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A Deeper Look At Prey’s Striking ‘Neo Deco’ Design

Jeff Cork
 

From the outset, Arkane Studios took great pains to ensure that Prey wouldn’t be set in your typical video game space station. Instead of plain white corridors, Morgan Wu faces off against aliens in a diverse set of backdrops – from opulent living quarters to behind-the-walls sections that are solely focused on function. Talos I has a rich history of its own, which we explored in a previous feature, and the station’s past is represented through several visually distinct layers.   “We didn’t want to do sci-fi like everyone is doing it, so we came up with a narrative that drives the art and when you look at it you say, ‘Wow. I’ve never seen this before,’” says Raphael Colantonio, Prey’s creative director and president at Arkane Studios.

The station is essentially a Russian nesting doll, consisting of several different layers. Its core was built in the late 1950s, during the height of the space race between Russia and the United States. The two nations formed an alliance after a deadly encounter with an alien and a Russian satellite. The result of the Russian/U. S.

collaboration was the Kletka, a reinforced capsule designed to keep the threat contained. From there, a space station was constructed, before it was eventually decommissioned. Decades later, a corporation called TranStar took over, expanding the orbiting structure into the Talos I that we see today. (Check out this video for a more-detailed recap of the events. )  That history isn’t just there to provide fodder for the game’s audio logs and emails.

As players explore the various parts of Talos I, they can get a sense of passing through different eras – from the brushed aluminum and boxy lines of the ‘60s to a Neo Deco style that represents TranStar’s presence. “There’s Deco, but we wanted to do something a bit different,” says art producer Jessie Boyer. “For this, we started off with inspiration from a hotel in New York City called the Viceroy. They do this really great interpretation of Deco that’s really modern. ” Art Deco isn’t a style that’s foreign to games.

BioShock’s Rapture is a great example of the 1920’s-era style, which is characterized with clean…

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