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Small Details Only True Fans Noticed In Callisto Protocol

"The Callisto Protocol" is out now and reactions have been all over the place. But regardless of your initial response, the new survival horror title from "PUBG" publisher Krafton and "Dead Space" creator Glen Schofield is very much in the vein of the titles in the dormant EA horror franchise. The technically gorgeous game is a next-gen exclusive featuring well-known actors Josh Duhamel, Karen Fukuhara, and Sam Witwer trying to survive a horrific infestation on a space prison. And already, the fanbase is starting to uncover the secrets hidden in "The Callisto Protocol."

Tiny easter eggs hidden throughout the game reference sci-fi influences ranging from the aforementioned "Dead Space" to "Star Wars." In the days since release, internet sleuths have found many of these hidden messages and sly references and decoded their meanings. These are all the small details that only true pop culture fans noticed in "The Callisto Protocol."

Beware of spoilers ahead for "The Callisto Protocol."

There was a Dead Space easter egg in the first trailer

Fans actually found the first "Dead Space" easter egg in "The Callisto Protocol" way back in 2020. Obviously the game wasn't out then, but eager "Dead Space" fans were examining all the trailers for it with a fine-tooth comb. This sleuthing goes as far back as December of 2020, when the first trailer for "The Callisto Protocol" was dropped at the 2020 Game Awards.

Not 48 hours after this trailer debuted, fans took to the "Dead Space" subreddit to share their findings. One Redditor zoomed in on a paused section of the trailer to find this easter egg. The text is blurry, but scrawled on the wall are the words "IC was here ... JC was here too."

Immediately fans took this to be a reference to "Dead Space 3" and its two protagonists. "IC" are clearly meant to be the initials for "Dead Space" series main character Isaac Clarke. In the third game of the series (which featured co-op), the other playable character is John Carver, or "JC." Seeing this little easter egg in the very first trailer marked the first of many references to "Dead Space" fans would go on to find in "The Callisto Protocol."

The bloody graffiti will also feel familiar to Dead Space fans

Ok, so maybe it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure this one out. Still, this "Dead Space" easter egg is one of most overt references to another video game or related piece of media in "The Callisto Protocol."

In the fourth chapter of "The Callisto Protocol," entitled "Habitat," players will stumble across a room with blood graffiti written on the wall. After shimmying past a corpse, you find yourself in this room facing a desecrated corpse with the phrase "shoot the tentacles" written in blood above it. This immediately leads into a tutorial on how exactly shooting the tentacles protruding from enemies will give you a tactical advantage. But anyone who has played the original "Dead Space" can't help but see this as anything but a reference to the infamous "Cut off their Limbs" graffiti in the first game of EA's space horror series. This has become such an iconic moment in the series that it was part of the reveal trailer for 2023's "Dead Space" remake.

This type of environmental storytelling is a novel way to communicate information to the player without needing an intrusive tutorial or rambling NPC to fill you in. In the case of "Dead Space," it was effective indeed, adopted and eclipsed by future games and eventually turning this bit of graffiti into a parody of itself. Nearly 15 years later, Glen Schofield is clearly calling back to his team's early attempt at this type of narrative design with this easter egg in "The Callisto Protocol."

PUBG still lingers in The Callisto Protocol

When it was first announced, "The Callisto Protocol" was supposed to be set in the "PUBG" universe (whatever that was supposed to mean). The spacebound horror teased in the trailers had almost nothing in common with the wastelands of "PUBG." Both IP are property of Krafton (formerly known as Bluehole), publisher of "The Callisto Protocol," but ties between the two were officially severed well before the release of Striking Distance Studios' debut.

In May 2022, "The Callisto Protocol" parted ways from "PUBG" officially, and the developers confirmed the games no longer have any obvious ties. However, this didn't stop the team from putting in an easter egg reference the popular battle royale game.

As some eagle eyed "Callisto Protocol" players have noticed, there is a nod to "PUBG" hidden in one of the rooms in the game. Some players found a helmet identical to one from the battle royale on a table. The welder's helmet is an exact replica of the helmet the character from the "PUBG" cover art is wearing. This is a common type of headwear found in the game and has arguably become more synonymous with "PUBG" than any other item from the title, so fans in the know will probably be excited to see it pop up in Black Iron Prison.

