Prey is a 2017 first-person action game from Arkane Studios, the developers of the Dishonored series. In Prey, players assume the role of Morgan Yu, a genius astrophysicist and employee of his/her brother Alex Yu's TranStar Corporation. Morgan wakes up on the Talos I space station without his/her memories and surrounded by hostile alien lifeforms called the Typhon, forcing him/her to fight for his/her survival while seeking some answers.
The game balances stealth, first-person shooter combat, and RPG mechanics for its general progression. Players can collect items across the station and recycle them for resources used in fabricators to produce whatever items they might need. They are driven to explore the Talos I by various clues and directions from NPCs, equipping new weapons and acquiring new abilities on the way.
Before it was acquired by the TranStar Corporation in 2030, the space station now known as Talos I had a long history, serving as a joint US/USSR research facility.
In 1963, a top secret Cold War negotiation culminates with Americans and Soviets working together on a research facility named Kletka. Kletka, Russian for “cage,” produces the skeleton and core of what will one day become Talos I.
After the attempted assassination of Kennedy, and Kruschev’s departure, the US pays for the rights to use Kletka as a testing facility. This period, known as Project Axiom, leads to many advancements in next-generation materials and bioscience fundamental to neural modification.
In 1980, geopolitical development results in a temporary hold on Project Axiom. After the unfortunate Pobeg Incident, in which two research scientists lost their lives, the Kletka facility is decommissioned and cleaned.
The TranStar board of directors is established in 2025. TranStar purchases and privatizes the Kletka facility with a focus on safety and state of the art upgrades.
In 2030, Talos I becomes fully operational, representing a monument of private space industry. The first Neuromod is released, allowing for dramatic enhancement to the human mind and body.
In Prey, movement is rather intuitive, especially for those familiar with the genre. There are five basic forms of movement: walking, running, sprinting, sneaking, and jumping. Walking is an upright form of movement, consuming zero stamina while generating minimal noise. Running is slightly faster, but produces more noise, potentially attracting nearby enemies. Sprinting drains stamina and generates a significant amount of noise, prompting enemies to investigate. While sprinting, drop to a crouched stance to initiate a slide. This is a stylish way to enter low ducts and other cramped spaces with low clearance. Moving while crouched is called sneaking. Sneaking is the slowest form of movement, but it’s also the stealthiest, making it more difficult for enemies to detect Morgan. Jumping is sometimes necessary to reach high ledges or for vaulting over low objects.
Whether armed or not, Typhon entities should be avoided at all costs. Any confrontation with a Typhon organism will likely result in injury—and that’s a best case scenario. Enemies have a white meter above them that slowly turns red in the player's presence: this meter indicates how aware the enemy is of Morgan's presence. If the meter appears, it means the enemy is investigating, but hasn’t detected Morgan yet. However, if the meter turns red, it means they've been spotted.
Recycling and Fabrication
Throughout Talos I, Morgan can collect junk that can be placed into a recycler to break down the items into raw materials. These materials can then be fed into a fabricator to create a variety of items such as ammunition, medkits, and weapons. In order to fabricate an item, the blueprint must first be found.
Neuromods are a technology developed by TranStar Corporation that allow a person to effectively implant the abilities of another into their brain by altering its structure. Morgan will find neuromods around Talos I and can use them to acquire new abilities. They can also be crafted at a fabricator.
In addition to "human abilities" that enhance Morgan's physical and mental capacities, Typhon abilities can be acquired with neuromods as well. These abilities consume a mana-like pool called Psi and are alien in nature, allowing Morgan to perform unique abilities like shapeshifting, telekinesis, mind control, and more. In order to discover new Typhon abilities, Morgan must scan enemies with the Psychoscope.
Security aboard Talos I consists primarily of automated turrets that scan targets for Typhon material and engage if a positive result is returned. Morgan can pick up and carry these turrets to set up ambushes. If Morgan has elected to acquire Typhon abilities, turrets around Talos I will see them as hostile unless the turrets have been hacked.
With a high enough repair skill, Morgan can fix mechanical systems aboard Talos I to clear obstacles. Morgan can also fix damaged turrets, bringing them back into the fight. Repairing requires the use of Spare Parts which are frequently found around Talos I. If weapon degradation is enabled, these Spare Parts are also used to repair weapons.
With a high enough hacking skill, Morgan can hack computers to access emails, download files, and enable or disable certain ship functions. Turrets can also be hacked to turn them friendly, if Morgan is deemed hostile.
Operators are autonomous utility robots found around Talos I that can perform a variety of functions. Medical Operators completely heal Morgan's health and any injuries. Engineering Operators repair Morgan's suit back to full integrity. And Science Operators completely regenerate Morgan's supply of Psi.
Morgan will frequently need to venture into space in order to access different parts of the space station via hull breaches or other airlocks. Airlocks must first be activated from inside before they can be used from the outside.
There are three survival mode modifiers that can be enabled when starting a new game in Prey. Weapon Degradation necessitates the use of Spare Parts to fix weapons to prevent them from breaking and jamming during combat. Traumas introduces injuries that Morgan can sustain during combat that cause negative status effects until removed by the appropriate medicine or by a Medical Operator. Oxygen ties oxygen depletion to suit status; if Morgan's suit becomes damaged while in a zero-oxygen area, their oxygen supply will begin to deplete.
