2006 saw the release of the original Prey, a first-persoon shooter set in a space station with puzzle mechanics such as portals and variable gravity. While Prey was very enjoyable and had moderate success, a sequel never saw the light of day and was eventually canceled. A few years ago, the rights to the IP got into the hands of Bethesda and they set Arkane Studios (known for Dishonored) to work to do a ‘reboot’ of the franchise. And now at this year’s Gamescom, we’ve seen the first gameplay footage of the game.
They’re calling the game a reboot and not a sequel, which makes sense as it is not a sequel. It is however slightly confusing as this game is also called Prey, but it isn’t a recreation of that title. Instead, it’s a new story with a new protagonist and different mechanics within the same universe. So it is sort of not a reboot, but it also is, if that makes sense to you. Anyway, let’s talk about gameplay!
Just like the first game, the protagonist is trapped on a space station. That protagonist is Morgan Yu, who seems to have functioned as some sort of “lab-rat” for the aliens that held him captive. The aliens’ goal is to change humanity once and for all using Morgan, who obviously doesn’t exactly plan on going along with that. While we don’t know much more of the story, we do know that it takes place in a space station called Talos-1, a very different station than the original. It seems to have been suitably inhabitable at some point, but that some terrible disaster happened.
However, the ship is far from uninhabited and filled with aliens and robots, who are definitely not friendly to you and above all, have some cunning tricks up their sleeves. For example, the aliens that we’ve seen so far possess the ability to transform into objects, such as trash cans. This will probably make the player slightly paranoid at all times, as you never know for sure whether you’re truly alone. And since weapons and ammo are quite rare on the ship, you can’t simply go and shoot every thrash can on the station.
Abilities and gadgets
Fortunately, the aliens aren’t the only ones with fancy tricks up their sleeves. As a lab-rat, you’re able to learn several of the aliens’ abilities as well, including the transformation ability. This can be extremely useful not only in combat, but also for navigating around the station. You can transform into nearly every object in the game so the possibilities are endless, but one example that they showed is of Morgan transforming into a coffee cup and subsequently wiggling himself through a small gap at a reception desk. It is also possible to combine several abilities together, such as a small force push. By transforming Morgan into a small object and then using that push ability, it’s possible to launch Morgan through areas he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach.
Besides his abilities, he also has access to a number of gadgets including a sort of ‘recycler’ that collects all of the movable objects around it. After collection, it turns it to raw resources that Morgan can then use for crafting. This gadget once again as multiple purposes, as it can be used not only to clean out areas and collect resources, but it can also be used against robot enemies (which consist of more valuable resources) to completely disintegrate them.
The collected resources can be used to craft any item in the game using fabrication stations (think of them as highly advanced 3D printers). In the gameplay that was shown, they used the resources to craft a ‘jetpack’ for use in zero or low-gravity to traverse areas outside the space station.
Unfortunately, the gameplay demo ended with that bit, and they haven’t shown anything else than what I’ve elaborated on here. It does seem very promising though, as it’s refreshing to see a first-person shooter where it’s not all about blasting aliens into oblivion using a large arsenal of guns but rather outsmarting them by using abilities, gadgets and sometimes a gun in cunning ways. I for one have definitely short-listed this game, and if the rest of the game is as good as what was shown here, I’ve no doubt it’s going to do well when it comes out.
Prey is to be released on the PC, XBOX ONE and PlayStation 4 somewhere in 2017