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What is Prey 2?

Prey 2 is an open-world, first person shooter, set in the dystopian, alien noir Central City on the planet Exodus. It’s published by Bethesda Softworks and is being developed by Human Head Studios.  Human Head also created the original 2006 hit Prey published by 2K Games and produced by 3D Realms.

You play as Killian Samuels, a U.S. Air Marshall abducted after a plane he was a passenger on crashes into the Sphere from the first Prey story. After a short battle, he’s knocked unconscious and awakens years later, without any memories of his past or the incident, on a distant alien planet called Exodus.

In the intervening years, Killian has retained his marshaling skills and has put them to use as a bounty hunter. He initially thinks he’s the only human on this corrupt alien world until he runs into Tommy who serves as the player’s mentor, conspirator, and informant throughout Killian’s adventure.

Wait… are you sure this a sequel to Prey? What happened to the portals, gravity puzzles and spirit powers?

The portals were a function of the Sphere and SPOILER Tommy blew it up at the end of the first game. Gravity puzzles are gone, but physics still have a role in combat and enemy and bystander ragdoll effects. Spirit powers remain in the game, and despite not being a core gameplay mechanic, were said to be integral to Prey 2’s narrative. The game also features creatures from the Prey universe including Fodder, Hunters, and Brutes. Other ties include the Seajay Air 6401 crashing into the Sphere during the opening moments of Prey 2, and Prey’s original protagonist Tommy playing an integral role as the only other Human in Central City.

Is Tommy in Prey 2?

Yes!  Tommy plays a major role in the story, but specific details at this time are very vague. His spiritual powers such as spirit walk and death walk play a crucial role in the story. How he ended up on Exodus is unknown at this time, but it’s assumed that Killian, upon hearing there’s another human in Central City, tracks him down to find a way back home.

Hasn’t this game been in development since 2006?

Although the possibility of a sequel was mentioned in 2006, Human Head Studios weren’t working on the game consecutively since 2006. In 2008, the Radar Group announced Prey 2 and implied you’d be playing Tommy once more and saving the Earth from invaders.  After Bethesda announced in March 2011 it was publishing Prey 2, Bethesda’s Pete Hines later clarified any previous versions of the sequel had nothing to do with the current design.

What is Exodus?

Exodus is a tidally locked planet, meaning one side of the planet is always facing the sun while the other faces away. This leaves each of the games three distinct hubs in a region specific time of day. The only hub that was publicly demonstrated was the Bowery, a dusky underbelly of Central City which houses the seedy leisure district of Prey 2 containing bars, strip-bars, clubs, casinos, grenade vendors, an oppressive planetwide government called the Regime and the local mafia types the Ceros Collective.

Prey 2’s three boroughs support vertical exploration and are truly open, with the player being able to explore any location inside Central City. The maps are big enough to require landmarks, a minimap, and a static menu map for the player to navigate the large world. The other two hubs are an affluent broad daylight hub, complete with heavy police presence requiring new tactics if you want to use a stealthy approach and an industrial nightmare trapped in permanent darkness. Once you’ve unlocked the hubs, you can return to any of them at will.

What makes Prey 2 unique?

Prey 2’s gameplay pillars are: Combat, Exploration, and Pursuit.  There are no quick-time events or drivable vehicles in the game.  Prey 2 features 30 experience levels in the game.

Prey 2’s gameplay mechanics make it stand apart from other mainstream shooters, like Call of Duty. You can play in a stealthy fashion or go in guns blazing; it’s totally up to the player. While there’s no morality meter in Prey 2, there’s a reputation system based upon how the player treats their bounties, clients and the denizens of Exodus. Siding with a particular faction and betraying a mission-giver may give you a short term reward, but the consequences could be severe. Acting aggressively will draw the attention of an eye in the sky and consequently corrupt cops on Exodus. Although the narrative is fixed, the world will react and change based on your actions.

Another important feature is Agile-Combat. In Prey 2 when you run, jump, grab edges, vault, climb, hang and slide under objects you can shoot and use gadgets. Combat and the player’s movement abilities are merged. Players can also shoulder-barge enemies and civilians, causing them to fall off ledges or into other enemies. Another feature of combat is “Action chaining” a mechanic designed to reward the player for linking their kills with the fast movement system. You’re rewarded for taking actions, rather than hunkering down and taking enemy fire. The player can snap to cover from there you can vault over it, blindfire, use an anti-gravity grenade to pull enemies out of cover, or peek over and line up a careful shot.

