Prey 2 is an ambitious title, and the new direction may seem as alien to fans as Tommy’s apathetic capturers. Despite featuring a new protagonist, new gameplay mechanics, and an entirely new world, Human Head argues that it is still a Prey title at heart.

While spirit-walking, spheres, portals, and plays on gravity are gone, Prey 2 will continue to focus on self-discovery and challenge the player by introducing new FPS mechanics. The goal is also to address a slew of nagging questions, too. Where did the spheres come from? What happened to the humans that were abducted and survived? Where is Tommy?

Regardless of the drastic departure from a narrative standpoint, the game itself starts off in a very familiar setting, as per our demo last week. On July 11, 2006, an unknown force invaded Earth, ripping Tommy and those close to him from their reservation in Oklahoma. That same night SeaJay Air Flight 6401, a commercial airliner, was abducted alongside countless others. More astute Prey fans may remember Tommy stumbling past the captured craft in the first game.

Prey 2 follows Killian Samuels, an air marshal on SeaJay 6401. He awakes on the sphere none the wiser than Tommy, working his way through rubble and burning debris to find himself gazing upon earth from a most disturbing perspective.

Samuels pulls out a gun – a luxury afforded to him thanks to his status as an air marshal – only to be attacked moments later. Instinct takes over and he chooses fight over flight. Eliminating the first round of hostiles, Samuels traverses his way toward the burning cockpit of his vessel, following screams in hopes of finding other survivors.

Reinforcements halt his progress, requiring even more aggressive tactics. This next encounter highlights the expanded cover system. Samuels pops in and out from behind debris, blind firing as needed, or running, jumping, and sliding to a new vantage point. Armed only with a pistol against superior technology, Samuels is stunned and staggers to the ground. The alien creatures close in, tower over him while muttering in their foreign tongue, and knock him into oblivion. 

Time passes, and the familiar surroundings disappear. Samuels awakens after an undisclosed amount of time and finds himself acclimated to life on an alien world called Exodus. It is obvious that he has been a resident for some time, and more bizarrely, has made a name for himself as a bounty hunter. With no recollection of the years between the initial abduction and now, we have as much catching up to do as Samuels does. Like Tommy before him, Samuels has no grasp of his role in the world, and even thinks that he may be the only human left. Until he meets Tommy, that is, who is said to play a substantial role in the sequel.

The bounty hunter vocation was intentionally chosen by Human Head in an effort to explore both sides of the predator/prey relationship in the sequel. Samuels has made a number of friends over the years, but even more enemies.

We get a first look at Samuels in action in a city described as “alien noire” in presentation. Exodus is unique in that it is a tidally locked planet – one side always faces the sun, and another side never feels its warmth. This Blade Runner-inspired city falls somewhere in-between the light and dark zones, a vertical playground perfect to show off Samuel’s new moveset. He is more agile than one may expect, able to run, jump, vault, grab, shoot, and dive in a parkour-esq movement system. These augmented abilities will be an imperative part of the job, necessary for pursuing bounties and surviving the daily dangers of life as a bounty hunter. 

Samuel’s life on this alien world is much in the hands of the player, as Prey 2 eagerly embraces an open-world setting. “Player choice” was an oft-repeated phrase during our demonstration. What missions Samuels accepts, where he travels, what gadgets he uses, and how he interacts with others is all dependent on play style. Despite what the genre may dictate, Samuels won’t walk around sticking a gun in the face of all he passes, either. Rather, choosing to be aggressive is a deliberate act, and one that will have repercussions in nearly all facets of the game.

Not wasting any time, we jump into a mission that highlights both player choice and the open world nature of the game. Gadgets are core to the bounty hunter profession, and Human Head promises well over twenty, with double the upgrades available throughout the campaign. A scanner of some sort provides an AR layer over the world, similar to Arkham Asylum’s detective mode. This particular city is home to drug and armament trades, seedy casinos, and strip clubs. Characters of interest are highlighted throughout the environment, and considering the shady populace, many opportunities for interactions become available. This is a good place to be a bounty hunter.