Striking Distance CEO, Glen Schofield, has taken to Twitter to clarify the season pass details, indicating that this content is not being withheld from the game and will be worked on in the new year. Regardless, I still find locking game modes behind a season pass for a single player game ridiculous considering most games these days are releasing these sort of things as free updates. If you want to release a paid story expansion, just do that and not section off a bunch of minor updates to these season passes.
The games industry has continued to find more and more ways to nickel and dime players for content over the years, and locking new animations behind a paywall isn’t exactly news. Call of Duty Warzone has “execution” animations locked behind its premium season passes. Since it’s a multiplayer game, we’ve come to accept this as normal because I suppose finding new ways to execute your opponents is now a personalization option tied to “premium” cosmetics. The Callisto Protocol, on the other hand, is a single-player game you’re most likely to play once and that’s it. Publisher Krafton has just released details on the “season pass” for The Callisto Protocol, which includes locking some of its gruesome death animations behind a paywall, but also two additional game modes.
Locking animations behind a paywall in a single-player game like The Callisto Protocol is just getting beyond ridiculous at this point. In fact, it’s gross considering VGC rightly points out the game has been heavily marketed on these exact animations in pretty much every trailer that’s been put out for the game.
It’s not just animations locked behind a premium paywall in The Callisto Protocol either. The full season pass includes additional game modes that we would typically see as unlockable content in single-player games just for completing the game. Let’s not forget that The Callisto Protocol isn’t an ever-expanding open-world single-player game either. It’s a scripted linear survival horror experience. There is no “progression system” other than completing the game’s story.
In total, the season pass includes the following:
Outer Way Skin Collection: Bear the armor 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 customized 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.
Look, I don’t mind the season passes in multiplayer games. They’re fairly unobtrusive, and the games that I’ve been playing that include them recently like Rocket League, Marvel Snap, and Rainbow Six Siege are fairly generous with their offerings. I can even stomach season passes like the recent ones in the Assassin’s Creed games because they include big meaty expansions down the line. I don’t like season passes, but for games that continue on long past their shelf life and continue delivering frequent content updates, it’s tolerable.
As per usual with the games industry though, these things continue to evolve in grotesque ways as publishers continually seek to extract every extra dollar they can out of games until they’re stripped down to the bare minimum of content and chopped up into little bits. And while those of us online are well aware of these practices, the average consumer is not and thinks they’re getting “extras.”
I’m not putting this one on the developers at Striking Distance; I’m more than sure the game’s publisher, Krafton (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), is behind this weird season pass business to extract more money from consumers on a single-player title. And I for one am more than happy to put them on blast for this ridiculousness, as stripping linear single-player titles of content is even nastier than the gruesome death animations they’re trying to sell you.