Movement is contextual based with an auto-grab feature (Killian’s hand) appearing when making a jump. When the player hits crouch while running he’ll slide.  If he’s near cover, he’ll latch on to it.

There are no conversation trees in Prey 2. Despite the reputation system and focus on currency, Prey 2 is not an RPG. All the proposals are binary: Accept or Decline a bribe, interrogate, or send a captured criminal to your client. The choices are made throughout gameplay. You may gain details for a mission, a cache of weapons, or money by drawing your weapon and shaking down a target. Although you better be careful they’re not hostile or they might immediately return fire or retreat for backup.

Aside from story missions, there are ambient bounties, similar to those found in Red Dead Redemption, which offers the player a wide variety of optional mission types and happenings for the player to take part in. Known ambient missions include muggings, solving crimes through your DNA tracker, and non-critical bounties.

What more do we know about the Campaign and Missions?

Human Head Studios expects the campaign to take around 15 hours with the world remaining open upon completion for further exploration.  Three difficulty settings: Normal, Hard, and Hardest.

The ability to replay old missions with new gadgets and weapons to take down your targets in an entirely different way.

Players can avoid taking part in missions all together and just wander around Exodus. Take in the neon sights, play some mini-games, test your abilities by attempting the skill challenges, complete side-missions to discover you gadgets and weapons, track down three kinds of collectables (Audio Logs, Rat’s Nests, and Tracers) or explore Prey 2′s open world events and hunt down some ambient bounties.

Choices are not limited to how the player approaches a mission (stealthy or guns blazing). There’s a six stage reputation system that will have noticeable effects in the game world. Depending on your actions, the cops might keep you on a shorter leash (more likely to attack) or take a more lenient stance towards Killian’s actions. There are short and mid-term ramifications for the players actions. During a mission, the player may be presented with the option to betray the mission-giver and take the reward for themselves. This could result in higher prices around town or having to deal with a hit-squad sent by your former employer.

What about the Story?

Here’s Chris Rhinehart shedding some light on the story details:

Rhineheart also spoke about the overarching plot which he said is “about a protagonist who has unfortunate circumstances that he’s under at the beginning and the world is kind of dark and full of shades of grey. No one is truly innocent. There isn’t necessarily full good guys or full bad guys, everyone kind of out for themselves. It’s about the player trying to make his part of the world better. That the core story that we are telling. It’s been an interesting challenge to stay true to that.”

Chris Rhinehart on the tone of the story: “There is some crazy stuff that happens throughout the game. Some of it’s dark, some of it’s kinda of funny, some of it is grim.”

You’ll meet various characters in Prey 2 that will recognize you, even if you don’t know them. Samuels’ memory and past will be revealed, Memento-style, through sources like this, as well as audio logs.

What kind of weapons and gadgets will Prey 2 feature?

With none of the original weapons from Prey making a return you might feel disappointed. You won’t feel anything missing with the current spread of choices. Prey 2 features over 25 gadgets (carrying is limited to your purchasing ability and a limited number you can equip at any time) with over 20 unique weapons. Guns are holstered by default, setting Prey 2 apart from just about every other shooter. Drawing your weapon is a meaningful action in Prey 2 and will draw a reaction from the populace and attention to Killian. Guns are not upgradable or contain secondary fire modes.

Known gadgets: Chameleon (cloaking ability), Laser Whip, Rocket Boots, DNA Tracker, and Capture Device. Chris Rhinehart on close-range weapons: “Killian does have a variety of close-range melee weaponry, though, such as suit-enhanced fists which make for satisfying punch attacks, a short-range flamethrower, and one of the coolest melee weapons I’ve seen in a while.” We believe this latter weapon to be the laser whip uncovered in the achievements.

The Hostage Mechanic

The player is able to sneak up behind an enemy and take him hostage. This gives the player options as using the enemy as a bargaining chip or a fleshy shield when negotiations go awry.

If you take a human shield Killian will automatically raise his weapon (it’s holstered by default). You can take anyone your size as a hostage including civilians.  Just don’t expect the cops to be too happy if one loses their head in a firefight.

Tell me more about the weapons!

