The lights are on
Last night, we revealed that Arkane Studios’ Prey is the cover game for our January issue. As always, we have an in-depth feature in the magazine, featuring extensive, exclusive information on the sci-fi adventure. We also have a month of additional coverage planned, highlighting even more of the game. Still, there’s a lot that we don’t know about Prey, even after spending several days with the developers at their Austin studio. Sometimes, what they aren’t willing to talk about tells a story, too.
1. We Don’t Know How You Communicate
In Prey, you play as Morgan Yu. You’re a scientist on the space station Talos I, which has been overrun by a species of hostile aliens known as the Typhon. That setup lends itself to a lot of intrigue, but we ran into our first roadblock with what seemed like a simple question: It’s a first-person game, like Dishonored. Does Yu speak?
“In a way,” is the response. What? “It’s probably one of the rare questions that we won’t answer, just because it’s very linked to the intrigue of the game,” adds Raphael Colantonio, Arkane co-founder and creative director. We receive a similar response when we ask if you’d see Yu in the game, aside from a paper-doll style shot in one of the menu screens.
Does that mean that you’re communicating telepathically? When you begin the game, your body has already been manipulated by scientists at the corporation that runs the station, TranStar. “Figuring out who you are is actually really part of the surprise of the game,” Colantonio says. “The only thing that we can say is that you are part of an experiment somehow, and that’s pretty much all you know when things go wrong in the station. There’s no backstory. You’re a scientist.”
2. Is There A Groundhog Day Kind Of Thing Going On Here?
In the game’s E3 trailer, we see Yu repeating the same day over and over again, as part of some kind of weird routine. Was this a stylistic decision for the trailer, and not anything that’s actually represented in the game? Or could this be what Arkane is talking about when they mention an experiment?
“That’s the second question we can’t answer,” Colantonio says. Well then.
Lead designer Ricardo Bare adds that Yu has been on the station longer than you might think, however, which leads credence to the notion that what we saw in that early teaser is somehow a display of a time loop or some other kind of weird anomaly. Beyond that, we’ll have to wait.
3. You’re Not A Clone. But…
During one of our gameplay demos, we are guided on a mission by a mysterious figure named January, whose face is obscured on the communications system. Knowing that Yu has been on the station for quite some time, and also going off that earlier trailer, we think we are onto something. Aha! That character is a cloned version of Yu, and the name is a direct reference to when the clone was first baked.
“I can say no,” Bare says, when we present our super-smart hypothesis. “What I can tell you is that it’s not like the movie Moon, where I’m going to open a freezer somewhere and find a stack of Yus. You’re definitely onto something that there’s more than meets the eye.” Even if they’re not clones, that does leave open the possibility that you’re interacting with different versions of yourself from different points in time or alternate dimensions.
Though they’re not willing to further elaborate, one thing is clear: There’s some serious funny business on Talos I. How exactly that informs the game’s story – and its multiple endings – is one thing that we’re going to have to wait until spring to learn.
Be sure to come back all this month for more features and exclusive videos about Prey and Arkane Studios. And don’t worry – the rest of our coverage is all about giving answers.
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