The main character of Prey can be a man or a woman, but more importantly, they can also be a coffee mug or a literal piece of garbage. Bethesda and Arkane Studios gave the audience at QuakeCon the world's first extended look at Prey gameplay, and it had some pretty weird, but very cool, stuff. Here are five of my favorites.
1. Seriously that coffee mug thing
Morgan Yu is a full-sized human being and can't fit through the slot of a ticket booth. But Morgan's picked up a few tricks from the creepy aliens infesting the station, including the ability to change shape. Not only does this let Morgan fit through smaller spaces - say, by turning into a coffee mug and rolling through said slot - it also lets Morgan assume all the properties of that object. Trying to stay unnoticed? Roll into a corner and role play as an innocent piece of refuse. Need to get onto a ledge? Mimic yourself into a little hunk of scrap and pop off your shockwave power underneath you for an impromptu rocket-jump.
2. It has Dishonored-style flexibility in an open world
Speaking of getting around the space station, you'll be doing a lot of that: unlike previous Arkane games, Prey takes place in an open world. From the very beginning you'll be able to explore most of the station, assuming you can combine your abilities properly to get around. If games like Dishonored give you a series of discrete sandboxes to play around in, then Prey is giving you a whole beach.
3. The space station is massive
Talos I is really, really big. You'll quickly get an idea of the scale of this futuristic human endeavor when you go for a space walk and see the giant thing slowly revolving before you, gleaming in the sun. You'll also hear space sounds, because that's how vacuums work in the future, apparently. Anyway, at least you can get some alone time outside of the station if the alien fighting gets to be too much. Though honestly the aliens can probably come after you out there too. And you will need to keep a close eye on your oxygen levels. But aside from that? No problem!
4. Mimics can be anywhere and anything
Turning into a coffee mug is fun and all, but there's still only one Morgan Yu, whatever the form. There are dozens - maybe hundreds or thousands - of hostile aliens that can do the same trick. If you see something moving, or if it just looks out of place, you're best off giving it a whack or a shotgun blast rather than letting the bastards sneak up on you. Any survivors watching might think you just have a massive beef with the trash cans around here, but won't they feel silly when one of them turns out to be a got-dang smoke alien?
5. Screw pickaxes, use a "recycle bomb" to get your crafting materials
Prey has crafting. But this is the future, so you get to skip past the "punching trees for wood" phase and skate on over to "automated molecular reconstruction". Recycle bombs are one of the many science-ish gadgets Morgan can put to use: toss one into a room and it'll suck up all the nearby objects that aren't nailed down, then break them into easily harvestable components (crafting aside, the bombs are also handy for destroying obstacles and generally cleaning up). Then you can take those components over to a fabricator unit and build stuff.
Those are my highlights from the QuakeCon Prey demo. The game's still set to arrive sometime in 2017, but hopefully we'll get some hands-on-mug action before then.