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Bethesda Softworks reimagines ‘Prey’ with Arkane Studios

Previous rumors about the development of Prey 2 are now partially confirmed, and Arkane Studios (developer of Dishonored) has taken over development of the Prey franchise. It isn’t the sequel it’s working on, but a new take on Prey as a series. Bethesda has hit the reset button, and it’s unclear what remains of the original vision for the sequel.

The original Prey was an action-focused, linear single-player game with a portal mechanic that preceded Portal. You couldn’t shoot portals in every direction, but they existed, and the game played around heavily with spiritual themes, graphic violence, and sudden shifts in gravity. President and Co-Creative Director of Arkane Studios, Raphael Colantonio, took the stage to announce the new game. And though we haven’t actually seen the game in action yet, the presentation hinted of a game more similar to the original than the sequel previously in development.

In the new Prey, you play as Morgan. He’s a guy with a busy life, and is the subject of an experiment aboard the Taliswan space station. In the announcement trailer, he wakes up three times, at the same time, on the same day, in the same year. And each time he does so, his right eyeball seems to grow an increasingly disturbing red color. It is March 15 in the year 2032. What we see at the start of this trailer is Morgan waking up for coffee, while the glitchy hologram-ish footage seen at the end seems to indicate that the station can project artificial environments for its passengers (such as a huge city). Life on the station is supposed to account for an indefinite stay, but it becomes rather nasty when an alien species find its way into the station and starts hunting you.

Judging from the pre-rendered trailer, the gameplay is similar the original. Super powers aren’t anything new to the franchise, and Colantonio said players are expected to use their wits, weapons, and abilities to survive. In the original game you took on the role as Tommy (or “Domasi Tawodi”), a Cherokee garage mechanic and former U.S. Army soldier. On an evening that is otherwise like any other, aliens descend upon earth and wreak havoc. They also transport Tommy and his close ones to a ship, and that’s where the game takes place. It’s a dark and gory story. Tommy can go into a spiritual form to attack his enemies, which leaves this new version open to play around with different abilities.

The sequel to Prey had seen a very hectic development period. It was in development when the original game launched, but it wasn’t officially unveiled until March 2011. Prey 2 then looked nothing like the original, but its science fiction universe, gritty tones, and mercenary concept caught the hearts of many gamers. So when development got shaky and the ammunition seemed to have run out for the development team, it was with disappointment, not surprise, that fans heard it had been cancelled. Perhaps it makes sense for Arkane Studios to start over from scratch and reimagine the series in order to keep it alive.

Once again, this game is called Prey and seems to be a spin on the existing game world rather than an extension of the work made on the game we knew as Prey 2. It’s not often that a franchise consists of just two titles with the exact same title, and it’s a clear sign that Bethesda Softworks wants Arkane Studios to start over with the series.

Prey will be launched next year on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. More details will be revealed at Quakecon 2016, this year, between August 4-7.