Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Prey (2017)

Go To

  • So exactly how does Neuromods work to give you increased strength or extended life by rewriting the neurons in your brain?
    • For strength, it could be the old sci-fi fallback - Uninhibited Muscle Power - taking a person's mental blocks will give them super strength.
    • Seeing as how neuromods are actually made out of shapeshifting alien matter, there's nothing stopping it from consuming and then creating a modified form of the rest of your body, just like what neuromods do to your brain.
    • Note that the strength power is called "Leverage" — you're not developing more muscle power, just understanding how best to use it. Likewise, the power for more health is "Conditioning" — you gain a better understanding of how your body works and how best to use it, allowing you to cope with injury more effectively.
    • Advertisement:
    • When throwing items with leveled Leverage power, there is a particle effect visible - as if you used telekinesis to throw them.
    • The placebo effect works because the brain has more control over the condition of the body than it consciously or subconsciously believes. Neuromods could take advantage of that fact and change how the brain handles injury and aging, such as preventing you from going into shock (which can be more fatal than the injury itself), or otherwise stopping the brain from overreacting to something otherwise non-lethal, such as the death of a partner. Increasing the time the brain is in its prime health will also increase natural lifespan on the whole.
    • You are a typhon made to think you are Morgan. The neuromods make it so you remember that you have superhuman strength and Typhon powers. Jossed with Mooncrash DLC implying that actual humans get typhon abilities from neuromods

  • When TranStar has hundreds of "volunteers" to run tests on, why would they use one of their top researchers and the vice president of the company as a test subject in a way that involved deleting years of invaluable memories? Morgan invented the psychoscope in his/her early 30s at the latest. That's a multi-billion dollar mind they are messing with. In fact, the practice of routinely wiping researchers memories by pulling neuromods is just ignorant of the way science works. Research is cumulative, and you would constantly have learning curve problems. I can understand the dystopian aspects and need for keeping the Typhon secret, but it breaks willing suspension of disbelief that they would have any progress given these needless self-limiting factors.
    • From what it sounds like in the dialogue, Morgan volunteered to test the neuromods on himself. Considering he's the second most influential person on the station next to Alex, it's not like there's anybody who's going to say no to him.
    • The game takes place within a simulation based off of Morgan's memories. We, the players, have no idea how much of the simulation diverges from what Morgan actually experienced; the real Morgan may have only tried one or two neuromods before quitting for all we know.
    • The latter point is specifically called out as a problem in an email to Alex. Even with backups of the work they've done, constantly resetting the entire research staff at the same time is showing signs of impacting progress. The author of the email suggests reevaluating a staggered schedule of wipes at the next meeting in an attempt to alleviate the problem.
    • Advertisement:
    • Notes you can find indicate that among the powers that Morgan was testing was the incredibly lethal Kinetic Blast. In the intro, the scientists seem concerned that the glass might break, and you're only throwing a chair around. Presumably, the Yu brothers didn't trust anybody else with this kind of power. A pissed-off human guinea pig on death row who can kill people with his mind is a recipe for disaster.

  • Why does Danielle Sho work for TranStar when she hates the owners so much?
    • Well first and foremost, the Transtar company appears to be worth somewhere upwards of "more money than God" amounts of dollars, perhaps even "bought out God, paved over heaven, and built a quaint summer home in its place" territory going by the fact that they were able to build Talos I on the skeleton of basically a floating septic tank, comparatively. Secondly, in Mooncrash there's documents detailing how once you join a company like Transtar or KASMA, they basically have you over a barrel until you pay them back for the pleasure of having employed you at all, so maybe she joined for the money, and then learned she was working for jerks later?
    • It's established that if you quit work on Talos I, they pull your neuromods (causing you to forget everything you saw there.) Presumably she wants to avoid this. Beyond that, lots of people stick with jobs for people they hate - there might just be other things she likes enough to make up for it, like her cute co-worker.

