enemies. Gather credits to upgrade your weapons, or forge new ones, and survive the onslaught as long as you can in Riot, an all-new mode. The Riot Bundle also includes twelve new enemy death animations and the Engineer Skin Collection.

Story DLC: Dig deeper into the horrifying secrets of The Callisto Protocol.

Now to be clear: The season pass DLC comes with more than just death animations and the game is shipping with its own unknown amount of grisly kills. So it’s not like folks who buy just the base game and skip the DLC will be missing out completely. But it does seem very silly to lock death animations of all things behind a paywall, especially in a horror game that has spent much of its marketing showing off how violent and gory its kills will be in the full game.

Some may not care, or may suggest that it’s just a minor bit of content locked away from folks who only buy the vanilla game. But I can’t help but wonder what happens if this, like DLC and season passes more broadly, becomes the norm moving forward. This isn’t even the first time a publisher has charged players for extra animations. Sega did it earlier this year as part of the release of Sonic Origins.

What happens if this becomes yet one more thing we all put up with? What other “small” parts of the game can be cut from the main release and sold separately? Extra reload animations? Extra idle dialogue? Bonus pieces of scenery to help levels look less boring? Seems silly, but we are literally watching publishers lock animations behind DLC and paywalls. What’s next? I’m scared to find out.

Callisto Protocol is out December 2 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.

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