To Prey Or Not To Prey? (A Johnny Rootbeer Guest Blog)
Editor’s Note: Sup y’all. What you’re about to read is a guest write-up from one of WGG’s most trusted allies and friends – my man Johnny Rootbeer. While he’s not a full-time staff guy at WGG, he’s got some thoughts on the new (and old) Prey games, and anything he does/says/writes is 100% backed by us. Enjoy! -Papa Dom
As you probably know, Bethesda’s got a new game coming out next month – called Prey. Now, you may think to yourself, “Yes! I’ve seen the trailers and the game play looks great, I’m excited for a fresh new IP to sink my teeth into!” Well friends, I’m here to talk about why – while I am enticed by such a unique looking game – I cannot help but be sad thinking about what could have been.
Allow me to set the stage: The year is 2006, nary a full year into the launch of the Xbox 360. New games for this “new era of gaming” were trickling out here and there, some good, some bad, but among these was an absolute gem that went relatively unknown. I was at my local best buy one day looking for a new game to waste my summer vacation on, after 45 minutes of looking at different boxes trying to decide, I picked a game with a back cover that had aliens, Native Americans and explosions, an interesting combo, and went home with it.
That game was called Prey, and I loved it very, very much.
There were many things that blew my mind the first time I played Prey. The game starts off in a quiet little bar on a Native American reservation, there is no 20 minute cut scene setting up a huge back story, you just start off in the men’s room of the bar, looking in the mirror at yourself, the main character Tommy. Right away Tommy starts talking to his reflection, this is still a big deal to me because even today having a main player character that actually gets to speak is something of a luxury. You go out to the bar and meet your girlfriend and grandfather, who gives you a pep talk about finding where you belong, sticking with your family and honoring your past. Some barfly drunks start trouble and you get to put them down hamfistedly with a monkey wrench, and then things go from 0 to 60 real fucking fast. The lights go out, the bar TV flips on to the emergency broadcast system, its garbled but talking about objects in the sky, you run to the window and see beams of light in the distance, a pick up truck in the parking lot is lifted into the sky and disappears. The jukebox kicks back on, its playing Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult just as the fucking roof of the building is dissolved away, revealing a huge alien ship above, that sucks Tommy, his girlfriend and his grandfather up and away.
I was blown away, and we haven’t even gotten to the cool shit yet. This game was basically Portal before Portal was Portal. You wake up on a giant space station called the Sphere orbiting Earth, the rules of physics are different here. You get to manipulate gravity, you get to create portals and jump through them, you even get to learn how to separate your spirit form from the physical and solve puzzles as a spooky ghost. There are a bunch of different aliens to fight and you get to use all those sweet physics abilities hassle them good and plenty. I won’t give away the entire story because it really is a great ride, I just can’t praise this game enough.
Now, we get to where it all starts to go downhill. You see friends, at the end of the credits when you beat the game, the message “Prey Will Continue” appears. This message got my hopes up so damn much. YOU MEAN THERE’S MORE? We get to find out what Tommy did next? We get bigger and badder gravity puzzles? More cool guns? New aliens to shoot? Sign me up! It must be coming pretty soon if they put confirmation of its existence IN the first game.
Fast forward to around 2009-2010ish, we finally, FINALLY got to see where Prey was going next, and boy did it look sweet as shit. The focus was now a more open world approach, with a bounty hunting theme. Tommy was nowhere in sight but it was said that he was still a part of the story. Fine, that’s all fine and dandy, I am on board, take me away. All we have to do is wait a bit longer for them to release it.
With very little fanfare, Prey 2 was canned, and it hurt me deeply.
Now, in 2017, there is a new game coming out called….Prey. Whoa whoa, pump those breaks kids cause according to the developers, this game has literally NOTHING to do with my beloved game. They just thought the name sounded good, the themes were similar and most importantly, the name was available. I’m salty as fuck that we’ll never get a proper continuation or end to Tommy’s story, but part of me is going to hope beyond hope that somehow, somewhere in this game, Bethesda & Arkane had the foresight to at least acknowledge what came before in some way. Here’s hoping that Prey ’17 lives up to its namesake’s short but damn fine legacy. Cheers.
Johnny Rootbeer is a damn fine writer, a cheese enthusiast, and a prop-maker extraordinaire. You can check out his work on Instagram at @JohnnyRootbeer, and follow us on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames.
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