The walls of Arkane’s Austin studio look to be covered in inspirational posters. You know the type — a cat hanging from a tree with the heading “Perseverance” in big block letters towards the bottom; “Hang in there!” underneath that, in smaller font.
Upon closer inspection, you’ll find they’re specific to Arkane itself, and represent the core gameplay the studio wants to create. “F*ck ladders” is the one that generates the most buzz, proclaiming, “You’d just fall to your death anyway.” “Say yes to the player,” reads another, accompanied by a picture of a man walking along the top of an airplane at high altitude; “If it occurs to players, and sounds like fun, let them do it.”
“I think there’s 12 or 15 of them,” Arkane’s Ricardo Bare said of the posters. “We did this exercise on Dishonored where we came up with a lot of those posters. In fact, probably 10 of those are the same. They’re the same posters that we had on Dishonored but we excised probably three or four of them that we thought we not relevant and then we added three or four new ones for Prey.
“One example is the Space Dungeon [poster],” he continued. “That one is something that we added that is unique to Prey, because the structure of Prey as a game is different from the structure of Dishonored as a game. Dishonored is more of a mission-based game; a location-based game. You go to lots of varied locations and then you move on and leave them behind. Whereas Prey is one location, really. It’s one huge space station and the player has a more open access — we call it an open space station game. You can go inside the space station, you can go outside the space station, the whole entire exterior.
“It feels like one big giant mission, all taking place in the space station, as opposed to multiple sequence of various missions.”