Darth Maul Forever

One of the most important characters in "The Callisto Protocol" is Cpt. Leon Ferris, Sam Witwer via voice and performance capture. While he might just seem like a minor threat who only appears at the start of the game, Ferris ends up being important to explaining the entire story by the end, even serving as the game's final boss. Fans of Witwer's Darth Maul on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," not to mention his voice talents in other games like "Days Gone," might not be surprised to learn that he ends up having a large role in "The Callisto Protocol." What these fans might not have noticed is just how much attention was paid to acknowledging the actor's former triumphs. One easter egg in particular references Darth Maul, whom Sam Witwer has voiced many times in "Star Wars" media over the years.

As some perceptive fans online have noticed, the data bios log for Ferris pay tribute to this iconic Sith. Under the character information, Ferris's birthplace is listed as Rimohtad, Iowa (presuming that's still what "IO" stands for in the future). This is not simply just a fun fictional name, but the name of the city is actually the name of "Star Wars" planet Dathomir spelled backwards.

I love a good Easter Egg! from
TheCallistoProtocol

Dathomir is of special significance to Witwer, since that is where the character of Darth Maul was born. Returning to Dathomir plays an important part in the character's arc in "Clone Wars," and this little easter egg hidden in "Callisto Protocol" appears to be a clear nod to just how much Witwer's Darth Maul means to the actor and the developers of the game.

Sam Witwer's character uses the Force ... sort of

In even more Sam Witwer fan service, "The Callisto Protocol" pays homage yet again to one of the actor's most famous characters. He is known not just for voicing Darth Maul in "The Clone Wars" but for the physicality he puts into all his voice performances. Witwer has even leaned into his identity as the character at events like Star Wars Celebration, performing the voice and some of that imposing physicality for delighted fans.

This carries over in the form of further "Star Wars" parallels in "The Callisto Protocol." Witwer's Ferris is more than just a soldier working at Black Iron prison. His involvement with the experiments on Callisto go much deeper than that. He also uses tech against Jacob that allows his to throw the prisoner around with the flick of his wrist. In practice, these abilities wind up having a lot in common with one of a Sith's most powerful tools: the Force.

It's not quite the Force, but many of Ferris' moves mimic the way the Force works in most of "Star Wars," from clenching his fist to waving his arm to make his enemy fly across the room. It brings to mind the other video game role where Witwer used the Force, as Vader's apprentice Starkiller in "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed." More than Maul, the telekinetic powers on display in a scene like this are reminiscent of Witwer's performance as Starkiller.

A city named for Dead Space's hero?

Oh, you thought we were done with the "Dead Space" easter eggs? No, not nearly. This possible reference isn't quite meaty enough to be officially called an easter egg, but it is a great find if you stop to catch your breath. As noted by journalist and culture editor Alex De Vore on Twitter, eagle-eyed players may be able to spot a poster for a faraway location named Clarke City. This is most likely another reference to Isaac Clarke, the main character from the "Dead Space" trilogy.

Isaac Clarke, as we've previously established, is a core pillar of the "Dead Space" franchise. It certainly could be a coincidence, but given the number of "Dead Space"-related details fans have already found in "The Callisto Protocol," it would make sense for this to be another fun callback to the game that heavily inspired it. 

Jacob's own name might be another Dead Space reference

Could Jacob Lee's very name be a reference to creative director Glen Schofield's original game in this mold? This possible reference may seem like a reach, but the more you think about, it the more it starts to make perfect sense.

Well, as Twitter user Joe Mousdell figured out, the choice of the name Jacob is quite possibly directly connected to the name of "Dead Space" protagonist Isaac Clarke. As Mousdell points out, Jacob is the son of Isaac in the bible. This bit of trivia makes a certain amount of sense, given the religious themes of the original "Dead Space" trilogy. Plus, Jacob is similar to Isaac in a lot of ways, so it is not wrong to say he is descended from the "Dead Space" protagonist.

Also, since "The Callisto Protocol" and "Dead Space" cannot really exist in the same universe, the term "spiritual sequel" gets thrown around quite a bit. With that in mind, the Biblical connection between the two characters' names begins to feel much less like a coincidence.