Welcome aboard Talos I, Morgan. But before your story begins to unfold, let's recap everything you need to know about Prey.
It's neither a sequel nor a remake, but rather a reimagining of the concept that was sentenced to development hell circa 2011. Bethesda officially pulled the plug three years later, but with Dishonored dev Arkane Studios in the driving seat, Prey is best described as a sci-fi horror title that straddles the line between BioShock and Alien: Isolation.
Prey 2 was initially hatched as a direct sequel to the Prey of 2006, and started incubating in development over at Human Head Studios around 2011. Alas, the project slipped into development limbo soon after the IP was bumped from 3D Realms to Bethesda Softworks. Human Head's sequel/space oddity was formally canned in 2014.
As for the narrative itself, Bethesda's official description of Prey reads as so:
"In Prey, you awaken aboard Talos I, a space station orbiting the moon in the year 2032. You are the key subject of an experiment meant to alter humanity forever – but things have gone terribly wrong. The space station has been overrun by hostile aliens and you are now being hunted. As you dig into the dark secrets of Talos I and your own past, you must survive using the tools found on the station — your wits, weapons, and mind-bending abilities. The fate of the Talos I and everyone aboard is in your hands."
It'll reportedly take anywhere between 16 and 22 hours to beat, depending on your playstyle, and we know that Prey will feature multiple endings.
Prey is neither a remake nor a sequel. So what is it, exactly? Leave it to Game Director Raphael Colantonio to clue you in.
Considering that Prey's story features "tons of little permutations" based on specific events, no two Morgans will be the same.
"As Morgan Yu, set out to unravel the clues you’ve left behind for yourself, and discover the truth about your past. What role will you play in TranStar’s plans, and the mysterious threat ravaging the station?"
Most, if not all of Prey's story will unfold on board the Talos I space station, a man-made satellite that was initially pitched as a co-venture between the United States and the U.S.S.R. to imprison (and indeed study) the alien Typhon.
"Orbiting the Moon, the Talos I space station symbolizes the height of private space enterprise. Explore a lavish craft designed to reflect corporate luxury of the 1960s, and navigate interconnected, non-linear pathways built to hide countless secrets."
What's a sci-fi story without a shady corporation poking and prodding at the rules of nature?
In Prey, that title belongs to TranStar Corporation, a private conglomerate that seizes control of the Talos I research facility soon after the fall of the Soviet Union.
"In the alternate future of Prey, President Kennedy survives the assassination, which sets off a turn of events leading to the central conflict. After recovering from the attempt on his life, Kennedy threw his nation further into the space race by taking control of a U.S./Russian joint program and transforming a Russian satellite into a fully functional R&D facility meant to study non-terrestrials. This facility later became Talos I, a highly advanced space station owned by the TranStar Corporation.
"After awakening on Talos I, Morgan finds the station overrun by a previously contained non-terrestrial entity called Typhon, which the scientists had been studying and using to improve the scope of human abilities. Aided by strange alien-based powers, Morgan must survive the incursion, uncover the mysteries surrounding the Typhon and save humanity from the impending danger aboard the station."
Soon after JFK galvanized space exploration, humanity's presence in the cosmos drew some unwanted attention from an extra-terrestrial species known as the Typhon.
At first, thanks to the Talos I research facility, American and the Soviet Union are able to contain the aliens, but once TranStar becomes involved, the shit begins hurling toward the fan.
From the Mimic to the Phantom, there's plenty of nightmare fuel to be found under the hood of Prey.
"Aliens have escaped containment, dead bodies now litter the hallways of the Talos I space station, survivors are huddled together for safety, and the Typhon aliens are threatening to destroy everything you hold dear. As Morgan, you’ll have to fight the invasion in order to save humanity. But it all begins with what should have been a typical first day on the job for Morgan. And now you can experience the game’s thrilling first hour in the console-exclusive demo for Prey."
After selecting the gender of your Morgan Wu, Prey will lend players the chance to mould their chosen avatar as they deem fit.
It's all part of Arkane's strategy to instil a sense of player freedom, with Creative Director Raphael Colantonio revealing that, "the theme of identity is central to Prey. Who is Morgan Yu exactly? We want to give you the freedom of being a man or a woman, but we also don’t want to limit who you become when you make that choice."
To fight against the Typhon, you'll need to come packing the correct arsenal, and thankfully Prey features a diverse collection of weapons and gear. The protagonist Morgan can be upgraded, too.
