As Phil discovered at QuakeCon last year, Arkane's incoming space-flung alien-blasting shooter Prey lets you morph into various objects in order to access otherwise unreachable locations and overcome otherwise insurmountable obstacles. Previous demo footage has shown protagonist Morgan Yu transform into mugs in order to roll through small gaps in windows, but the latest trailer shows our hero shapeshifting into a variety of different objects—including headphones and pizza boxes.
There's also toilet rolls, picture frames, tin kettles, bags of candy and—look, you're probably better having a gander for yourself.
While I'm genuinely looking forward to floating through the Talos-1 space station in the guise of an overripe banana, my favourite parts of the above trailer are the instances of morphing which have consequence and purpose.
For example, I like that the transformation breaks down when the mug smashes after falling from height; when Yu wipes out a fast-firing gun turret by taking the form of another gun turret himself/herself; or when his/her alien foes pay little mind to an otherwise innocuous wet floor sign, before he/she switches back and takes them out with shotgun.
When I first learned that Prey grants players shapeshifting abilities, I was concerned the process would come across gimmicky. The above examples show there's scope for a distinct degree ingenuity—which is something Phil learned when in conversation with the game's lead systems designer Seth Shain.
Here's an extract from what Shain told Phil:
"We have this explosive tank in the game. If you shoot it, it starts venting gas and flies around and stuff. You can mimic those. The expectation is [if you get shot in that state] that you get to fly around as that thing. We’re definitely going to support that! Once we thought about that, we’re like, we’re not going to not do that now. Of course we’re going to do that!
"It’s one of those things that I’m glad someone thought to try it. Because it would be disappointing if we released that into the wild and then players tried it and were disappointed that it didn’t work."
My question now is this: what happens when you Yu gets shot while posing as a piece of curved, bruised fruit? I guess we'll find out on May 5, 2017 when Prey is due to land. Check out James' hands-on until then, including an hour of in-game footage.