Interview: Free-form climbing and alien hunting in Prey 2

PCG: What are the big strengths of an open-world game like in Prey 2 versus a more linear, scripted campaign?

CR : Player choice. Just the fact that I get to go where I want to, chose who I interact with, and which missions I do. A lot of the missions you don't have to take, if you don't want to. If there's a particular mission type, like escort missions, that you want to avoid, you can and it won't negatively impact the overall story. But the other thing is that you can pace it the way you want to pace it. If you want to do a bunch of missions in a row, you can. If you're getting sick of missions and want to hang in the bar for a while, you can do that. If you want to explore the world and collect collectibles, you can.

PCG: So you can just do the main quest missions in a row and not even bother with the side quest stuff?

CR : You can. We're trying to avoid as many bottlenecks as possible. Currently, there are a number of times when you get to a point where you need to complete one of the X number of missions to proceed. We want to avoid that funnel affect of "You have to complete this one mission before you can go on." And if you're saying “I hate this mission and can't get through it. I (as a player) am not good at this mission,” you can back up and do a different mission and continue the narrative there.

PCG: Is there any type of reputation system in place?

CR : Yes.

PCG: If I gun down every perp instead of questioning them, will people start to react to that in the future?

CR : Yes. Some of the ramifications are, if your reputation is higher, the higher-level citizens will contact you with their own jobs. You get jobs from factions and various special characters, and you get jobs from the average person on the street who'll say “I need help. I need a bounty hunter to do this for me.” If you have a more negative reputation, security systems will be more likely to come down on you faster.

PCG: Are the security systems everywhere in the world, and in all of the levels, or only in certain areas?

CR : It's everywhere, but with different distribution across the levels. The brighter area is a little bit more affluent, so there will be more cop presence there. You need to be a little more careful what you do. In another area, where the outcasts live, there is less police presence there.

PCG: Have you seen any particular memorable non-scripted events?

CR : Every time I play the demo, there are a couple of things that are memorable. Those little battles are not scripted. I only know the number of guys and roughly where they'll probably take cover. The one battle where I was ambushed and grabbed the ledge, every time I've demoed that, its been different every time. I've got an idea on how I want to play through it, but its been different.

PCG: So that is the same for all the battles? Can you elaborate on what it is different: the way the enemies behave, their location, or how they attack?

CR : How they attack you, which particular guy chooses to move forward, which cover they use or if they decide to throw grenades. One of the demos I was showing: when I was with my hostage, I turned the corner and after the guy teleports and says, “Someone shoot this son of a bitch,” one of his henchmen threw a grenade right away, which I haven't seen before while showing this demo. So I backed up immediately--I wasn't expecting that. It blew up, killed my hostage immediately and I had to run around the corner.

PCG: Can you always take a hostage? Is that always an option?

CR : Yes.

PCG: So you can always walk around with a human shield?

CR : Yes.

PCG: Does it affect your reputation?

CR : Yes. A lot of times [the hostage] won't last too long. It depends on which character you grab. You can take every single character hostage and basically any biped your size. Not that big guy at the end of the demo though.

PCG: Will there be a lot of boss battles like that or more of just smaller mission focuses?

CR : I wouldn't say boss, but mid-boss character. That kind of guy you'll encounter multiple times, just because he's so cool. We didn't want just one encounter.

PCG: Are you planning on having huge, giant boss battles? Or is it more about focusing on just the narrative and script, instead of having that big explosive arcadie moment?

CR : We aren't going into that just yet. It does go into the narrative.

PCG: Is there anything you want our readers to know before we sign off?

CR : The biggest thing is I'm super excited about the fact that we're creating this new space. There are still a lot of Prey elements here, but we're creating this new space and taking players to this new place and it ties in to what we did well in Prey, which was giving players an interesting gameplay experience they haven't seen before.