Known weapons and gadgets include a blue-flamed flamethrower, Killian’s service pistol, Rachel, a modified version of his earth pistol which serves as his last tangible reminder of earth, sci-fi Bolas two weights tethered together that are great for lassoing enemies, Hoover Boots that allow Killian to safely traverse big drops and gaps, a devastating close-range shotgun, shoulder-mounted rockets, anti-gravity wave grenades that can lift enemies out of cover, Micronova grenades which cause a mini nuclear explosion and a deployable shield, made up of mini shields that individually power down after sustained damage.

It’s also worth noting that the majority of weapons won’t require reloads as they auto-charge instead.  “We did this for gameplay balance, weapon variety, and to better fit the fiction of the weapon,” adds Rhinehart.

Facebook Q+A with project lead Chris Rhinehart

Q: Will we be reloading this time around, or will the ammo system be similar to the first?

CJR: Yes, many of the weapons in Prey 2 will require a manual reload. However, some of the weapons auto-charge over time. We did this for gameplay balance, weapon variety, and to better fit the fiction of the weapon

Q: Have you the pipe wrench?! Will there be any melee weapons? I likes me a good blade

CJR: Killian doesn’t use the pipe wrench; that’s Tommy’s melee weapon. Killian does have a variety of close-range melee weaponry, though, such as suit-enhanced fists which make for satisfying punch attacks, a short-range flamethrower, and one of the coolest melee weapons I’ve seen in a while, but I can’t talk about it just yet…

Q: Is there going to be a sniper rifle? What secondary function will it have?

CJR: Yes, there is a sniper rifle! Personally, I find it especially useful when going after enemy snipers or when I just want to have fun in the game shooting up the world.

None of the weapons have secondary fire modes. Because we have so many gadgets in the game, we consider the gadgets to be the secondary fire in combat, so the player has more options during combat. Want to use grenades in conjunction with that sniper rifle? Go for it! Want to use bolas and shoulder-mounted rockets with the shotgun? Feel free.

Q: Will there be different types of ammunition?

CJR: There isn’t swappable ammo types, but different ammo types have been built into the weapons themselves. Example: We have a variety of close-range shotgun-like weapons: Some that do more standard shotgun attacks, but others that have different projectile functions such as incendiary attacks or cluster-bomb like attacks where the projectiles explode once enough attach to the target and critical mass has been reached.

Q: Will there be ragdoll physics and remote detonated explosives?

CJR: Yes, blowing people up with explosives and seeing them get launched around is very fun. There are several gadgets that can be placed around the world as traps, such as proximity mines or stasis fields, but they detonate based upon proximity not upon player activation. In our testing, we found it much more useful to be able to set a larger number of proximity traps rather than have to remotely detonate each one.

Friends and Enemies

Attling: A tough female alien species. Seen in various screens, appears to be neutral to Killian.

Brute: An extremely tough enemy armed with twin rocket launchers and a frame that dwarfs the player.

Ceros: These thugs come in two varieties small and large, and are part of a criminal society aptly named the Ceros Collective. We’ve seen them use abilities such as teleportation, and are all too eager to plead for a deal when cornered by Killian.

Fodder variant: A hostile mutated organic creature from Prey that serves to clear the sphere of foreign entities.

Hunters: These guys capture and sell Killian into slavery.

Majar Et: Can be seen in gameplay presentations with mandibles and a Ceros guard.

Mimeren: These are the weaklings of Exodus. They are often depicted as small-time thugs, cowards and homeless folk. They are a put upon species.

And what looks like a flying money seen at the start of blur’s Prey 2 trailer and in the pixel art.

Who’s doing the music for the game?

Two composers actually!  Jason Graves and Mark Morgan.  Collaborations like this are pretty rare, especially considering the talent involved.  Jason Graves did the soundtrack for the new Tomb Raider and Dead Space series.  Mark Morgan is well known for composing the Fallout series music.

What engine is this game running on?

Prey 2 runs on a heavily modified version of ID Tech 4 which Human Head had modified over the past several years. It sports a new a renderer designed by Brian Karris and Paul MacArthur.  It’s been rewritten to allow for physical-based lighting and the draw distance has been increased along with the number of characters available on screen.  The game also features Human Head’s version of megatextures.

Is there a demo?

No, the game was only shown at conventions.  Anyone that says there’s a demo is getting it confused with another game.