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Prey Impressions – Putting The Alien Back In Science Fiction

Andrew Reiner
 

When Arkhane Studios debuted Prey at Bethesda Softworks' E3 press conference earlier this year, few details were given, but the brief footage that was shown was enough to make us sympathize with a character named Morgan Yu. the trailer hammered home the repetition in his life by showing his daily routine numerous times. The one thing that changes day to day is his health. On each subsequent visit to the bathroom, Yu's eye is redder. The last time we see him, it's blood red, and we can see the concern on his face. We then see that he's the subject of some kind of experiment, trapped within a sprawling white chamber.

Three silhouetted men view Yu from the window, welcoming him back again. This tease mostly told us that Arkane Studios was doing something dramatically different with the Prey franchise, but we didn't really know what – outside of the brief glimpse of Yu blasting aliens that appeared to be made of smoke and goo. Just an hour ago, Raphael Colantonio, the president and co-creative director at Arkane Studios, and Ricardo Bare, the lead designer of Prey, took the stage at QuakeCon 2016 to give show attendees an exclusive first look at Prey's gameplay in action. The demo, which ran for roughly seven to eight minutes, again confirmed that Arkane is divorcing itself completely form the original 2006 Prey game created by Human Head Studios. It reminded me of BioShock, partially from the aesthetic of a utopian setting crumbling by playing god, and the player harnessing those destructive powers to be a force in this dangerous, yet beautiful world. The first shot we see is of Yu awakening on a space station named Talos One that is orbiting our moon.

Yu's surroundings are rich: gold statues, gold engraved floor, and the signs of a rich society are all present here, but so are a retro science-fiction design. Everything looks expensive, but it also looks old and from another age. "Because of the open-ended nature of the game, you can pretty much go anywhere on the space station you want," Bare adds. "Right now, our mission is to find a scientist named Doctor Calvino. Yu who awoke on the floor, and appears to have recently been in a scrap, is equipped with an object that resembles a lead pipe. That's all he has.

He turns away from giant bay windows that give a good look at deep space, and accesses a staircase. After ascending a few stairs, a gold trashcan rolls down. Yu nervously swings at it, and makes contact, but the only thing that happens in the trashcan's trajectory is altered. We soon learn that he did this because enemies can turn into ordinary objects. Anything in the environment could be an adversary laying in wait. As terrifying as this sounds, the first enemy we see is a tiny four-legged spider, again appearing to be made of that gooey…

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