From how Human Head and Bethesda have described Prey 2, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from their E3 demonstration. First off, it's quite a departure from the original game. Secondly, it's a mix-match of various genres, one that works surprisingly well. The open-world shooter kicks off some time within the first game's timeline. Remember the spectacular plane crash? That's where Prey 2 begins.
Prey 2 focuses on the story of US Marshall Killian Samuels, who was on the aforementioned flight when the plane crashed onto the Sphere. Fast forward a few years after his abduction from hostile aliens and he finds himself on the planet of Exodus with no memory of the past. He does, however, hold onto his US Marshalls badge. Killian is a bounty hunter, a pretty darn good one too.
Prey 2 is very much an open-world game, despite being set mostly in a sprawling city. Every nook and cranny of Exodus can be explored and traversal is made easier with his acrobatic abilities. Not unlike the free-running seen in Mirror's Edge and Brink, Killian is able to vault himself over objects, scale buildings and jump across chasms. Killian can shoot even while running, sliding, vaulting or even whilst hanging from a ledge. A little something the devs call Agile Combat.
<img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3028/5870782430_7ed97c1daa_z.jpg" width="590 alt="Prey 2 - Feeling Threatened">
The demo showcased Killian in the middle of a bounty hunt. The man has several useful gadgets at his disposal, including a scanner that identifies friendlies and enemies. Like Assassin's Creed, Killian will be able to identify targets and potential threats "“ which are outlined in red and yellow, respectively, while green denotes friendlies. It's a particularly useful device for locating objectives. There is more than one way to tackle a mark as well. As shown in the demo, you can either do it like Rambo, charge in guns blazing and take everyone down with you, or do it a bit more discreetly. Perhaps take your mark's lieutenant hostage and use him as leverage to get closer to your mark before doing away with him? Or sneak through the top floor and hit him when he leasts expects it. How you do it is up to you.
This also plays into the game's reputation system. Killian will become more notorious if the collateral damage is too high, or if he simply assaults law-abiding civilians for no apparent reason. The city's Security Eye will first issue warnings. Keep on building up his notoriety and it'll teleport reinforcements to deal with him. In addition, there's also a Threat system built into the game.
By default, Killian does not walk around the city with his firearm drawn as it really doesn't make any sense. Drawing a weapon on some poor fool will either scare the crap out of him or cause him to react aggressively, it'll depend on the AI. Depending on how it's used, it can also work to Samuel's advantage. At some point in the demo, Killian needed to get information out of a tight-lipped informant; drawing his sidearm and blowing a hole in his bodyguard's head seemed to do the trick. There are also various random events that occur throughout Exodus, muggings, eavesdropping, etc. It'll be up to Killian whether he intervenes or not.
NPCs and marks will react differently to Killian. Some will fight back, others will run. These chase sequences are surprisingly intense. If you've seen the CGI trailer, it's exactly like that. Killian will have to chase his target across the city, jumping across rooftops and platforms, vaulting over obstacles and taking out anyone that stands in his way. Once captured, some marks will offer double the bounty or more to let them go. Doing so will increase Killian's notoriety, but he'll get more credits. Killian can also interrogate marks for more information or additional quests; however, Killian's interrogation methods aren't exactly subtle, do it too much and your mark might die, leading to a smaller bounty.
Prey 2 certainly looks interesting. The open world mechanics and combination of various elements from a number of genres work together to present a promising premise. Add an abduction story on top of the mix and there's a moist, delicious cake just waiting to be consumed. There game isn't out until next year, but we'll be keeping an eye on it as it develops even further.