Sci-Fi Horror Game The Callisto Protocol Won’t Launch in Japan

The Callisto Protocol, the upcoming sci-fi survival horror game that is releasing at the end of this year, won’t be launched in Japan, thanks to CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization). Yesterday, the official The Callisto Protocol Japan Twitter account broke down the details of what caused this rift. The long end of the story is that title’s developer, Striking Distance Studio, did not want to compromise on the experience of the game. As such, they have agreed to refund anyone who has already pre-purchased the title.

Here’s the translated message, which reads -“The Callisto Protocol has decided to stop the release of the Japanese version. As of now, the CERO rating cannot be passed. We have decided that we would no longer be able to provide you with the experience you need. We hope everyone in Japan will understand. If you have already pre-ordered, we will refund you.”

Now, I know this may come as a shock, especially given that Japan is notorious for a very different culture. I won’t go into the things I’ve seen that are deemed ok, but again, it’s a different culture. This isn’t the first time that CERO has stepped in and requested a developer to make changes to a game for it to pass their ratings. We’ve seen this happen time and time again. The Mortal Kombat games, the Last of Us Part 1 and 2, Nioh, and any game that shows gore, blood, or nudity will be subjected to the CERO strict requirements. If a developer doesn’t change the gore/blood, it doesn’t get approved. When CERO clamps down, it clamps down hard.

Ironically, most North American games get upset if we can see breasts or a panty shot in a game, while Japanese gamers are even more censored. Of course, The Callisto Protocol is still available for anyone in Japan, but they’ll have to import it. Unfortunately, that does mean that the game won’t feature any Japanese-dubbed lines or subtitles.

The Callisto Protocol red band trailer image

Now, I understand why this happens. You need to have regulations to keep things in check, and as history has shown, developers have compromised to get their games released in Japan. I assume that developers in Japan are used to this and know how to cut the right content, while those not used to CERO ultimately end up scratching their heads. Again, I applaud SDS for not giving up ground — but it does suck for those in Japan.

The Callisto Protocol takes place on Jupiter’s moon, Callisto, where the protagonist of the game, Jacob, attempts to escape a horrific place called Black Iron Prison. There, he’ll find challenges, deadly traps, and a collection of creatures called the Biophage, which are quite deadly. Developed by Striking Distance Studios with Glen Schofield at the helm, who also created the original Dead Space title before EA shut down Visceral Studios in 2017. Many, including me, call The Callisto Protocol, the spiritual successor to Dead Space.

The Callisto Protocol releases on December 2nd, 2022, for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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