"With 24 human upgrades and 20 unique alien powers to choose from (plus all of their upgrades), no two Morgans will be the same, and no two players will have the same experiences in Prey. Along with the human abilities like Hacking, Leverage, Repair, and Gunsmith – all of which enhance Morgan’s innate strengths – you will have access to three distinct trees of Typhon-based abilities. Of course, there’s some risk when rewarding yourself with these amazing alien abilities. As you install alien powers, the turrets on the station will view you as a hostile entity, and you will increasingly run the risk of being targeted and hunted by the massive Nightmare Typhon. But with (sometimes literally) mind-bending abilities like these, we’ve got to say the risk is definitely worth it."
Aptly dubbed Opening Hour, the Prey demo is available to download right now across PS4 and Xbox One. It weighs in at around 13.8GB in size, with the official description reading as so:
"The Prey Demo: Opening Hour puts you in the role of Morgan Yu, lead scientist aboard Talos I, working on a scientific breakthrough meant to alter humanity forever. What starts off as an exciting first day of work very quickly takes a dark turn. You find yourself alone on board Talos I, a lavish but abandoned interstellar research facility. Aliens have overrun the station and are hunting down any surviving crew members, including you. Should these creatures reach Earth, life as you know it will end. It’s up to you to uncover the mysteries of Talos I, fight the alien invasion and save humanity."
Curious to take a peek at Prey in motion? This extended, 35-minute gameplay demo ought to do the trick.
Make no mistake, Prey is a single-player experience through and through. But when lead designer Ricardo Bare addressed questions relating to multiplayer, he stressed that adding an online component would've required a bigger dev team.
"Not really. Adding multiplayer to a game is a massive endeavor. Our team would have to be much bigger, or we’d need to take much longer to make the game to support something like that. That’s just not somewhere we wanted to go for Prey."
Prey will come packing a day-one patch, the details of which will be posted in the coming days.
What's more, Bethesda has revealed that the PS4 version of Prey will take up between 38.2GB and 39.5GB, depending on your region.
Future patches and DLC will increase the free space requirements [of 42GB at launch]. The maximum amount of space for save files allocated to the title is 1 gigabyte, with at least 44.05 megabytes of space required to create the profile on first boot, and each save file requiring 10.49 megabytes of space.
Digital Foundry's in-depth analysis of Prey's console-exclusive demo revealed a technically competent vertical slice.
There are, however, some issues -- specifically when it comes to “controller input on PS4 is sluggish and the game feels very unresponsive as a result making it difficult to deal with enemies.”
"Expect the technical hiccup to be nixed by May 5, but for those of you dabbling with the Prey demo, NeoGAF has uncovered a workaround:
"To address input lag, the fix within the final release in the game changes the raw input curve on the PS4 controller to be more responsive at the low end, and to tweak responsiveness to the center point on the controller (narrowing the dead zone.). The net result is faster/more responsive movement."
Ahead of his full review, be sure to have a gander at Paulmichael Contreras' glowing Prey preview:
"While some of the Arkane Studios staff was busy developing the excellent Dishonored 2, others were busy working on Prey. There is a coherent direction for this reboot, and it’s looking very promising. While Prey could be described as a mash-up between Half-Life 2, BioShock, Alien: Isolation, and even Portal, it somehow exudes a personality all its own."
Paulmichael Contreras continues to peel back the layers of Prey one preview at a time. And remember, stay tuned for the full review to hit the site in the coming days.
"Based on what we’ve seen with our handful of hours spent with the game, Prey is shaping up to be a great game for those who love open-world first person shooters. With a wide mix of powers and weapons at your disposal, the various ways in which you can dispatch enemies may never get boring. Prey releases on May 5, and rest assured our verdict will be rendered in full with a review coming shortly."
One of the main pre-order incentives for Prey opens up the exclusive Cosmonaut Shotgun Pack. The details of which are as follows:
"Preorder Prey to receive the exclusive Cosmonaut Shotgun Pack, which includes the Yu family’s heirloom Margrave shotgun and tools to fight threats aboard Talos I: 3 Neuromods you can spend to acquire new abilities, 2 Medkits, a Fabrication plan to create Shotgun Ammo, a starter kit for building tools and weapons, and a unique upgrade to help you preserve your limited resources."
Pre-loading for the PS4 version of Prey will begin at midnight EST on April 28 in North America, and at midnight by territory on April 29 in Europe. It will then unlock at midnight by territory on Friday, May 5.
That means outlets (PSLS included) won’t receive a copy until Thursday, May 4, at which point our own Paulmichael Contreras will be venturing forth into the inky blackness of space on behalf of PSLS.