Prey…as I play through Duke Nukem Forever I remember that Prey is another title that had to be rescued from 3D Realms to be completed. Prey told the story of Tommy, an Indian living on the reservation when aliens abduct him and several others. The game was a fantastically vomit-inducing portal-fueled rail shooter that had Tommy finding out about himself as much as his alien abductors. In the end it managed a respectable score among the press. Bethesda and Human Head, along with Bethesda’s recently-purchased id Tech, has decided to give Prey another go.
Jim Sumwalt took the stage to give us the first look at the 2012-slated sequel with a look at two levels from the game. For those who have played Prey, you might recall that there was a plane that was abducted but never explained. Well, Killian Samuels, our protagonist in Prey 2, was on that plane. Seajay Air Flight 6401 went missing over the fields of Oklahoma on July 11th of 2006, but when we awaken in a sea of fiery wreckage and debris, we have no idea what year it is. Being an Air Marshal, Killian starts off with a pistol in hand. Looking up into an alien and inhospitable sky, we realize that we are no longer on Earth. There is blood and drag marks on the floor indicating that something very bad has happened. Walking up on some armored alien, we begin slinging lead at the creatures firing at us. Ducking into cover, we dispatch the armored bipedal monsters. Seeing the cockpit in the distance, we work hard to make our way there on the possibility that there might be survivors or at least supplies we might use contained therein. Heading up the stairs and trying not to slip on the streaks of blood and gore, we make our way up the ramps and to the cockpit. Steps from our objectives, the creatures finally subdue us just moments from our objective.
The second half of our demonstration takes place roughly 25% into the game. Killian, having been on the distant planet of Exodus for several years and has become a well-known bounty hunter. Being the only human on the entire planet has certainly made him famous…at least until he later runs into Tommy. His mission is simple – he needs to find out why he and Tommy were abducted.
The planet Exodus is a hostile environment – one side always faces the sun and is hot, the other side always faces away and is very cold. Our demo takes place on the “Liferim” – the only part of the planet where life exists. The city has a sort of ‘Alien Noire’ look – it is a seedy place full of crime. Killian has adapted to his very-vertical environment and has essentially become a freerunner. Allowing him to vault, leap, jump two and from pipes, use them for cover and mantle over difficult obstacles, Killian will have to work hard to be the best bounty hunter he can be.
Unlike Prey, Prey 2 is an open-world game – Killian is free to take missions in the order he sees fit. As a bounty hunter, and a foreigner among aliens at that, he’ll need a few gadgets to even know where to look for those missions. Sumwalt introduced us to a few goodies in our arsenal. The first item was a scanner that highlights people we can help, hostiles, and people we might question. You can play the game stealthily, or you can go in guns blazing – many targets would be better live than dead, so sometimes stealth is better.
Heading into a strip club we find an ‘ambient bounty’ – these bounties are essentially side missions that you can use to earn money or unravel other side missions. Finding a target that we already have a capture or kill order, we walk up and pull our weapon intending to pressure him into surrender. Unfortunately, our target decided to run, incurring our wrath. Using a pair of electrical bolas around his feet, we take him down and execute him. A few more dollars in our pocket and a bit more swagger in our step, we walk up to a random civilian and push him over the edge to his death. A large robotic “Regime Eye” pops up and warns us that crimes like that will cause us serious problems if we continue down that path. Using our scanner and the “Bounty Wire” (a sort of mission bulletin board) we find a few more ambient missions. The missions have specific requirements including weapons and gear; some missions will require a bit of preparation.
Our bounty selected, we set off to find off a scumbag named Krux. Krux has information about our bounty (who has to be brought in alive), but the mission details are a bit sketchy. Heading off to find some additional information we find ourselves down a dark alley. Some aliens that aren’t a big fan of our profession or race swoop in with the intent to end our days as a bounty hunter. Powersliding under some obstacles, blind firing over walls, vaulting over objects, and using our iron sights isn’t something new…but in Prey you can do all of this while continuing to fire the entire time. In what Human Head is calling “agile combat”, we take out the enemy ambush group and continue on our way.
Using our scanner we spot Krux standing up a few floors from where we are standing. Climbing our way up to the environment, we get to Krux and have a talk with him. He wants 2000 credits for the information, but unfortunately we don’t have that kind of cash. Pulling a pistol and executing his bodyguard then holding the gun on Krux yields “your reputation precedes you – they said you were stupid” from the alien. He gives up the information but informs us that we now owe him a favor later – he’ll turn up as a client on the Bounty Wire later to be sure.
Using our hoverboots gadgets we descend the vast distance from this perch safely. Our prey is in a nightclub, and a quick scan reveals that he has a few friends with him. Following our waypoint we find another shady character selling weapons. For 200 credits we pick up some MiniNova grenades. Grabbing some pissant named Obnoyx, we use him as a human shield, pushing him into the bar as collateral. Dra’gar, our target, might be interested in him. We quickly figure out that our shield is expendable and a massive firefight ensues. As we lob grenades and take out his guards, Dra’gar makes a run for it. As he drops mines behind him, Dra’gar teleports into the distance. Switching to a shoulder-mounted rocket we lob missiles at him, but his use of teleportation is thwarting our best efforts. Catching up is proving difficult as we scramble into a darkened bar. Using our Lumasight gadget, we can see a yellow haze that illuminates the dark. As we exit the bar we find ourselves ambushed. Pulling up a remote shield and some anti-grav grenades, we use the explosives to pull the enemies out of cover, allowing us to shoot them mid-air. Cutting across and over some trains, we pursue our teleporting target. Cornered, he offers us a bribe for 1200 credits (our bounty is for 1000 credits) to let him go. Declining and capturing him, we then have the chance to briefly interrogate him or send him to the client for payment. Unfortunately the life of a bounty hunter isn’t a long one, and we’ve pissed off plenty of folks. Sending a massive, chain-wielding, four-legged alien creature to whip our ass, the demo ends.
With over 20 gadgets, 40 weapons, and a full bounty and upgrade system to support the open world concept, Prey 2 looks like it’ll light things up when the game hits in 2012 on the Xbox 360 and PS3.