The wrench is arguably the most versatile tool aboard Talos I. Not only can it be used to repair electrical junctions, turrets, and other mechanical objects, but it can also be wielded as a particularly effective melee weapon. Damage dealt by each strike of a wrench is dictated by the power of the swing—hold down the Attack button to wind-up for a powerful swing. Or simply tap the Attack button for faster, but weaker, melee attacks. Repeated swings will deplete stamina, which recovers steadily over time. The wrench can also be used to break items, such as display cases.
The GLOO Cannon fires a proprietary foam-like substance which immediately hardens upon making contact with any object. As a result, this weapon has a variety of applications ranging from immobilizing enemies to creating climbable geometry, useful for reaching elevated areas. Fed by a canister, the weapon fires individual GLOO deposits in rapid succession. Initially, the GLOO Cannon has very limited range, making it most effective in close quarters. Targeting Typhon organisms with GLOO greatly reduces their mobility, and in some cases, freezes them entirely, albeit temporarily. GLOO can also be used to smother damaged electrical junctions, temporarily preventing them from spewing arcs of lethal electricity and allowing the player to fix them up.
The Silenced Pistol is the standard-issue duty weapon carried by all Talos I security officers. As a result, it is the most common firearm found on the station. The pistol fires suppressed 9mm rounds designed to harm (and potentially kill) human targets. However, the PPN has proven rather ineffective against the Typhon scourge—complaints of the weapon’s poor stopping power are common among surviving Talos I personnel. But what the pistol lacks in damage output it somewhat makes up for in stealth, rate of fire, and diminished recoil. The weapon’s integrated suppressor significantly reduces the audible report of each shot, ideal when attempting to avoid detection. Light recoil allows for quick and surprisingly accurate follow-up shots.
Life aboard a space station can get dull and repetitive. Enter the Huntress Boltcaster, a foam dart-firing toy gun which has garnered a huge following among Talos I’s crew. These colorful toy crossbows can be found scattered around the station, along with their FlexiFoam Bolt ammo. While not a serious weapon, the Huntress Boltcaster can still be useful for hitting buttons and touch-screens that are out of arm’s reach. They can also be used to distract enemies.
This is a standard pump-action tactical shotgun with a fixed, tubular magazine running beneath the barrel. Firing standard 12-gauge high-velocity shells, the weapon blasts lead shot over a wide area, dealing extreme damage at close range. However, damage drop-off is significant at ranges beyond a few meters. Furthermore, in its stock configuration, the weapon exhibits harsh recoil, making it difficult to keep the Shotgun on target when attempting a follow-up shot. Initially, the weapon also suffers from a relatively small magazine capacity and slow reloads—the weapon must be loaded manually, one shell at a time. Despite its shortcomings, the Shotgun is a top contender when it comes to taking down durable threats.
Disruptor Stun Gun
This is a unique electrical-based weapon capable of delivering an immobilizing jolt, effective against both organic and mechanical threats. Utilizing a compact, pistol configuration, the Disruptor Stun Gun is powered by replaceable batteries—search destroyed Operators for ammo. Hold down the weapon’s trigger to charge the weapon and watch the meter on the back of the pistol to determine when the weapon is fully charged. Once charged, release the trigger to fire a bolt of electricity. Initially, this weapon has extremely limited range. Furthermore, the time it takes to charge the weapon makes it a liability during dynamic combat situations.
The Q-Beam is a powerful experimental weapon developed in Talos I’s Hardware Labs. While the weapon is somewhat unwieldy in this prototype state, there’s no denying its awesome power. Hold down the trigger to fire a green, concentrated beam of unstable particles into a target, eventually causing it to explode. While firing, make note of an enemy’s health meter at the top of the HUD. As an enemy takes damage from the Q-Beam, their health meter fills with green energy, representing the unstable particles filling their body. When the health meter is completely green, the target explodes. Initially, the Q-Beam Cells used to power this weapon are extremely rare. They can sometimes be found on destroyed Operators.
Artemis Golden Pistol
This gold-plated trophy pistol is essentially a modified version of the same PPN carried by Talos I security personnel. It benefits from slightly higher damage output and a shiny gold finish. Other than that, it performs identically to the Silenced Pistol. Like the Silenced Pistol, this weapon is equipped with an integrated suppressor, perfect for staying stealthy.
The EMP Charge is a hand-thrown device with a time-delay fuse. It does not explode upon impact, allowing it be rolled or bounced off surfaces. Upon detonation, the charge emits a powerful electromagnetic pulse. While this pulse is completely harmless to organic entities, it wreaks havoc with electronic and mechanical equipment. This makes the EMP Charge ideal for temporarily disabling hostile turrets and Operators. The weapon is also effective against some Typhon, including the Voltaic Phantom and Technopath, temporarily preventing them from using their abilities.
Ongoing research in the Ballistics Lab (within the Hardware Labs) has led to the development of this unique and devastating weapon capable of converting objects into organic, mineral, synthetic, and exotic material fragments—think of it as a pocket-sized Recycler. Upon detonation, the Recycler Charge creates a miniature singularity, pulling nearby objects towards its center before exploding in a blinding light, leaving behind various material fragments. The singularity created by this device is powerful enough to pull in small objects and enemies, like Mimics, Cystoids, and Greater Mimics. But objects and enemies with greater mass can often escape the singularity’s pull. Still, the resulting explosion has a large blast radius, breaking down anything caught within.