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Why does The Callisto Protocol run better on PS5? Maybe because of all those bonus PlayStation devs

As the world gets to know The Callisto Protocol, it's become clear there is one dominant version of the game on console – but why?

It's been something of an open secret that Sony and PlayStation have been contributing to the development of The Callisto Protocol. The platform holder's Visual Arts Services Group was confirmed to be part of the game's development in November – and now that the game is out in the wild, you can see how much impact the team has had on the final product.

The Callisto Protocol, developed by new studio Striking Distance Games and published by Krafton, got the Digital Foundry treatment this week, and the results are plain to see; the PS5 version of the game far outshines the Xbox Series X/S one. There have been some patches to the game, pre-release, but from what we can see even today (on release day), there are notable differences to performance between the console versions of the game.

Check out the video below to see what we mean:

Cover image for YouTube videoThe Callisto Protocol - The DF Tech Review + PS5 vs Xbox Series X/ S + PC #StutterStruggle Analysis

But why is there such a difference? Well, the 150 staff from Visual Arts could have something to do with it – after all, they're far more experienced in developing games for PlayStation hardware than anything else. Images of the credits (first posted on ResetEra, then verified by VG247) note that roughly 150 employees from the internal Sony studio helped out on development.

The Visual Arts Services Group – which recently made headlines as Sony searches for a new studio to develop "a high visibility project [...] in collaboration with Naughty Dog" – has been something of a hero for Sony in the last few years. Credits on the Uncharted series and the Spider-Man games illustrate just how good the team is when firing on all cylinders (though it's worth noting Sony let Naughty Dog take over The Last of Us, Part 1's development as it believed Visual Arts wasn't quite up to scratch for the project).

But Sony committing the team to work on The Callisto Protocol is an interesting development; this is no first-party game, after all. Sony has the marketing deal for The Callisto Protocol (ergo: all the ads you see for it carry PlayStation branding) so it stands to reason the platform holder wants the Dead Space spiritual successor to do well. It's interesting that better performance and optimisation on PS5 is the result of that, though.

What makes this whole mess even more interesting is that the game is almost unplayable on PC, according to some players.

There's been a lot of spite between PlayStation and Xbox lately – let's just hope this new disparity between console games isn't something we can come to expect in the future.

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The Callisto Protocol

PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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About the Author
Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt


Dom is a veteran video games critic with 11 years' experience in the games industry. A published author and consultant that has written for NME, Red Bull, Samsung, Xsolla, Daily Star, GamesRadar, Tech Radar, and many more. They also have a column about games and music at The Guardian.