  • During the opening sequence, everything goes south during Morgan's test, and s/he is sedated and wakes up back in the apartment. What, did someone take the time to drag Morgan back? Or were there Operators which automatically took care of that once someone hit the 'end test' button?
    • Chances are there are operators for that, but as to the why, the simulation room probably doubles as Morgan's containment cell or else not realizing the neuromods was blank, they probably thought Morgan would not remember the test and containment breach and that it would be better if he woke up in a familiar room.
    • The containment breach didn't happen all at once (the way emails progress makes this clear); the mimic attack the player first witnessed was really just a minor part of it as mimics slowly started infiltrating everywhere. In particular, there was enough time for Bellamy's corpse to get taken to the morgue in Psychotronics (and for people to follow Alex's orders and do this, without realizing how bad things had gotten and that it was completely pointless or to flip out on Alex the way pretty much everyone has by the time the player wakes up.) Although really, Bellamy's corpse being taken to Psychotronics is a much bigger issue - it's reasonable that people didn't realize how bad the breach was in the Neuromod Division, but the Psychotronics division was the place where it started, so whoever dragged Bellamy's corpse there should have been greeted by angry electric phantoms. In particular, the only way to reach the morgue requires going straight through the chamber with the interrupted (and, when you reached there, incomplete) test that led to the breach, so there's no way whoever brought the corpse there could have missed it.

  • The major downside to neuromods is the amnesia induced when one is removed. You can find emails and notes in the Sales department lamenting this, saying that it can't even be mentioned to buyers because "no one is going to risk losing years of their life just to speak French". However, the game never addresses why a neuromod would need to be removed from an ordinary customer (as opposed to one of the test subjects). Why not just keep them installed forever, keeping both your new skills and your memories? If, for whatever reason, neuromod removal was necessary on a regular basis, the word on the amnesia would eventually get out to other consumers, and neuromod sales would crash regardless.
    • Correct, and that's why Sales can get away with just pretending that removing Neuromods is impossible. But if people found out about it, even if they never had any desire to remove a Neuromod, it would severely impact customer faith in the product.

  • Talos I makes no sense as a work of architecture.
    • The hospital is in the lobby between the executive offices and the ground floor, but there's no elevator for emergency access; The only way for injured people to reach the hospital is by being carried up a flight of stairs.
    • How the hell do shuttles get into the shuttle bay? Where are the shuttle bay doors, and how is the rest of the area not depressurized when they open?
      • Take a look at the section at bottom of the lift that holds the shuttle up, there is a big door there, probably as part of an air lock system for the shuttle.
    • The primary glaring flaw? There is no rapid transit system! To get to the engineering wing, you have to walk through the executive conference room. To get to and from the crew quarters, you have to walk through the arboretum. The only access to the cargo bay is via a microgravity maintenance tunnel!
      • Some of those things are the result of events in-game limiting proper access; normally, for instance, the bottom floor of the elevator leads to a wide corridor and hub that gives access to cargo bay (presumably the "main" entrance.) The player rarely has a reason to take that main route (it doesn't open up until you're mostly done with the area), so it's easy to overlook, but normally people don't have to go through G.U.T.S. - you were only forced to go that way because the elevator was disabled, and later forced into more circuitous routes when Alex shut everything down.
    • It's a bit explained in that Talos I was not originally built as a research station. It was originally a satellite built purely to contain the Typhon until Transtar purchased it and started gradually adding more and more sections to the station.
    • Also, every area has a small medical bay where injured personnel can get patched up, or at least stabilised enough to reach the main Trauma Centre.

  • So the handguns are suppressed because they'd risk hearing damage and hull breach on a space station otherwise, well and good. Anyone care to explain the far more lethal and distinctly un-suppressed shotguns?
    • Most shotguns don't actually have all that much penetrating power per pellet due to the force of the combustion being distributed across multiple round pellets as opposed to a single conical bullet. While devastating to be hit with as the force is above the ability to resist of many organic tissues the energy from each individual pellet bleeds off much quicker then a supersonic round from a sufficiently powerful pistol. A sturdy bulkhead should be more then capable of withstanding it as a result.

  • It's established that the fact that removing a Neuromod strips your memory (and the fact that they can be removed at all) is a secret. The fact that volunteers are Released to Elsewhere when done is also a secret. In-game, you can find a book (presumably Transtar propaganda) that makes it sound like volunteers are returned home, playing up how much good they did for humanity; fair enough. However, this book notes that the fictional returned-home volunteers do not remember anything of what they did on the station (though they're sure it's important.) The narrative reason for this is obvious - the player finds out that removing a Neuromod resets your memory early on, and only learns that volunteers all die much much later; making the book blatantly lie about the memory issue would give the game away, so it has to have the volunteers talk about losing their memories. But it doesn't work from an in-setting standpoint, because in-universe, the memory-erasure is just as secret as the fact that volunteers are being killed - as propaganda, the book ought to have them remember everything, or just not mention memory at all.
    • The text extract says he isn't allowed to talk about the experiments, not that he can't remember them.

