Interviews// Prey 2

Posted 25 Nov 2011 15:41 by
Games: Prey 2
Human Head is going for something a little bit different with the development of Prey 2. The original, a unique gravity-defying romp through an alien spaceship, saw abducted Native American Tommy walk on walls and ceilings and channelling spirit guides to overcome puzzles.

Here, players take control of an entirely new character in Killian Samuels - and rather than focus on wall-walking trickery, the game's developer intends to rely on open-world exploration, bounty hunting and sci-fi parkour. Project Lead Chris Rhinehart told me all about it.

SPOnG: Could you give us a brief overview of the game? Are you still controlling Tommy in the sequel?

Chris Rhinehart: No, youíre a different character actually. And what happened is we wanted to explore other parts of the Prey universe after Tommyís story. We took a look at Prey 1 and found there were certain aspects that we wanted to carry over to the sequel. But one of the big things is we want let the player experience more of this universe, from different perspectives. Thatís why youíre a brand new character.

You actually play a former marshall turned alien bounty hunter named Killian Samuels. Tommy is still very much a part of the game, you just donít play as him. He is an important part of the narrative though. Weíre also giving you new mechanics. For me personally, Prey 1 was about taking you to a place where shooter fans hadnít been before, and giving you gameplay mechanics that nobody had experienced before. Weíre trying to do a similar thing with the sequel. You havenít really been in a world like this one before, and youíll have all these unique new abilities as a kickass bounty hunter. I think when you see the demo, a lot of this will make sense.

SPOnG: I fondly remember the Wall Walking mechanics in the original Prey. Will those return along with the new gameplay features you hope to include in Prey 2?

Chris Rhinehart: We donít have Wall Walk or the gravity stuff in the sequel. Itís really about being a bounty hunter, using your gadgets in different ways and finding ways to take guys down. But I was talking to someone earlier and he made an interesting point, where he said, ĎWith Prey, when I entered an area I didnít know what was going to happen. You had to work out what you had to do to get out of this situation.í There were these unexpected twists, too. Those two elements are still prevalent in the sequel. Thereís constantly new mechanics, new gadgets, new weapons, new situations that you find yourself in, to keep things fresh. Thereís also the aspect of unexpected twists that happen - these missions donít always go down cleanly. Thereís something that will happen that will mix things up, be it something crazy-violent or darkly humorous.

SPOnG: For these unique mechanics, are they going to be user-oriented things - like features embedded into weapons maybe - or more environmental stuff like the Wall Walk and gravity stuff was in the original Prey?

Chris Rhinehart: There are some environmental elements to this game, but really itís about... the way weíve done it really differentiates ourselves from other First Person Shooters.

One of the things we didnít want to do was make a shooter in a sea of shooters. Itís a very competitive market, and our big thing is that youíre this bounty hunter and that right away is something people can understand, latch onto and think Ďthat sounds really awesome.í Then thereís the agile combat system and climbing abilities - he can slide under objects and leap really high, and it just gives you this real freedom of movement. The world is very vertical, so there are lots of opportunities to use those abilities.

But we knew that we couldnít just give you these cool climbing abilities without a decent world to explore. And with some of the missions you get to engage in pursuit scenes too. So combat, exploration and pursuit. Those are the three core pillars of the game. When designing the combat system, we knew we wanted to have cover-based combat, but itís really fast and fluid, as well as really accessible. I can really easily slide into cover, pop out and vault from cover, and shoot while Iím doing all of that. We wanted the player to feel really powerful.

SPOnG: The announcement of a sequel to Prey really was a surprise to many people. The original was perhaps seen as a rather niche title, I donít know if you would agree with that... what has the reaction been from the gaming community?

Chris Rhinehart: I think a lot of people are excited about us making a sequel. The thing that we had which was really interesting, was when we first announced it people didnít quite get it. There were a lot of Prey fans out there who didnít understand where we were going with this sequel. And there were people who maybe werenít fans of Prey who were wondering why we were doing this at all! But once people saw what we were doing and got the direction that we were taking the game, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

SPOnG: What other areas are you looking to improve over the original? I personally found the Prey 1ís multiplayer mode to be severely lacking.

Chris Rhinehart: Well, Prey 2 doesnít have multiplayer at all. Itís a single-player focused game. That was a decision that we made pretty early on, to make the strongest solo campaign that we can and to partner with Bethesda who are the masters at single-player games. So it all worked out very well in that regard. We also wanted to make sure that the single-player had a lot of depth and longevity, and we didnít want multiplayer to be something that felt tacked on. That would not be our intention, obviously, but we felt that our resources would be best served making a single-player game. And actually, thatís the best thing for us as a developer, itís the best thing for the publisher and itís the best thing for the gamer.
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Games: Prey 2

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