DescriptionWhen Tommy, a garage mechanic, defends his girlfriend in a bar fight in a Native American reservation in Oklahoma, the entire bar, along with everyone inside, is sucked into a shuttlecraft. They are transported into The Sphere, an enormous, organic alien ship. Tommy is set free by one of the denizens and his task is to save his girlfriend Jen and grandfather Enisi, and find out what the meaning of The Sphere is.
This 3D-shooter, based on a modified version of the Doom 3 engine, takes place entirely inside the gigantic ship. As a combination of organic and cybernetic structures, gravity is defied: with the proper grids activated, you can walk on walls and ceilings. There are also multiple dimensions inside the ship you can cross using portals. During his quest, Tommy struggles with his Native American lineage. The ghost-like hawk Talon is always on your side and you sometimes cross over to another land to get help from your grandfather. Tommy can also shift to Spirit Walk, an alternate dimension in the game to get past obstacles and solve puzzles. When you die, you are also transported to another realm where you have to shoot lost souls with your spirit bow before being sent back. Your new health and spirit status will be based on your performance there.
The weapons Tommy uses are usually organic, with secondary fire functions. The arsenal includes a wrench, a rifle, crawlers, an acid sprayer, an auto cannon, a leech gun (chargeable with fire, ice, red orbs or lightning), a rocket launcher and the spirit bow. Certain parts of the game require you to explore large areas in a flying pod. You can use it to engage enemies or use the tractor beam to move objects. Navigation, often with a distinct lack of direction, is reminiscent of Descent then. Puzzles usually require you to decipher codes, activate switches and find entrances.
The game supports OpenAL and EAX HD surround sound, and multiplayer games for up to eight players in duel or team deathmatch. Although the game is developed by Human Head Studios, it is produced and was originally designed by 3D Realms.
- "掠食" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
- "Prey: A Talon Brave Game" -- Working title
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1001 Video GamesPrey appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
Copy protectionIn October 2006, the Triton digital distribution service used to activate the Windows version, was disabled, leaving the users in the cold. 3D Realms promised to look into it and soon after Triton announced that it would work on a patch to remove the dependency from the live system and allow you to backup / copy and play your games. A next step was promised to make the game run without any of the Triton code. On 30th November 2006, the game was made available on Valve's digital download network Steam. All owners can use their existing product key to activate the game.
Demo versionThere is a feature in Prey that people may not notice. If you have played the demo and uninstalled it but kept the save games, the retail version will recognize those saves, allowing you to resume the game at the latest save point you have. This way, you will not need to start the game all over again when you pick up your copy at the store.
DedicationThe game is dedicated to the memory of William Scarboro, who died of an asthma attack on 9 August 2002. He was the game's original lead programmer in 1995, and devised the portal technology in the game's original incarnation.
DevelopmentPrey was first announced in 1995, when Duke Nukem 3D was still in development and the first Quake was yet to be released. It was never meant to use the Build engine, but a new engine instead. The initial team was made up of Tom Hall, Project Leader (he left one year later to found Ion Storm), William Scarboro, Lead Programmer, Mark Dochtermann, Net Programmer, and Jim Dose, Tools Programmer. Chuck Jones and Doug Wood also worked on some of the early art. Development was halted in August 1996 when most of the development team walked away.
With a new team aboard, development was continued in 1997 with a full redesign. It was also announced that the IDM collective KMFDM would do the music. In October 1998, important members of the development team left (including Paul Schuytema and William Scarboro). 3D Realms hired Corrinne Yu to design a new engine, but she was fired in 2000 and 3D Realms finally removed all references to the game on its website.
No official news appeared until 2005, when it was announced that Prey had been in development since 2001 at Human Head Studios, led by Chris Rhinehart.
InaccuraciesThe game depicts the Cherokee "Land of the Ancients" as being a stylized desert, reminiscent of Arizona. While this is likely intended to depict Oklahoma, it is incorrect. The Cherokee people are not, in fact, originally from Oklahoma. Originally, the Cherokee tribe resided in the general areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, etc. It was not until the Trail of Tears that the Cherokee people lived in Oklahoma.
LegalSince September 2009 the intellectual property is owned by ZeniMax Media Inc.
ProfanitySuprisingly, Tommy's speech includes a fair amount of profanity with words rarely heard in other games, true to 3D Realms' rebel style. There is, however, a profanity filter you can enable in the options menu to leave those words out.
- In one of the later levels, Tommy exclaims "It’s so dark in here, I’m doomed" - possibly a reference to Doom 3, critiqued for the amount of dark environments.
- In one of the Art Bell radio chats, someone says "They've been preying on us since 1995!" This is a reference to Prey's development time, as 1995 was when development on the game was started.
- At the time of the first confrontation with the possessed demon children you can hear toy music box melody playing in the background; It is the same exact melody that was playing in first Max Payne in the scene Max's family was murdered.
- The priestess of the Hidden Tribes is named Elhuit. The name has been probably inspired from the Hebrew word "elohut", meaning "something divine".
- A hidden reference to Don Hertzfeldt's animated short film Rejected is in the bathroom the player starts in. Above the right urinal, there is a graffiti drawing of a stick figure holding a large spoon with the words, "My spoon is too big" written next to it.
References to the game
- The delayed development of Prey was a joke amongst gamers in the same way as Duke Nukem Forever. An example can be found in a Penny Arcade (webcomic) strip 'Chicka-Wow Chicka-Wow Wow', where "Have you seen this game? Prey" is written on a milk carton).
- Prey was parodied in an episode of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. It was published on the DVD of issue 10/2006.
- 2006 – #3 Best PC Game of the Year
- 2006 – #3 Most Impresssive Boss of the Year
- 2012 – #5 Top PC Gaming Intro
Related Web Sites
- Lon's Prey Page (The history of Prey, with video and screenshot archives)
- Prey (Official game website)
- Something Awful review (A humorous review on Something Awful (demo version))
- The Hunted Becomes The Hunter (An Apple Games article about the Macintosh version of Prey, with commentary being provided by Project Lead Chris Rhinehart (January, 2007).)
- X360A achievement guide (X360A's achievement guide for Prey.)
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