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A Nemesis-style threat, glue guns and telekinesis – Prey’s aliens and abilities explained

Prey

Arkane are all set to release their next game, Prey, in 2017. An immersive sim like Dishonored 2, Prey takes players to a single interconnected map: a space station called Talos 1. Up there in the stars, you’ll be taking on alien creatures and weaponising their own powers against them, as well as using makeshift weaponry that you chance upon. Arkane are now revealing some of that equipment, speaking about the powers and peeling back some of the mystery behind the inky alien threat. 

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Each alien you encounter on Talos 1 has its own behaviours and abilities, with some shapeshifting into everyday objects, just to heighten the paranoia. Of course, you can use their abilities, altering your DNA with a Neuromod scanner.

Upon activating these powers, players enter Psy mode and time temporarily slows to a crawl, giving you chance to deploy them without fumbling in panic because an ink alien is swiping weird tendrils at your face.

If you keep equipping Neuromods, you might get more than you bargained for, however. A creature called a Nightmare will be stalking you throughout the game, and the hulking thing can track you even more easily when you equip more powers.

Here are some of the powers you’ll be able to use:

  • Lift Field: taken from the invisible Poltergeists, you can send enemies and scenery shooting upwards by creating an anti-gravity field. You can use this to send enemies skyward, or you can stand on something and levitate, reaching new areas.
  • Kinetic Blast: this is a psychic blast of energy that can be used to knock enemies or bits of scenery away.
  • Leverage: this one’s basically super strength, giving you the power to launch vending machines at aliens, clear blocked paths, or set up a makeshift set of stairs.
  • Mimic: you’ve probably seen this one. It lets you copy the form of inanimate objects, so you can be a chair or a cup. It might not sound exciting, but cups can fit in much smaller gaps than people in space suits. It’s also handy for stealth, as you’d imagine.
  • Mindjack: ripped from the Telepath enemy type, this lets you possess humans. A similar ability later on will do the same for robots.
  • Psychoshock: use this ball of energy to shut down the psychic powers of any aliens trying to turn into cups.
  • Remote Manipulation: this is essentially telekinesis., but use it with Leverage and you can throw vending machines without even having to touch them.
  • Superthermal: this sets off super heated plasma in an area. Use it to melt enemies, or turn into a cup and blast yourself, sending you skyward like a new-age rocket jump.

Now, onto the weapons you’ll be using…

  • Disruptor Stun Gun: this is a handheld electroshock tool that’s useful for zapping humans and frying droids, but you need to be pretty close. It’s non-lethal, however, so if someone’s being puppeteered by an alien, you have the option to drop them without any murder.
  • GLOO Cannon: it’s a massive industrial glue gun. Shut off gas leaks, freeze enemies into place and create a foamy ledge to clamber across.
  • Recycler Charge: these are throwables that you can use to clear rooms of inanimate objects. Handy for when you’re worries everything is an alien. It breaks them down into components that you can scoop up for crafting.

Lastly, Arkane have also revealed some of the alien creatures you’ll be fighting. Read on for more…

  • Cystoids: these are the smallest Typhons you’ll come across, but they travel in packs and they will home in on you and explode. You can use them to your advantage, as they will go for any movement they detect. Lob an item and send them exploding after it.

“They have the smallest minds,” says lead designer Ricardo Bare, via Game Informer. “They’re like a creature – like a fish – they’re very simple. They’re placed in these nests almost like mines, and they’re attracted to motion – anything like a physics object or a player running past them. [Outside of zero-g], they roll on the ground like a carpet of soccer balls chasing you.”

  • Mimics: these are the ones that turn into inanimate objects, if you hadn’t guessed from the name. Their spider-like forms are agile and they will go for your throat like a shadowy facehugger.

“They’re sort of the progenitors of the whole ecology,” Bare explains. “One Mimic can start the whole thing all over again, if just one survives. Whenever they duplicate, they’re sort of the scouts. After killing a human or any living thing, they sort of absorb their life force, and then they duplicate. And they repeat that process. Of course, in the game, their main function is to hide and ambush the player.”

  • Phantoms: these are crew members that have been taken over by Typhon energy. Standard foot-soldiers, these are the most common enemy you will encounter. There are multiple variants – some have control over fire, some breathe out toxic clouds and others hit you with a spear of lightning.

“There are different kinds of Phantoms,” Bare says. “The later into the game you go, you start to see more variations on them. Some of it isn’t predetermined, some of it’s randomised, so you might have a different kind of Phantom than another player, which means you have different access to powers if you’re scanning aliens for powers.”

  • Poltergeists: this enemy is even worse than a Mimic because it can make itself completely invisible. Named after mischievous ghosts, these aliens are territorial, ‘haunting’ a single location. They won’t always make themselves known, though sometimes they will manipulate the environment and sometimes they will lift you in the air with a power.

“It’s like a half-malformed, didn’t-quite-bake-long-enough Phantom,” Bare explains. “They’re weaker than the more advanced Phantoms but they’re about on the same level as the base Phantoms. They lurk around and sort of haunt an area and mess around with stuff and get in your head a little, and then wait for an opportunity to start throwing things at you and throw you into the air.”

  • Telepaths: psychic energy blasts and commanding an army of husks is just another day in the office for a Telepath.

“We don’t have anything like boss fights in the game, but because of the way the A.I. works, [Telepaths] feel like a miniboss,” Bare says. “He owns an area and typically has a cluster of humans that he’s taken over. The humans are interesting, because they are aware of the fact that they’ve been possessed, so if they see you they’ll say things like, ‘I can’t stop myself. Run, get away. We’re both going to die,’ that kind of thing. That presents the player with an interesting choice. Do I cap this person, but they’re actually a human being, or do I try to find a way to avoid them or take them down non-lethally?”

  • Nightmare: this is essentially Resident Evil 3’s Nemesis in alien form. It will hunt you throughout the game and you are better off hiding or running away. If you do fight, you better hope you have the resources.

“The Nightmare was specifically created to kill you, because the Typhons recognise you as some kind of anomaly that’s resisting them and threatening their system,” Bare explains. “The more alien powers you install, the more it becomes aware of you and can track you down. That’s a dynamic system. So I can be in the cafeteria somewhere and jam 15 Neuromods into my eye, and all of a sudden hear this huge roar, and the Nightmare is in the level. He’s in the world, hunting you, but he doesn’t know where you are unless you stumble into him or do things like install a bunch of Neuromods.”

Thanks, Game Informer.

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