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Seven Ways Prey Has Shocked Its Own Developers

by Ben Reeves on Dec 23, 2016 at 08:00 AM

While some developers focus on telling linear stories, Arkane Studios is more interested in creating a series of interlaced systems and then letting players exploit the interplay between those systems to solve gameplay challenges in a variety of unexpected ways. Prey's freeform systems have even surprised its own developers several times. While talking with the team for our January cover story, we rounded up some of the most exciting stories on how Arkane has been dumbstruck by its own game.

Burst to get med pack
"There is a little medical bay where the door's broken. Of course, I could use Mimic, like we showed at QuakeCon and turn into a smaller object and roll through the crack in the door, or there's probably an alternate route I could find if I explored. In my play through last week, I didn't have any of those powers. I had kinetic blast, and I was really hurt, so what I did was put a kinetic blast behind the medkit and the blast knocked it over to me. That's why we try to simulate everything. We could have made the decision, 'Well medkits should not be physics objects, because you don't want to lose it in the world, but making them physics objects lets you do these sort of fun things like that." - Ricardo Bare | Lead Designer

Playing Catch
"Some of our powers just work magic in combination together. For example, leverage is a human type of ability which allows you to lift objects that are bigger than you could if you did not have it. There is another ability that you take from aliens, which is remote manipulation, so you can grab an object from a distance. If you combine both together, it's like you're a machine that throws huge objects at people. One time there was a fridge in the background, and a poltergeist [one of Prey's invisible aliens] threw it at me. As the fridge came at me, I used remote manipulation and leverage to throw it back. It's like we were playing catch." - Raphael Colantonio | Creative Director and President of Arkane Studios

Phantom Music
"Occasionally the musical instruments on the space station would start to play themselves. The poor audio guys were sitting with me trying to figure out what was going on, and a lot of times it's hard to debug stuff like this because it's systemic. They were like, 'We are not doing this. We swear we haven't put anything in this map to make this happen. We don't understand why the instruments keep playing themselves.' It took them a little bit to go, 'Wait a might not be you.' A poltergeist is playing these instruments." - Susan Kath | Senior Producer

Stuck On You
"A couple of weeks ago, I was just testing some random systems together and I never tried the combination before. I was in this map with catwalks overhead, and I use the lift power on a phantom. It made the phantom smack against the ceiling, and he was prone but stuck on the ceiling. I was like, 'Huh,' so I pulled my Gloo gun out and started shooting at the Phantom, which plastered him to the ceiling. And then the Lift power was over, so there was nothing holding him up there but the glue. He was stuck up there on the catwalk. I was giddy, so I did it again and made a video of it, and showed it to the team. 'This is why we're doing what we do.'" - Seth Shain | Lead Systems Designer, Associate Producer

Maybe I Don't Need That Health Pack
"One of the cool things about the Mimics is that they still surprise us. Even after three years, I still hear the people who work on this game on a daily basis jumping and shouting every once in a while. One of my favorites was actually hearing [creative director Raphael Colantonio] playing, and then I heard him shouting. 'I was almost dead, and I went to get a medkit and it was a mimic!'" - Susan Kath | Senior Producer

Flying Turrets
"You can fortify a turret with a higher level of repair, which gives it more health, because you can pick them up and take them around. But the turrets used to be stationary, totally static. Then one of our level designers hacked the turret so it could move and took the lift power and sent it up towards a balcony where a bunch of mimics were hanging out, and it just annihilated all those mimics. When we all saw that we were like, 'Okay, so turrets are going to be portable now.'" - Seth Shain | Lead Systems Designer, Associate Producer

Hello Operator
"There was a bug that came in the other day that I thought was really cool. One of the QA testers, she was falling from a great height and she was about to land in a group of aggressive Operators, [the stations defensive robots]. She was like, 'What do I do? What do I do! I don't have any ammo!' Then, at the last second, she mimicked one of them, and they basically stopped being aggressive to her, because they were like, 'Hey, you're one of us. That's cool.' And they went back to what they were doing. The QA tester thought it was a bug, and I was like, 'No, I think that works perfectly." - Susan Kath | Senior Producer

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