We're looking back at our favourite moments of E3 2016 and for Daniel Anderson, the nostalgia hit hard with Prey.
As someone who has been playing PC games for a very (very) long time the original game was a matter of myth, teased in the pages of PC Gamer for months and years, with glimpses of groundbreaking graphical technology that never saw the light of day. You'll have to take my word that these were cutting edge graphics almost 20 years ago folks!
And then the game finally did arrive and, against all odds, it was pretty good. It was definitely a different Prey than the one which had been whispered about from the shadows for so long but the portal tech was still hugely impressive, and remains so to this day.
Better still, it was fun at a time when the FPS genre was becoming increasingly dour, a trend that continues today. Also it was a whole heap better than the horrorshow of Duke Nukem Forever. It still haunts my dreams.
News of a sequel has been wandering around the edges of the internet pretty much since the original game launched in 2006. It was to follow the set up of the first game to some degree but with the very welcome addition of an open world and a new bounty hunter main character. The CG reveal trailer for this version by Human Head Studios.
How much cash was wasted on this promo?!
By 2009, the rights for Prey had been snapped up by Bethesda (Doom, Fallout) and development was said to be continuing - until the entire project was canned officially in 2014. Or so it appeared.
While some leaks had suggested a version of the game could have been in the works, it was still a surprise to see it pop up at E3 2016 in any form. Now in the hands of Dishonored developers Arkane, Prey represents an entirely new take, free from anything which Human Head was previously working on.
It debuted with an all CG trailer which is something that increasingly happens when the release date is too far off to show in-engine gameplay. Check it out.
That’s some very glossy stuff, and it makes the game seem like a story rich first person sci-fi adventure, with a darker tone and threads of horror as the human protagonist is taken over by some alien thing.
It’s not the most unique set up ever, there are shades of The Darkness in the presentation and some of the powers on display, but when you’ve got a studio like Arkane involved you know that the gameplay is going to be just as delicious as the world building and narrative.
A few scant details have also been revealed - suggesting the final game will be an open world experience and that your character can be male or female. This suggests a more freeform approach, let’s hope they keep the story to the fore.
A vague 2017 release date has been mooted, suggesting that we’re still a long way off from actually getting to play Prey. Given the decade since the original, Bethesda would be wise to keep away from that prime late-year release window so we might see it arrive in the late summer lull, or even be held back until 2018.
After all, this is a series with a history of impressive delays. One thing is certain, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, for nostalgia’s sake.