Gamers have recoiled over The Callisto Protocol‘s harsh Rules of Conduct imposed by developer Striking Distance Studios, which could potentially threatens players who “exploit errors and bugs” in ways the developers did not intend.
As noted by @SophiaNarwitz on Twitter, she was aghast at seeing “The rules of conduct for a single player video game.” While the full “Rules of Conduct” for The Callisto Protocol can be found on Striking Distance Studio’s website — and not to be confused with the terms of service — some sections particularly stood out.
As stipulated under the “Policies for Misconduct” section, players should “NOT EXPLOIT VULNERABILITIES IN THE GAME (BUGS AND GLITCHES).” Despite being a singe-player game with no online element, the document warns, “Users exploiting errors and bugs found while playing the Game will be liable for serious penalties.”
“We reserve the right to take action against those who take unfair advantage through official procedures, and all acquired in-game items and other data will be forfeited and removed.” This would essentially ban not just illicitly adding in DLC, but also modding the game to make the game easier.
Subsection 11 also dictates, “DO NOT PLAY THE GAME ABNORMALLY,” further specifying, “If any abnormal gameplay patterns are detected (i.e., gameplay that goes against the intentions of how our Game is meant to be played), measures could be taken against the account that performed such actions in order to create a fair gameplay environment.”
This essentially means that players are could risk getting banned for using bugs or glitches — a common practice during speedruns — or even for simply finding creative ways to solve puzzles and beat bosses in ways the developers did not envision.
Users discussing the tweet on the R/Games subreddit were also disgusted. While argument raged between how typical The Callisto Protocol‘s rules of conduct was to other games — with some individuals falsely claiming it to be identical to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ rules of conduct and others feeling the rules would only be applied in extreme cases, if at all.
“Never assume the terms of a contract won’t be enforced,” Reddit user liveart warned. “Lots of things that seem stupid and ‘unenforceable’ have gotten people into legal trouble. It probably won’t effect your average user but you are literally agreeing to be legally bound to this agreement and the fact this term exists is absurd, don’t just brush it off because you assume it won’t effect you.”
“This type of talk reminds me of people saying people would never get in trouble for single player GTA mods because Rockstar hadn’t previously pursued it,” liveart explained, “only for Take Two to go on a crusade against modders over the most petty s—t like swapping skins,” further emphasizing, “Never ignore the terms of a contract, no matter how stupid they look.”
Rule 7 of The Callisto Protocol rules of conduct also caught the eye of Steam users. “Be careful what perceived info you are ranting about,” WhjiteWolf warned other players.
The Rule (End User’s Responsibilities and Rights, subsection 7) is then quoted as “You may not distribute or publish false information not officially announced by Company in any manner that is likely to cause confusion to other end users, otherwise you may be find liable for engaging in such conduct.”
In other words, making “false claims” about the game online could potentially result in legal action.
The surprisingly harsh rules of conduct have only piled onto The Callisto Protocol’s controversy. Along with the game’s middling reviews from critics and users, Krafton’s shares fell 8.41% on the Korean stock exchange.
The game’s season pass including extra death animations were also met with allegations that they were held back specifically for the DLC, which Director Glen Schofield denied. Likewise, the game’s official Twitter account confirmed patches would be coming to fix the technical and performance issues.
YellowFlash2 notes in his video over The Callistro Protocol’s backlash that he was initially excited for The Callisto Protocol. He quickly lost interest after watching reviews and gameplay showing its bugs, performance issues and repetitive nature. While noting some critics had claimed the game was too hard, YellowFlash2 proposes this was merely due to it being clunky.
“This is why I hate embargo’d reviews by the way,” noting how Krafton’s stock fell mere moments after reviews had gone live. “I got lucky, that I was able to cancel my pre-order […] and thankfully I saved $70.” YellowFlash2 proposes the game needed another six months of development.
“Why is this game out right now? It’s because they want it out for Christmas- be damned if it’s broken! But because of greed, they just put it out broke, and people buy it- I’m done with that bulls–t.”