Bethesda has an excellent track record of taking a chance on fresh ideas like Dishonored, The Evil Within, and Call of Cthulhu to complement its tried-and-true series like The Elder Scrolls, Doom, and Fallout. The latest game to fit in the former category is Prey, a sci-fi FPS thriller that's entirely new in everything but name. First shown during Bethesda's press conference at E3 2016, this total reboot pits a man with a tenuous grip on his sanity against a horde of aliens that have invaded his space station.
Even though we've only gotten a glimpse of the reborn Prey via a single cinematic trailer, there's already plenty of info to uncover about the upcoming game from Arkane Studios. Bethesda has promised more concrete details to come at this year's QuakeCon; until then, here's everything you need to know about Prey.
Prey release date
Prey is headed to PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2017; the exact date is still TBD.
Here's the cryptic cinematic trailer for Prey, which first debuted at E3 2016. It's as perplexing as it is exciting, but we've got the details to help you make sense of it all.
It takes place on Talos 1, a near-future space station
Just from viewing the trailer, it's not totally clear if Prey is set on Earth in the year 2032, or the claustrophobic corridors of a space station that's been overrun by shadow-like aliens. Fortunately, Arkane Studios has provided some context beyond the trailer: Prey takes place on the Talos 1 space station orbiting the Moon, creating a confined, high-tech environment similar to the System Shock series. That all lines up with allegedly leaked design documents that detail what a Prey reboot might look like.
Even without the alien takeover, Talos 1 seems like a pretty sinister, unsavory place. It's the site for a series of tests that are supposed to further humankind, but those kinds of experiments never seem to follow ethical guidelines, with scientists obscured by blinding light ominously studying their human test subjects. And as it turns out, our hero is one such test subject...
The protagonist is Morgan Yu
At the beginning of the trailer, Morgan seems to have a pretty good thing going: swanky apartment with an amazing view, nice corporate gig, and a spiffy red spacesuit. But it becomes clear that there's something wrong with this idyllic existence, as Morgan seems to be stuck reliving March 15, 2032; whether this is a Groundhog Day time loop or a glitch in some kind of augmented reality chamber is still undetermined.
Morgan's coffee mugs and the skyscraper across from his pad are emblazoned with a gigantic 'T' logo; perhaps his employer is the company that built the station, with the 'T' being short for 'Talos'. Besides his horrific visions (which we'll come back to in a minute), Arkane has also mentioned (but not shown) that Morgan will have to use some "mind-bending abilities" to survive. Arkane is adept at designing supernatural powers that open up all kinds of gameplay possibilities, as seen in the Dishonored series. And the BioShock-esque 'oh God what's wrong with my hands' scene, where shadowy tendrils creep over Morgan's hands, suggests that he might be able to wield some form of energy similar to the hostile aliens, who appear to be made of black mist.
Arkane Studios was built on first-person action, with a portfolio including Dishonored, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and Arx Fatalis, so it makes sense that Bethesda would give it the reins to reboot a sleeper FPS. The original Prey features an odd mix of mystical armaments like the Spirit Bow and grotesque alien weaponry such as the Leech Gun and Crawler Cannon - but this Prey looks like it'll keep your arsenal a lot more grounded.
In the trailer, we get a glimpse of a melee weapon in the form of a heavy-duty wrench, along with the FPS classic of a hefty pump-action shotgun. And while the latter usually packs plenty of stopping power, it may not have much effect on the aliens; either Morgan's a terrible shot, or his bullets are passing right through the mist-monster that's charging him during one of the trailer's brief combat cuts. That's where a third weapon comes in: a rifle that appears to shoot a foam-like material that encases smaller aliens in a coat of caulking. Looks pretty unorthodox for an FPS gun, so we're intrigued to see what other unconventional weapons await on the Talos 1.
You shouldn't trust everything you see
As if being hunted wasn't bad enough, Morgan's clearly going through a tough time: either he's losing his sanity, being manipulated and deceived by his keepers, or he's been infected in some way by a mind-warping virus (or perhaps all three). This is driven home by the scene where a mirror shows Morgan's reflection take a seat and start talking to him, even though Morgan himself is standing motionless, silent and stunned. I'm thinking Prey will play some visual, potentially terrifying tricks on your mind and distort the environment in physically impossible ways, akin to a sci-fi version of Layers of Fear.
Also, I'm no doctor, but Morgan's increasingly red right eye looks real bad - and also hints at the slight chance that those aliens could be all in his head. Some WebMD consultation suggests that Morgan's blood-red eyeball could be a symptom of Uveitis, which has some interesting side-effects: blurry, warped vision, as well as liquidic deposits that casts shadows on your retinas, called floaters. These floaters can make you see motion and shapes that don't exist beyond your own vision, which sounds a lot like the aliens' incorporeal forms and their capacity to disappear into thin air.
This Prey has nothing to do with the original Prey (or its canned sequel)
Make no mistake: this Prey is a complete overhaul through and through, doing away with pretty much everything from the 2006 original besides the name and the FPS structure. Nor does it relate to Prey 2, one of the many games that never escaped E3. Prey 2 attempted the same thing as this new Prey, completely ditching the original's abduction scenario where Native American hero Tommy fights back against his extraterrestrial captors.
In case you missed Prey 2's hyped-up 2011 debut, it was set to star a new protagonist named Killian Samuels, a bounty hunter taking jobs in a seedy metropolis full of humanoid aliens, garish neon signs, and holographic dancers. It looked like the Omega nightclubs from the Mass Effect series, expanded into an entire game. Alas, the whole thing was scrapped, with Bethesda confirming the game's cancellation back in 2014.