The Callisto Protocol’s Final Transmission DLC Ending Controversy Explained

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The Callisto Protocol

The Callisto Protocol, hailed as one of the most highly anticipated horror game releases in recent memory, has encountered a series of challenges since its underwhelming debut in December. Developed by Striking Distance Studios, the game’s AAA-level graphics initially generated lofty expectations among fans, only to fall short upon its release. This left many Dead Space enthusiasts, hoping for a worthy spiritual successor, feeling disappointed. While Striking Distance has offered ongoing support for the title in the months following its launch, the conclusion of the recent Final Transmission DLC may indicate that the studio is ready to move on.

Final Transmission picks up where the cliffhanger ending of The Callisto Protocol left off, with the protagonist, Jacob, implied to have valiantly sacrificed himself. The DLC appeared to provide a conclusive resolution and possibly address some of the criticisms the game had faced. Acting under the orders of Dr. Caitlyn Mahler, Jacob sets out to escape on a transport ship after recovering incriminating data drives that expose the sinister Commonality organization central to the main game’s story. As Jacob traverses the ever-changing layout of Black Iron, he begins to exhibit signs of mental instability. Eventually, he is forced to confront a biophage-infected Mahler near his escape route. Miraculously, Jacob manages to flee on the ship that originally crashed into Callisto, but what unfolds next turns out to be a cliché of epic proportions.

The ending of Final Transmission delivers a classic cliché, leaving players initially rejoicing at what appears to be an unexpectedly happy conclusion to the dark and foreboding atmosphere of The Callisto Protocol. However, their joy is short-lived as it is revealed that the entire DLC was nothing more than a dying dream experienced by Jacob’s broken and mutilated body. Jacob is shown to be connected to a gruesome life support system, with his limbs missing and his body partially eviscerated. Mahler, utilizing Jacob’s CORE link to the surviving character Dani, has been extracting data while the collapsing Black Iron Prison crushes her following the upload of the data around which Final Transmission revolves.

While there remains a possibility for The Callisto Protocol to continue despite the demise of its main character, many fans believe that the DLC serves as an indication of Striking Distance’s departure from the IP. The ending of Final Transmission effectively concludes The Callisto Protocol as a closed project rather than leaving room for potential future growth. Consequently, the likelihood of a sequel, such as The Callisto Protocol 2, seems highly improbable.

The controversial nature of the Final Transmission’s ending has left Callisto fans dissatisfied, as the revelation that the entire expansion was essentially a dream is widely regarded as one of the most disliked storytelling tropes. This unexpected turn of events, combined with the protagonist’s actual demise following the base game’s cliffhanger, has led some fans to speculate that the game may have originally been conceived with more hopeful and promising plans that were ultimately discarded.

Regrettably, The Callisto Protocol, which aimed to pay homage to the survival horror genre, has proven to be a disappointment for its dedicated fan base. Nevertheless, it deserves recognition for its attempt to introduce a fresh IP in an industry often saturated with remasters, remakes, and safe bets. While its execution may not have met expectations, it is evident that the developers put forth considerable effort.

The Callisto Protocol is available on various platforms, including PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, giving players the opportunity to experience this ambitious yet divisive horror game.

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