Here we go with another bit of gameplay footage for Prey here although it may not be exactly what you think. As it turns out, Arkane Studios is looking to tackle the "theme of identity" in the game in the midst of all the craziness and horror. Of course this may have been something we've seen and heard a few times from Bethesda already over the last few months but it is being brought up again. Brought up in a way that when Prey finally launches in 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC that we will be given a choice. The choice of which gender we want to experience the game through. Yay…freedom of choice…somewhat…
Okay, so we get to choose our gender in Prey so we can play through with the version of Morgan Yu that we want to or truly identify with. So what else does this bring us for the game by choosing?
Well, according to the text that comes along with the "new" gameplay video not a whole hell of a lot. It pretty much doesn't matter which gender you choose in Prey as the only thing that will be changing is the character model and the voice actor for the game. Story won't be different. Mechanics won't be different. Pretty much nothing will be different according to what Arkane Studios has to say here. To me that is a good and a bad thing. I'll get into that a bit later since you've been so nice to indulge me so far I'll let you check out the new gameplay and then dig into the gender thing a bit lower.
Prey — Another Yu
Whether you’re using mysterious alien powers to blast your way through your enemies… or transforming into a coffee cup to casually roll through a tough situation, Prey is all about empowering you to tackle every situation in almost any manner you choose. This philosophy is central to everything at Arkane Studios, and is a core part of Arkane’s reimagining of Prey. But this doesn’t just apply to how you play. It also extends to who you are. In Prey, players will not only define themselves through their actions, but they can also choose their gender. While this choice won’t change the story or how you interact with the world – because Morgan Yu is Morgan Yu, and he or she will be defined by the choices you make – it’s yet another way that Arkane is saying yes to the player.
“The theme of identity is central to Prey,” says Creative Director Raphael Colantonio. “Who is Morgan Yu exactly? We want to give you the freedom of being a man or a woman, but we also don’t want to limit who you become when you make that choice.”
Yes, that was the same gameplay footage we've seen before just with the female voice actor giving the same speech and what looked like female hands before they were covered up. But why even give us the choice if there is not going to be anything that affects Prey in the end outside of the voice we are hearing?
On the positive side of things here, this does lend to a game that shows that females and males are equal and can do the same heroic feats. Unlike when we had the choice back in the days of Resident Evil where one character was more combat oriented and the other was more logic and strategy based. That is usually how these gender selections play out in games and it is good to see that Prey isn't going to be forcing that same mechanic on us yet again. But I am not seeing how this plays into the theme of identity in the game as of yet. This could be something we see in the full game but as of right now it just seems like a marketing thing more than a true statement of equality.
This brings me to the other side of the coin. Giving us the choice is nice and making the choice have no point mechanically does kind of takeaway from that theme of identity. More or less we will be playing a genderless robot now that just as vocal "skins" that tell us we have some choice and a sense of identity in Prey. No matter what you think, there are difference in gender when it comes to things other than the physical equipment they have on the exterior. Making the choice not matter in terms of story or mechanics at all also point to a character that has no true identity. If that is not the goal they are going for in the end with Prey, why even give us the choice? Then again, this is just a video game right?
What do you think about the sense of choice we are given here for Prey now? Do you think that this will actually play well with their theme of identity in the game or will it just be a female skin and voice thrown over another male protagonist's body? Will you truly be choosing between one gender or the other when Bethesda finally brings this game to market? Let us know your thoughts and feel free to discuss in the comments below. For more on Prey as we get it, be sure to be right here. You won't want to miss out on how the game is evolving and when it will be coming to your homes for you to make the choice; or pretend to…