The Callisto Protocol canceled in Japan due to inability to pass CERO Ratings Board

The Japanese video games ratings board has made demands of censorship with which Striking Distance Games and Krafton are unwilling to comply.

Image via Krafton

Many have anticipated The Callisto Protocol as original Dead Space creator Glen Schofield continues to put his horror chops to work in this new IP alongside studio Striking Distance Games. However, it looks like the game will not be available in Japan. Striking Distance Games and publisher Krafton have announced the cancellation of a Callisto Protocol release in Japan due mostly to the fact that the game has come up against censorship issues with Japanese video game ratings board CERO.

Striking Distance and Krafton announced their decision to cancel the release of The Callisto Protocol in Japan via the game’s Japanese Twitter. Reportedly, The Callisto Protocol was being held back from a rating for its use of excessive violence and brutal imagery. CERO made demands that certain content be cut or revised, but Striking Distance signaled that it would not be complying with these demands. Krafton and Striking Distance will supply refunds to players who pre-ordered the game in Japan.

The Callisto Protocol's Japanese Twitter announcing the game's cancellation in Japan.
Striking Distance Games and Krafton explain that The Callisto Protocol cannot pass the CERO Ratings Board in its current state and that the changes necessary to pass would not provide the experience players expect.
Source: Twitter

Japan’s CERO board has not banned many large-scale games in the country, but it has forced several games to cut content in compliance with its standards, including Grand Theft Auto, Dead Island, and even Call of Duty. Moreover, it has been said that those standards have gotten more strict since the board was established in 2002, as shared by Tokyo-based analyst Dr. Serkan Toto. In turn, The Callisto Protocol is highly gory, featuring a lot of intense effects we spoke more on in our recent preview.

“Local ratings agency CERO did not like the level of violence in the game, and the developer refuses to comply with their demands,” Dr. Toto explained. “Many people don't know a LOT of games are censored in Japan. In the 1990s, Japan was a lot softer when it comes to video game censorship. CERO was founded in 2002 and has become stricter and stricter over the years.”

So, it seems Japanese players are out of luck in terms of a retail release of The Callisto Protocol. With the game set to release on December 2, 2022 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, it will remain to be seen if there are any changes in this matter. Stay tuned as we continue to follow the story for further updates.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      October 27, 2022 8:28 AM

      Why can't they just restrict sales to 18+ like a normal country?

    • rms legacy 10 years legacy 20 years mercury super mega
      October 27, 2022 8:33 AM

      This makes me *more* interested in the game tbh. Does China have a similar ratings board, that would be a heavy blow if banned there too

      • reply
        October 27, 2022 8:35 AM

        China has a government based review system that is very harsh and will block games easily if too violent.

      • reply
        October 27, 2022 9:30 AM

        The parent company of the Callisto studio is Chinese. If it’s going to get banned, they already knew about it from the beginning and didn’t care.

        But it’s more likely to either be approved or just censored in whatever way they please. I doubt the devs will care or object.

        • rms legacy 10 years legacy 20 years mercury super mega
          October 27, 2022 11:37 AM

          I see on steam forums that Dead Space was also not cleared in Japan, so I guess a big shrug all around

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