Prey gameplay trailer features unique sci-fi wizardry and a first look at the enemy

Waking up in a spaceship for yet another round of dubious human testing isn't an ideal start to anyone's day. But in Prey, you’ll step into the shoes of Morgan Yu as just such a human test subject stranded on Talos 1, your prison, your hamster wheel, and potentially your billion dollar space coffin if you don't learn the ropes of survival before the mysterious alien force known as the Typhon attempt to murder you in a variety of new and interesting ways.

All of this information and more was kindly dropped into our laps today during the opening ceremonies at QuakeCon, where Bethesda and Arkane Studios released a brand new gameplay trailer plus an exclusive closed door look at what a day in Morgan Yu's space shoes will look like when Prey releases. 

Someone Has to Die

Prey is definitely shaping up to be an extremely interesting reboot for the franchise, and with the team at Arkane pushing it forward it's really hard to see it not turning into a fantastic stand out title. Here's hoping it's as much a journey into the depths of the human psyche as it is a fun first-person adventure game. No matter how it turns out, after looking at the newest footage only one thing is certain: “Someone has to die,” and we can't wait to see who it is. 

The gameplay trailer itself gives us a healthy look into the world of Talos 1, including some fantastic shots of the sci-fi environment, a glance at a few of the gadgets and weapons we'll find on the station, and an up close and personal look at the alien menace Arkane is calling the Typhon.

The panoramas they show off in the trailer definitely paint Prey's world as a blend between a heavily advanced sci-fi environment and just a hint of some classical 1950-60s architecture, a setting that almost hearkens back to a neo-futuristic Rapture tossed into space. Meanwhile, the weaponry shown mostly consists of your fairly standard futuristic pistol, shotgun, and what appears to be some sort of pipe wrench or other appropriately blunt tool of destruction.

The really interesting tidbits come in the form of the Typhon, which up to this point have stayed quite mysterious. We encounter several different versions of the alien foe in the trailer, and learn that the Typhon actually come in three distinct flavors, each with their own abilities and dangers.

The smallest Typhon are called Mimics, and as their name implies they can transform into a variety of inanimate objects to surprise unsuspecting players. Arkane suggests you approach every room with suspicion and keep close track of duplicates to avoid nasty surprises. It's kind of like the first Dead Space where you have to shoot corpses to make sure they're really dead, except now its office chairs and coffee cups that can murder you.

The mid-tier enemies are called Phantoms, and although they appear somewhat human they can teleport around like Corvo Attano on a caffeine drip, and are likely dangerous if you encounter them by their lonesome and absolutely deadly in groups.

The largest of the three is called a Nightmare, and we really don't learn much about them aside from the fact that it would be wise to avoid them, unless you're interested in seeing Morgan turn into a bloody form of abstract art smeared across the walls of Talos 1.

The Typhon are meant to be particularly elusive and dangerous foes, and it's heavily implied that the tests Morgan is experiencing on Talos 1 are directly tied to splicing human and Typhon powers to create something stronger than both. Unfortunately, as is often the case with these kinds of things, everything's gone to hell and the alien threat is trying to get out while killing everything in its path to get the job done.

The twist is that the Typhon are a particularly psychological foe, and in earlier developer commentary it was revealed that even seeing the Typhon is a difficult task that requires a device called a Psychoscope to accomplish. That’s also where Prey get’s its logo – the moving lasers over a lens is apparently pulled directly from the Psychoscope mechanic.

It's not clear whether Morgan also needs this lens to see the Typhon, but you do see him sporting some kind of glowing fancy eyewear in most of the art for the game, and it's possible that the scene in the announcement trailer with the disturbing needle and its little medical gun friend is part of a process that permanently attaches a Psychoscope to Morgan's eye.  It's also possible that the Psychoscope is simply an item that you use to detect or look at disguised Mimics. Either way, a part of us hopes that actually being able to see the Typhon is a mechanic with a particularly interesting set of rules, just to add to the age-old tension of fighting a deadly and invisible foe.

Beyond the Veil

Aside from the official gameplay trailer, there was also a larger chunk of gameplay footage that Bethesda showed exclusively behind closed doors of the convention center to QuakeCon attendees. Unfortunately, because of the exclusive nature of the content we don't have access to the footage here, but Bethesda spoke briefly about the content in their official blog post on the subject.

By the sound of it, Arkane is bringing along their unique versatility in gameplay and level design to Prey, allowing players to navigate the open world of Talos 1 in hundreds of ways using unique powers that Morgan picks up by observing the Typhon and splicing himself with Neuromods spread throughout the game world.

We don't have a list of all the powers that'll be at our fingertips, but apparently we'll have access to abilities as simple as fire traps and a sort of force push called a kinetic blast, to more unique abilities like the one stolen from the smaller Mimic Typhons that will allow Morgan to take the form of inanimate objects to fit through small spaces or to hide in plain sight.

In true-to-Arkane style, these powers can be combined and utilized in ways that not even Arkane is fully aware of, and they'll also pair with the variety of small gadgets and gizmos you pick up along the way. At the event, Arkane demoed Morgan transforming into a small grenade called a Recycler Charge (an explosive that breaks down certain matter into crafting materials), and then firing off a kinetic blast to propel himself into the air onto a small ledge. Later, they covered a group of smaller Mimics in thick, sticky glue from the GLOO Cannon and then used a pistol to finish them off while they were stuck in place. We're sure that the GLOO Canon could also be used to trap larger enemies while quickly surrounding them with a number of fire traps, or as a way to slow down more deadly foes so that you can swing around a corner and hide by transforming into an office chair or coffee cup.

It's important to note that if we don't see a multiplayer variant of Prey with a Prop Hunt game mode we're going to be seriously disappointed in Arkane, Bethesda, and the modding community at large.

As if all these features weren't enough, crafting will be integral to surviving on Talos 1, whether you're scavenging for items the old fashioned way or nuking robots with Recycler Charges and picking up the pieces.  You'll eventually use these materials to craft new weapons, ammo, and something called an Artax Propulsion System, which is reportedly similar to the jetpacks used by astronauts to guide their way through open space. That’s exactly what Morgan will use it for, giving you the freedom to quickly navigate to different sections of Talos 1 by skipping the interior hallways in favor of a good ol' fashioned space walk from airlock to airlock.

Hopefully you won't have to worry about enemies on these walks, but odds are there are more than a few surprises in store for us in Prey, and we can't wait to dive in once the game is released in 2017.