Alien abductions can happen to anyone, at any time. Domasi "Tommy" Tawodi, a mechanic of Cherokee descent living on a reservation in Oklahoma, had this happen to him back in 2006's first-person shooter Prey. Tommy, his girlfriend Jen, his grandfather Enisi, and dozens more were all snatched up by the sentient world ship The Sphere to be made into nourishment for this intergalactic parasite. While the original game ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, the sequel takes the series in a completely different direction with a new protagonist, Killian Samuels, and a strange new setting. At this year's Bethesda Softworks BFG press event, we got to take our first look at the many changes in store for the Prey series.
If you think back to the opening of the original Prey, you may recall that during the abduction sequence, a commercial airplane was scooped up by the alien invaders. Samuels was a US Marshall assigned as security on that flight and was subsequently sucked into The Sphere just like Tommy. So why did we never see this person running around in the original game? To answer that question, the developers loaded up their hands-off demonstration, and we picked up immediately after the abduction had taken place. Inside the alien ship, the aircraft lay in smoldering ruins scattered across a massive chamber. Thankfully, Samuels had been thrown clear from the crash and had managed to hold onto his pistol during the whole ordeal.
Not far from our current location, our hero encountered his first alien. Naturally, the extraterrestrial tried to murder poor Samuels on sight with a blast from his energy gun. Confident that this wasn't some sort of alien peace ray, our character promptly blew the creature's brains out, thus alerting additional aliens to our location. Seeing their friend blown to smithereens all over the ground, the other aliens promptly opened fire. Humankind's first contact with an alien life-form was going really south, really fast. After ducking around from one piece of cover to the next, our hero's struggle came to a sudden end when he took an energy blast to the gut and toppled to the ground.
Instead of finishing off our character right then and there, the alien aggressors took one look at Samuels before cracking him over the head with the butt of their space guns, thus knocking him unconscious. As the screen faded to black, the developers informed us that several years had just passed. Samuels had awoken on the planet Exodus with no memory of how he had arrived there or what had happened after he'd been whacked. Most people would have cracked under these conditions, but not this sky cop. Instead, he decided to make the most of this proverbial sack of lemons by making one powerful batch of lemonade--and by "lemonade," we mean he became a bounty hunter. All that US Marshall training wasn't going to go to waste just because he was on the far end of the galaxy.
Our demonstration resumed on the planet Exodus, which resembled Coruscant from the Star Wars motion picture series with a bunch of neon signs pinned up everywhere, and chronicled a day in the life of this interstellar gun for hire. Our first order of business was getting acquainted with moving around in the environment. Taking a page from Mirror's Edge, your character in Prey 2 is incredibly athletic and forgoes the use of hover cars, as well as other means of transport, in favor of climbing up or over everything in sight. Whether walking or sprinting, our character could climb, slide, and jump through almost any piece of terrain. Visual cues, such as Samuels sticking his hand out when near something climbable, were in place to help guide us, as well as a pair of hover boots (one of the bounty hunter's many gadgets) for making those extra-long jumps.
After running around the city and failing to stop the mugging of a local alien, our character decided it was time to stir up a little trouble on Exodus by hunting down a bounty target. The target in question was an alien by the name of Dra'Gar that was to be captured alive. But there was a problem: We didn't know where to locate the target. To remedy this, we paid a little visit to our local informant who agreed to help us…for a price. As it turned out, the only currency our character had was bullets, so after he blew away the informant's lone bodyguard and continued to brandish the gun, the stool pigeon agreed to help us free of charge.
However, that was not the only way we could have handled the situation. Developer Human Head Studios wants players to have a choice in how they tackle these situations--whether it is good, evil, or otherwise. For instance, we could have simply paid off the informant or attempted to diplomatically reason with him. Regardless, the important thing was that now we knew where Dra'Gar was located: a club not too far from our position. After vaulting his way across town, Samuels arrived at his destination and performed a scan of the area using another handy gadget. This device surveyed the immediate area for aliens of interest and revealed not only that our target was inside this club (surrounded by guards no less) but also that one of its lieutenants was hanging around outside.
Our character promptly swooped down and snatched up the unsuspecting lieutenant to use him as a human, or rather alien, shield as he entered the establishment. Whatever plans Samuels had for using this creature as leverage quickly fell through when Dra'Gar instantly opened fire on our character and subsequently ended its lieutenant. After a frantic firefight, where our character decimated Dra'Gar's guards with a shotgun, our target took flight using its personal teleporter to warp out the back door. Luckily, our scanner gadget was tracking it, which allowed us to see it through walls and other obstacles. The ensuing chase sequence was not unlike something you'd see in developer Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed games. As the target dashed off ahead, our character scrambled up and over obstacles in an attempt to catch up to it. Every so often, he would also have to stop and dispatch another batch of security goons utilizing yet another gadget--the shoulder-mounted rocket launcher--before giving chase once more.
When our character finally cornered Dra'Gar, it attempted to bribe us with more money than we had been paid to capture it. Samuels declined and trapped it in some sort of energy bubble. Now, he could either interrogate (torture) poor Dra'Gar for additional information--such as the location of a hidden money stash--at the risk of killing it or simply teleport it to its captors. He ended up choosing the latter, thus ending the demonstration. From what we saw, Prey 2 is shaping up to be a wholly different game from its predecessor. Designed as a solely single-player experience (no multiplayer here), Prey 2 is looking to put a bit of a cyberpunk spin on open-world, first-person shooters. You can check out Prey 2 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in 2012.