How Arkane is approaching zero-g in Prey
The upcoming Prey reboot will feature a significant amount of zero-g gameplay, but how will it play?
Similar to games like BioShock, the upcoming Prey for PS4, Xbox One and PC will unfold in a big, open, living world. Only it is set in space rather than the ocean and has aliens instead of grotesquely mutated humans. The space station will open up almost like a metroidvania game, too, with the player able to explore and revisit areas previously inaccessible as they gain more powers and a bigger inventory.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of the setting is that outside the space station is part of the playing space. Players are encouraged to float off into space and find their way to other areas of the station, be it simply to make a shortcut to a known location, or to discover something new. Zero-g gameplay is always a bit hit and miss, with the feel of travelling through a space devoid of gravity a challenging one to get right.
When I caught up with Arkane co-founder Raphael Colantonio, and Prey’s lead designer Ricardo Bare, I asked for more information on how this component will play.
Can you talk about the technical challenge of getting the zero-g sections to play well?
So what happens if you just jet off into space?
Colantonio: Even though we did model the Earth.
It sounds like the experience outside the space station, floating within this magnetosphere, will be a much bigger part of the game than I had first anticipated. The fact that there are hidden areas, collectables and even full sidequests out there means it will be a lot more than just a fancy way of shortcutting between internal locations. It puts pressure on Arkane to get the physics and mechanics just right - seeing somewhere and getting there must not become an exercise in frustration. Zero-g is definitely a part of the game I am looking forward to trying.