  • In the Hardware lab where recycler charges are tested (a darkly humorous result of one such test is a fragment of organic material that used to be someone's foot before a charge went off too close to it — right under a post-it note recommending greater caution with recycler chargers), Yu finds an email from a researcher who somehow unknowingly recycled a Typhon, resulting in some Exotic material. The researcher has no idea what it is. But there are posters all over the station reminding employees to use the recyclers - that clearly show cubes of all four materials, so doesn't that mean they should know about Exotic Matter?
    • The email is fairly old. One possibility is that it prompted Alex Yu to come up with some sort of explanation for Exotic Matter and to officially list it as one of the things recyclers could produce. After all, once they were mass-produced and recyclers became available everywhere, someone was going to try recycling a neuromod, a psi injector, or something else with exotic matter in it eventually. The signage would have been updated after that with the new "discovery."
  • When you are spacewalking around Talos I it's clear that the windows are not see through from the outside. So how did Danielle Sho instantly realize it's you instead of Abigail when you met her?
    • Some of the windows can be seen through (the ones to areas that can only be accessed from space and therefore exist in the "external" level.) The ones that aren't are probably just a matter of Gameplay and Story Segregation - the external space map is already huge, so they couldn't model the insides of every room with a window. Plus anything the player did inside wouldn't be reflected there.
    • The exterior windows are polarized to prevent excessive light from being permitted into the station given the lack of atmosphere. When the inside of a similarly polarized helmet is held at the right angle and a shadown is placed between the two it call allow people to see in from outside. Unfortunately just like how polarized lenses can interfere with polarized screens if you don't know what angle to hold yourself at or bother finding out by experimentation you won't be able to see through the windows.

  • In the ending why does Alex meet the Typhon Hybrid in person rather than communicating with it remotely from a safe location? Does he see this as a necessary show of good faith or does he simply no longer care about his own safety?
    • Before he asks you to take his hand, Alex says "I need to know if you see us. I mean, really see us", meaning he needs to be sure the hybrid can see humans as people and interact with them as something other than just a food source. It makes sense that he needs to be in the same room and physically interact with the hybrid in order to test that. If the hybrid has learned empathy, it also works as a show of good faith.

  • Why did Morgan/January arrange for Morgan to be given blank neuromods instead of Typhon ones? The plan appears to be for Morgan to die in the process of blowing up the station so why would it matter if they have Typhon material? Is the concern that the mods would effect their judgment?
    • I think the implication is that blank neuromods don't make any changes to the brain, so they don't lead to the memory loss effect. It was a way to disrupt the testing and force a confrontation if it went on for longer than planned.
    • It's not just an implication; it's outright stated. The blank neuromods were needed to avoid the mind wiping.

  • While we are on the subject of blank neuromods. I might not have payed enough attention and missed this, but is there any in-story explanation of why January enacting Morgan's plan to escape and the Typhon outbreak happen on the same day or is this just a coincidence? I mean, apart from the fact that it's a simulation and Alex can contrive whatever he wants as long as the Hybrid doesn't realize what's going on.
    • January may have taken advantage of the disruption the Typhon outbreak caused. Had they tried to make contact with Morgan at any other time they may have had their communications jammed or Alex might have sent security staff to secure Morgan again, but that wouldn't have been as easy for Alex if he's also trying to contain the outbreak and protect himself.

  • Speaking of the reveal at the end: what would Alex do if the Hybrid got itself killed in the simulation? The simulation is a test of the Hybrid's ability to empathize with Humans, not its skills, so it doesn't seem productive to stop the experiment just because the test subject was beaten by a Thermal Phantom.
    • If the player leaves via the escape pod Alex makes a comment about the experiment being a failure and needing to scrub it and try again. As for why Alex allows the hybrid to be attacked part of the goal of the experiment was to show it what the Typhon look like from the outside, when you're the one they're targeting, so it's important that the hybrid has the impression that it is in real danger. It's also an effective test of character, to see whether the hybrid will still care about humans despite its own life being in danger.

  • One email says the code to the gym has been changed because members kept giving it out to people who hadn't paid for it- but another email says exercise at the gym is mandatory and freely gives out the passcode to somebody who implicitly hasn't paid for it. What gives?