ALARM CLOCK: Good Morning Morgan.
Today is Monday March 15th, 2032 Prey is packedwith good ideas.
Like, the Mimic.
This spindly, black, spider-like alien candisguise itself as any object in the room – making you suspicious of everything yousee.
See that health-pack? Surprise! It’s a Mimic.
But, you can also take that power for yourself.
You can use these painful looking Neuromodsto give yourself alien powers – one of which lets you turn yourself into a coffee mug, roll through a gap in a door, and then turn back into a human on the other side.
However, collecting these powers comes ata cost.
Install too many and the friendly robots aboardTalos I will read your DNA as alien, and start targeting you as an enemy.
Like I said, Prey is stuffed with smart ideas.
But perhaps the best of all is found rightat very the start of the game: the Gelifoam Lattice Organism Obstructor – or, as it’sbetter known, the Gloo cannon.
It’s the game’s signature weapon and likeKratos’ Leviathan Axe or Mario’s cap, this thing serves so many purposes that you’llalways want to have it on quick-select.
So, as soon as you snatch it, you’re invadedby an army of Mimics.
And when you hit them with the Gloo cannon’sbig blobs of insta-dry adhesive, you’ll immediately figure out its first major use:freezing enemies in place.
Kinda like the electric bolt in Bioshock orthe ice missiles in Metroid, the Gloo cannon temporarily stops enemies in their tracksand lowers their defence, giving you a chance to swap to another weapon for a decisive blow.
Or, scan them with your psychoscope to boostyour research.
Or just run away.
Another use for the Gloo cannon is to dealwith environmental hazards.
You can use it to plug up gas leaks and stopflames spewing out.
Or patch up a malfunctioning electrical circuit, to give you time to fix it.
Or use a blob of Gloo to sponge up toxic spillsleft by nuisance enemies.
Or exploit the physics system to move heftyobjects that Morgan can’t lift by hand.
But it’s the third and final use of theGloo cannon that takes this thing from a handy gadget to an essential piece of equipment: Gloo blobs stick to practically any surface, bar glass, and then stay there indefinitely- allowing you to clamber on top of them and reach high-up zones.
So right next to you when you get the Gloocannon there’s a half-finished staircase which leads you up to this roof, and netsyou few goodies.
But then you might notice that this wholearea is actually comprised of multiple floors and the grav shaft elevator is out of action.
So, if you use the Gloo cannon to build amakeshift staircase you’ll be able to reach the next floor and grab some extra stuff – includingearly access to a new weapon.
If you didn’t quite figure that out for yourself, later in the game you’ll watch a character create a Gloo staircase rightin front of you to reach an escape route.
Staircases aren’t the only thing you canmake, though: later in the game you can unlock a Neuromod called Lift, which creates a blastof antigravity and sends hefty objects high into the air.
You can then Gloo them to walls, to createfloating platforms.
Theoretically you could then destroy the Glooand have the object crash down on an enemy’s head, but I think that would be more luckthan anything.
I spent about 30 minutes trying to get thisto work and this was the best I could manage.
So the Gloo cannon can be used to get up toall sorts of high places, allowing you to find secret stashes of items.
It feels like a more intentional version ofthe classic Deus Ex trick of using LAM mines to climb up walls – and a natural expansionof the movement options in Arkane’s other immersive sim, Dishonored.
That game had to limit the player’s movementwith high-reaching walls, to keep them in one small part of a much larger world.
but a space station is very different.
In an interview with PC Gamer, Prey’s leadsystem designer Seth Shain said “Because you're on the space station TalosI and outside of that is space, everything has a ceiling.
With that, we knew that the bounds of theplayer were already set by the ceiling, [so] we could just let the player move throughthat space as fluidly as they could”.
And, naturally, that means Gloo can also beused to let you skip past sections of the game or get to places earlier than you’resupposed to.
Take, for example, the Arboretum.
When you first get there, you’ll find thatAlex’s office is completely off limits, thanks to a locked down grav shaft.
You won’t get the key code until much laterin the game, and while you can bypass the lock you probably haven’t spent enough Neuromodson hacking by this point.
However, when I got to this part of the gameI used a whole bunch of Gloo (plus a fair amount of patience) to scramble up the inside ofthe elevator shaft and reach his office hours before I was supposed to.
And Arkane probably didn’t intend players touse the Gloo gun to clip through walls, completely break the game’s progression, and finishthe whole adventure in less than 7 minutes time.
Collision breaking aside, though, the Gloogun is actually something of a technical marvel.
Games are great at letting players removestuff from a world – you know, enemies, objects, sometimes entire walls and chunks of planets- but adding new things is something entirely more difficult.
Having to draw too many objects can tank thegame’s frame rate.
Even my PC struggles to keep up with 2, 000cheese wheels in the same street.
And saving all this additional stuff in memoryisn’t always possible, which is why bullet holes disappear after you’ve created toomany.
And that’s not to mention that Prey’sGloo blobs are physical objects that you can stand on – hence, the collision issue.
Of course, adding objects is totally possible, but usually with restrictions.
Minecraft has simple voxel-based graphicsand is constrained to a grid.
Dreams has a creation budget that you can’texceed.
And Shadow Complex – which has a similar gadgetto the Gloo cannon in its Foam gun – is saved by being in only two dimensions.
So, to that end, the Gloo cannon also hassome restraints.
There is a limit to the number of blobs inone area, but unless you're cheating, your ammo will surely run out before you ever see it.
The most obvious limitation, though, is thatwhile Gloo can stick to most things, it can’t stick to other blobs of Gloo.
So you can’t make big towers or bridges.
Shain says “that's something that we couldn'tdo because it created this technical problem – this chain of constraints that added tothe computation time [of] the whole chain.
There was no way we could do this and haveit perform on console”.
So while the Gloo gun went through lots ofiterations and prototypes, lead designer Ricardo Bare told PCGamesN that “the version weended up with was the best intersection of: performs well enough to ship and is the mostfun”.
So, Prey is a game that is all is about choice.
Male or female? Human or alien? Save or sacrifice? Which Neuromods do you pick? How do you explore the space station? Who do you trust? At every turn, the game gives you the powerto choose your own way to play.
And the Gloo cannon is a potent symbol ofthat player empowerment because it can serve you no matter how you choose to play – fromcombat to pacifism to exploration to problem solving to sequence breaking silliness.
It’s that multi-purpose design that makesthe Gloo cannon one of gaming’s most ingenious gadgets.
Thanks for watching! It’s always fun to go really deep on a singleidea from a game.
To that end, check out these similar videoson two more multipurpose game mechanics, the Leviathan Axe from God of War, and Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey.
See you soon.