“Prey feels, on a conceptual level, like madness.”
April 24, 2017 11:31 PM   Subscribe

Why Prey is Frontrunner for Game of the Year 2017 [GamesRadar+]Prey asks 'What if BioShock was fuelled not by weapons, traps, RPG-flavoured FPS and the guided use of weird abilities, but by an unguided set of powers that we don't even want to predict, let alone control? What if we gave players not a Metroid-like set of tools for passing certain obstacles, but left our obstacles open-ended, in terms of both interpretation and solution? What if we didn’t design a set of player abilities, and then built puzzles to fit, but rather designed our world with a rough idea of how things worked, and then played around to see what was really possible? And what if we then redesigned the game on the fly to accommodate everything we could?’ ”

• Prey puts the fun back into fighting for your life on a space station overrun by aliens [The Verge]
“When the game begins, Morgan is preparing to undergo some strange psychological and behavioral tests at the behest of her brother, Alex. Everything seems to be going fairly smoothly until an alien creature attacks one of the doctors. Soon, Morgan finds herself on the space station Talos I, which has been completely overrun by a shape-shifting alien species called the Typhon. It turns out that Morgan’s been the subject of these mysterious experiments far longer than she realizes, and has suffered massive holes in her memory as a result. She begins chasing down the clues and videos that she’s left for herself in order to understand what’s going on — and, one assumes, to eventually stop the Typhon.”
• Why is Arkane's upcoming Prey game a Prey game at all? [Polygon]
“"We talked to Arkane, and they were like, ‘Look, if we can just treat this as a reimagining, and sort of distill this IP down to its very basics, and go nuts with it, and make it our very own, we're totally on board with just doing Prey,'" Hines said. "'Not as a reboot, we can just reimagine it. We'll keep the basic principle of ‘Aliens are hunting you,' and do what we envisioned — that's what we should do. We like the name; if you distill and take out everything you know about the previous game, or the canceled game, and just said the name Prey, it's a cool name. We think it really fits what it is that we're making.'"”
• Prey's Talos I space station brings to mind some very good games [Destructoid]
“The setting. Prey takes place among the stars, up in a giant space station called Talos I (yes, everyone take note of the probable Elder Scrolls nod). It's the design of the space station that's notable. Watching this trailer, Talos I has a decided BioShock retro-opulent aesthetic. As the developers explain, it's because no expense was spared building it in an effort to attract the best employees. So, valuable materials like gold and marble were shipped to space to create the most luxurious station imaginable. (And, for what it's worth, the old man portraits give me vibes of Portal 2.) But it's the timing of it all that's maybe most interesting. This is a place where lots of people live and an alien outbreak just occurred. Many of them are still alive and the player encounters them starting the survival process. In a lot of ways, that's very Alien: Isolation.”
• If you miss old school PC games, Prey is worth your attention [PCGamesN]
“I really wasn’t expecting Prey to be as difficult as it is. You know how it is when you revisit old PC games and you realise how easy things have become since? Prey replicates that feeling. Arkane’s own Dishonored is by no means a walk in the park, but its action/stealth format means that you can leap from building to building while leaving decapitated heads in your wake. Dunwall and Karnaca are open environments with the space to physically approach in any way you see fit. Talos-1, on the other hand, is a confined space station. While it’s not a cramped shuttle - rather, you’re within quite a sprawling complex - its individual areas are small enough to make you feel claustrophobic. You’re locked in with shadowy creatures that can morph into inconspicuous items like chairs and mugs. And, most importantly, these creatures are hideously dangerous.”
• Prey [E3 Reveal Trailer]
• Prey [A Guided Tour of Talos I Trailer]
• Prey [The History of TranStar Trailer]
posted by Fizz (19 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'm waiting for the Rock Paper Shotgun's Wot I Think reviews. So far the previews have been in the form of spoilery videos, so I'm avoiding them. But if there's an outlet that pierces through the hype and tell you what the game really feels like, it's RPS.

Hopeful, though.
posted by kandinski at 2:35 AM on April 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

I mean it has been an absolutely stellar year so far for games. Resident Evil VII, Yakuza 0, Night in the Woods, Nioh, Horizon Zero Dawn, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Breath of the Wild, Nier: Automata, Snake Pass, Thimbleweed Park, Persona 5 are all memorable games from just the first four months of the year (and I am sure I am missing some favourites). When the new Mass Effect game gets no oxygen because there's too many other great games coming out at the same time, you know something's happening.

Any other year (well maybe not last year) Prey wouldn't have to deliver on its lofty promises to potentially be great. Now? Holy hell if you're not rock solid on what you're trying to achieve you'll be eaten alive either by a big studio with more money to throw at a problem, or a small studio that can hone in with specificity and care.
posted by Merus at 2:58 AM on April 25, 2017 [13 favorites]

Speaking as someone who lived through Dishonored 2 on PC at launch, please do yourself a favor and wait a week or so to see if it actually runs.

(I know Prey is Crytek and not ID 5, but still...)

