Prey: Arkane’s Seth Shain on hilarious, unexpected ways abilities can be chained
Indiana Jones and the Space Station of Questionable Inhabitants.
During our time at Arkane Studios in Austin, Stevivor heard some interesting stories of unexpected outcomes during the development stages of Prey. With player abilities and weapons chained in ways the team hadn’t anticipated, we asked Seth Shain, Lead Systems Designer, about his favourite surprise experience with Prey thus far.
“So there’s a lift power — the player gets that power from the poltergeist and can use it against the aliens,” Shain began. “I was using the lift power on a phantom and there was a low ceiling so that the lift power didn’t just fling him out it, it actually pushed him into the ceiling. So he gets pushed into the ceiling and does a big like hit reaction because he takes all this damage from getting smacked into the ceiling because its kind of like he just falls up and then he’s kind of prone against the ceiling, just flattened.
“Then, I grabbed my GLOO gun and I just started plastering him with GLOO and then the lift power ends so there’s nothing holding him up anymore except the GLOO. So he’s plastered on the ceiling, just stuck up there. That kind of stuff was like complete magic. There’s a lot of fun things you can do with lift power and GLOO.”
The stories didn’t end there.
“One time there was this phantom chasing me and I was trying to run into this room but it was blocked by a big computer server rack thing and so I used the lift power lifted the thing up almost like a garage door and I ran under there, scooted out of the lift power and then thought, I’ll wait a minute so I turned around, I GLOOED the server thing to wall and the lift power ended. Then the phantom shows up and is standing under that thing so I shot the GLOO which dropped the server rack on the phantom and squished him.
“It was awesome! I wasn’t even thinking about setting that up I was just improvising with what was in my environment and the constants I had.”
Those kind of experiences are exactly the kind Shain and team want to create.
“We want to create these kind of situations for the player. That’s one of the reasons we want to a have kind of a starvation economy where the resources really are scarce so the player really has to be careful how they use the resources because if players have too much ammo its just the easiest way to go. If the players don’t have a lot of ammo but they have all these tools and all these other opportunities for interaction they start getting really creative and you know the old saying necessity is the mother of invention, it absolutely drives people to be creative.”
To Shain, these systems mean inherent replayability.
“We have branching narrative paths so the game will have a couple of different endings and has lots of different optional side quests,” he said. “We don’t think there’s going to be enough resources in the game for the player to fully upgrade every tree or power on the players ability path so I think the combination of choosing different abilities, playing with different weapons and choosing different narrative paths are going to create enough options that replay ability is really viable in this game.”
Stay tuned for more with Seth Shain on Prey.