Prey has had a funny, old history. The original game, released in 2006, introduced us to Tommy, a Cherokee car mechanic everyman who had his turn as the hero, taking down the Sphere, an alien mothership that threatened to rob Earth of its materials.
Along came Arkane to reboot the whole thing entirely.
Arkane’s Prey is expected to tie itself into the core concepts and themes of the original, though it’s going to certainly be its own beast. Alas, here’s what you need to know about Prey.
It’s Arkane, But It Isn’t
After the development of the original Dishonored wrapped up, Arkane Studios split into two teams. One went on to develop Dishonored 2, and the other moved to a new IP based on the same gameplay and narrative values that the Dishonored series holds dear.
For this new IP, they adopted the concept behind one of their earlier titles that featured a “big, interconnected dungeon that the player could roam so long as they could unlock everything”. They soon realised that this, coupled with a space setting and aliens, bore a resemblance to the original Prey, by Human Head Studios.
And, as they were able to use the name, so it was.
The Shape of Yu
Following the progressive steps of most games of late, including Bethesda’s own Fallout. As Morgan is, in a clever twist, a unisex name, players have the option of playing through as either a man or a woman.
To add another notch on the diversity belt, Yu is of a Chinese and German descent.
It’s A Reimagining, Not A Sequel
Seeing as the project didn’t start out as a Prey title, it’s safe to say it categorically is not a sequel, nor a remake. It’s, if anything, more of a reimagining of the original property.
It won’t likely feature gravity-bending walkways or aliens invading to the dulcet tunes of Blue Oyster Cult. Though, within it, somewhere, some blueprint of the original Prey should exist.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
Fresh off tearing the Doom soundtrack to shreds last year, Australia’s own Mick Gordon is back for yet another Bethesda Softworks shooter.
It’s a huge departure from Gordon’s face-searing djent metal outing served hot, straight from the mouth of Hell, with Prey taking a much different route. The distortion pedal is on bypass, as a heart-pounding synth carries the sound forward, giving the game a rich 80s vibe. To my ear, it’s reminiscent of something you’d hear in Hotline Miami or even Blood Dragon.
Gordon’s score for Prey is one of the things I’m most excited about.
For Fans Of…
As part of its promotion cycle, Bethesda Softworks hosted a triple-feature at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, featuring films that have, in some way, inspired Prey’s development.
The films in question were The Matrix, Moon and Starship Troopers. I don’t know about you, but the combination of those would make for a pretty wild action flick unafraid of flexing its intellectual muscle.
Mimic Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery
One of Prey’s most fascinating features is certainly the Typhon, the hostile non-terrestrials under study aboard Talos-1.
Like most enemies, they range from small to behemoth, with the Mimics, a smaller strain, possessing the power to take the form of anything in an attempt to ambush Morgan. Be it a bin or a coffee cup, any inanimate object could be an inky, spidery creature lying in wait.
It ramps up the tension considerably and keeps the atmosphere on Talos-1 thick and claustrophobic.
Speaking of tension, there’s no doubt the Nightmare strain of Typhon is going to cause well, nightmares. It’s the biggest and worst of them all. As Morgan covers more ground and unlocks more mods, the Nightmare becomes attracted to Yu’s movements and begins to hunt, rendering Yu the eponymous ‘prey’.
There’s a big Nemesis vibe coming from Nightmare, as it’s sure to create a sense of dread and unease.
Prey’s battlefield, Talos-1, is going to be a wonder to explore, likely to recapture that original feeling of traipsing through BioShock’s Rapture for the first time. In the game’s context, Talos-1 is a research and development facility, leading the research into the dangerous Typhon organism.
Part built in the 60s before the research program was scuttled, Talos-1 has a lot of beautiful art deco and retrofuturistic decor. It’s very reminiscent of Rapture in that sense, and fans of Irrational’s world building are sure to be in awe of Talos-1.
The map is contiguous which is, again, not too dissimilar to BioShock. Each area flows on from the next and the game follows one direct objective as areas unlock in a very Metroidvania way, as skills and wares become readily available.
What Kind of Survivor Will You Be?
Prey’s lead designer Ricardo Bare has stated that Prey is going to feature multiple endings.
There’ll be two main arcs your player can take, though the permutations beyond those main branches are numerous. Your decisions aboard Talos-1, along with the way you treat your fellow survivors, factor into just which ending you’ll be watching when the credits near.
Revenge of the Fifth
Right after Star Wars day, Prey launches on May 5 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.