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You Won't Guess The Origins Of This New Roguelike Shooter

Screenshot: Striking Distance Studios / Kotaku
Screenshot: Striking Distance Studios / Kotaku

Usually, spin-offs and sequels feel like they are cohesive parts of a larger universe of franchises. But there are exceptions. For example, take Project Birdseye, a new top-down roguelike action game from Striking Distance Studios. Surprisingly, this upcoming game is a spin-off of 2022’s Callisto Protocol, aka that game that looked a lot like Dead Space.

Remember Callisto Protocol? Announced in 2020, this creepy space game was developed by Striking Distance Studios—led by Dead Space creator Glen Schofield—and was originally part of the PUBG universe. That didn’t stick, and by the time the game launched in 2022 it was its own thing. Reviews were mixed, sales weren’t amazing, and players complained of performance issues. After the game’s release, Striking Distance laid off people and the future of the franchise seemed in doubt. But now, we know that the Callisto Protocol universe isn’t entirely dead, but the next game set in this horror franchise is going to be very different.

On March 19, Striking Distance Studios revealed one of the projects it’s working on: Project Birdseye. Set in the same universe as its debut 2022 horror game, this new, very colorful top-down roguelike action game seems to have more in common with Hades or Hi-Fi Rush than Dead Space and Resident Evil.

In the trailer we see brightly colored monsters attacking the player as they explore various sci-fi levels looking for gear and upgrading skills. Nothing too groundbreaking, but the combat looks fun and the visuals give the game a nice style. I’m intrigued! I’d play this.

As explained by the devs in the debut trailer, Project Birdseye is not Callisto Protocol 2. Instead, this is an early look at a still-in-development game that the company hopes will “expand the world” of that franchise. The name is just an internal project codename that will change in the future.

Big teams making small games is cool

Striking Distance Studios says Project Birdseye will let the team “stretch our creative muscles on something a bit different” without interfering with the company’s ongoing development of a bigger, AAA video game. We have no idea what that game is and there is no hint from the studio as to what it could be in this video.

Regardless, I’m super into large teams being given the time, space, and resources to make smaller games and try different stuff. As video games become more and more expensive to develop and the risk of one title flopping and taking a whole team down becomes more and more real, this might be the road forward. As teams get big, let them try out smaller ideas on smaller budgets, and if something succeeds and becomes a hit, you make some money and keep the lights on. If it fails to connect with folks, well, no big deal, you didn’t spend $170 million on it. And your team was able to ship something, get more experience working together, and will be (hopefully) even better at making stuff. Oh, and fans get to play different, smaller games more often, too. Seems like a win/win to me!

Project Birdseye is still in development and no release window or date was given.

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