Eschewing warp portals, Native American spirit worlds and gravity puzzles for an apparently more straightforward open-world bounty hunting experience, Prey 2 is one of those games that shares little more than a title with its progenitor. We sit down with Prey 2’s associate producer Matt Bisenius as he picks his way through fan critique and justifies the studio’s choices.
“Well I think, with Prey, we did really well with the linear corridor shooter, and we wanted to branch out of that and give people some choice and some options,” says Bisenius when asked why the team chose to take Prey 2 open-world. “The biggest choice you can give someone is letting them go wherever they want to, and now you can go and do whatever you want.”
He continues: “We definitely want to try and get out there and do something different. Open-world isn’t new by any means, but open-world FPSes with all our cool mechanics, gadgets and narrative – I think that is something new and different. We get inspiration from everywhere: movies, TV, other games.”
Indeed, Prey 2’s influences seem many and various. Assassin’s Creed, Mirror’s Edge and BioShock all seem to have had an input be it in game mechanics or simply structure and atmosphere.
“I would say BioShock is a lot of more linear than what we’ve got going on,” remarks Bisenius.
“What you’re going to see are missions that can take you anywhere throughout the world and missions you can do at will as apposed to be thrown at you and forced upon you. It’ll introduce you to new parts of the world, too.”
We took influence from a lot of places but we started from the bottom so what does this bounty hunter do? He runs, he jumps, he hangs, he’s very agile and all those things mixed with combat just seem to make sense for Prey 2. We were never trying to mimic anything in particular, though.”
But it’s not just the gameplay, set entirely on a planet named Exodus, that’s measurably divorced from Prey. Its hero, Killian Samuels, is also a jarring choice next to Prey’s Tommy Tawodi who, though he could be considered a Native American stereotype, was comparatively unique to standard gaming protagonists.
“I think the character itself doesn’t define the franchise,” argues Bisenius. “Prey was about alien abduction and one man against many aliens, the predator/prey relationship, the Keepers – all of those things carry over into Prey 2. So, yeah, we have a new protagonist but we are most definitely still Prey.”