I really hope this game does well, because last year we had two immersive sims that underperformed at retail, and Deus Ex did badly enough that the franchise is shelved at the moment. These are my favorite kind of games and they are damn hard to make.
posted by selfnoise at 5:01 AM on April 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Something to look forward to! Arkane Studios has an excellent track record. Dishonored and Dishonored 2 are both fantastic and a nice throwback to the Thief games the way Prey may be a throwback to.. Prey. Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic are both loved as well.

selfnoise is right that Dishonored 2's PC launch was marred with some serious technical problems. The console launch was much smoother. And there's some really amazing game in there, the Clockwork Mansion level (spoilers) is a tour-de-force of FPS level design.
posted by Nelson at 7:24 AM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here's hoping you're right selfnoise.

But I'm thinking positive vibes. This year has been pretty solid thus far. Resident Evil VII, Nier Automata, Hollow Knight, & Night in the Woods have all been stand out games. And they're all hitting different play-styles and genre.

Hollow Knight in particular has been a game that is on my lips a lot. I urge everyone to seek it out. Metroidvania bug-themed platformer. It's punishing but highly rewarded and the music is something everyone needs to hear. :)
posted by Fizz at 7:30 AM on April 25, 2017

This game looks really clever - I do hope it pays off!
posted by rebent at 7:42 AM on April 25, 2017

Ctrl-F "Deus Ex"
posted by Going To Maine at 8:31 AM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Still working through Numenera. Bards Tale IV comes out later this year, so there is competition ..
posted by k5.user at 8:33 AM on April 25, 2017

There are several one-hour preview play-throughs on YouTube that are pretty interesting, although certainly very Bioshock/System Shock-ish. Also, there's a lot to read in this game (lots of email to go along with the various video logs).
posted by thomas j wise at 9:47 AM on April 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Reading everyone's email and logs was one of my favorite parts of the original Deus Ex, and System Shock as well. Really helped to flesh out the world they were building, and make it all seem more connected.
posted by xedrik at 12:01 PM on April 25, 2017

According to Eurogamer, if you're in mug form, you can still sprint.
“Meanwhile, the Superthermal beam can summon in a pillar of heat to obliterate whatever's unfortunate enough to be standing in the destination you select. The most notable new toy, however, is Mimic Matter, which lets you play as a mug. No, really. You can beam your presence into that of a coffee cup and roll through tight spaces before resuming your human form.”
I really want to attempt to play this entire game as a coffee mug.
posted by Fizz at 12:55 PM on April 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Reading everyone's email and logs was one of my favorite parts of the original Deus Ex, and System Shock as well. Really helped to flesh out the world they were building, and make it all seem more connected.

Oh. My. God.

That one log is System Shock you find with that one TriOptimum employee describing watching himself turn into one of the transparent flying manta things.

It has been FOREVER since I have played and it still chills me thinking about it.
posted by Samizdata at 1:28 PM on April 25, 2017

Also, Arkane is responsible for one of my favorite games nobody ever played, or even heard of -

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. A 3D fantasy romp with a wonderful rich plot (IMO) and completely stellar levels of immersion....

(Plus there is nothing like sneaking up behind an orc on a mountain path and kicking him off the side of the mountain...)
posted by Samizdata at 1:30 PM on April 25, 2017

I'm willing to give Prey a chance. I just finished my first runthrough of Dishonored 2 and enjoyed it. Basically more of the same from Dishonored 1, but in this case that's a good thing.

I was also pleased to see that Dishonored 2 had women in the world. Dishonored 1 had a few maids, the inevitable prostitutes, a handful of noblewomen, and otherwise women were conspicuously absent. In Dishonored 2 there's a lot more women just around being people.

Arkane seems to do well with fun environments and interesting powers, and they seem to have realized that's their strength and are looking to play it up in Prey.

I won't preorder it, I've taken an oath to never pre-order anything ever again, and I'll wait until a few weeks have passed so the worst of the bugs are worked out of the system, but it looks like one of the games I'll be buying and enjoying.
posted by sotonohito at 6:46 AM on April 26, 2017

ug. I watched the 8 minutes of gameplay and I couldn't even make it thru that. This game looks really clever but I just can't handle that kind of stress anymore.
posted by rebent at 6:58 AM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wasn't the original Prey about a Native American hero
posted by Apocryphon at 9:25 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

It was, yes. Played by a Cree voice actor, even.

I think that hasn't seen a lot of discussion mainly because the new protagonists are half-Chinese and voiced by Chinese actors, so it doesn't quite fit into the standard whitewashing narratives.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:24 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Venturebeat: "Prey’s Asian protagonist is refreshing in a sea of bearded white dudes"
"For every creative decision we make, there’s not always a rational deduction that happens,” Bare explained. “Sometimes it’s just like, ‘This sounds cool!’ We just pick it. We wanted to have a character that wasn’t a typical Western white male guy who’s the lead. And we also wanted to let people select their gender, too, so that’s why we picked a gender-neutral name.”
Sounds like they added variety and choice for creative reasons, which is cool. And from what I've gathered the game is basically only called Prey because Bethesda or Zenimax wanted it to be branded that way- it's in a different setting and is more like System Shock. Would be nice to get a proper Prey 2 one day, but looks like Arkane wasn't trying to erase the original.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I thought it would be fair considering my earlier comment in this thread to give an update. I now have this game and I'm happy to report that it runs vastly better than Dishonored 2 on the PC. I'm able to run at Max settings on the recommended PC spec. I'm not sure the game looks quite as nice as D2, but I'll take it.

Also, it seems really neat!
posted by selfnoise at 5:10 AM on May 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

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