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You may be looking for the 2006 game Prey, by Human Head Studios.
"This isn't a dream. It's a nightmare."

"Good morning, Morgan. Tough day, right? I know if I'm talking to myself it must be..."

Prey is a 2017 Psychological Thriller Sci-Fi First-Person Shooter/Immersive Sim developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda. The game was released on May 5, 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Not to be confused with the identically named 2006 game, Prey. The game's development was led by then-CEO and director Raphaël Colantonio and his team in Austin, with Chris Avellone working on the project.

You take the role of Morgan Yu, Director of Research and a key subject of morally dubious experiments designed to improve the human race for the TranStar Corporation. In 2032, you are recruited by your brother to serve aboard the Talos I space station, but during some some suspicious preliminary tests you and the scientists testing you are attacked by shapeshifting aliens known as the Typhon. You wake up in your apartment where it is revealed that it is actually 2035, and that you have actually been living in a simulation aboard the Talos I for the past three years. Now you must uncover the secrets hiding in the depths of the space station while being hunted by the mysterious alien force that has taken over. You’ll have to rely on the tools you find on the station — along with your wits, weapons and mind-bending abilities — to combat the growing threat and hopefully survive.


A DLC, Prey: Mooncrash, was released in June 2018.

Trailers: Reveal, Gameplay, The History of TranStar.

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Prey contains examples of:

     Base game 
  • 2-D Space: Averted when spacewalking or exploring anywhere that has microgravity. There's no real sense of "up" or "down", for the most part, and it can be very disorienting when you do it for the first time.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Zigzagged and discussed. Your AI Mission Control is programmed to turn against you if you go against the mission parameters established by the previous version of you — in turning against you, it is in fact obeying its programming, as without your memory, you are the one now working against your own previous goals.
    • January is an operator programmed to do everything it can to help or otherwise compel you to set the station to self-destruct, along with everyone on it, to ensure that no Typhon can ever reach Earth. Lampshaded early on — the reason you can trust it, it says, is that despite being an AI, it's also a digitized version of you, and while it might be working to destroy the station, it's a Necessary Evil to keep Earth from being overrun by Typhon. At the end, if you follow its plan and gave yourself little to no Typhon enhancements, January says that you are probably safe to return to Earth, but its coding will force it to do whatever it can to stop you from escaping. But it also tells you that you can simply destroy it to keep it from interfering with your escape, implying that it wants you to do so.
    • The playable Morgan Yu might not agree with the Morgan who created January, however — as highlighted by the presence of a previous operator called December, who was programmed to do everything it can to help you reach Alex's escape pod in the arboretum and get off Talos alive. If you leave both operators active, January's programming compels it to destroy December before it can get you any further off-track.
    • Audiologs indicate there was another operator called October, implied to be the first and also implying there must have been a November — further evidence that the cycle of Morgan being awakened with no memory has been going on for some time, and thus that this trope applies to you to some degree. The amnesiac Morgan who keeps waking up isn't the same as the one that went in, pursuing various agendas of their own, and so they keep 'rebooting' you in the hope of finally getting it right.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Keycodes are displayed in the upper-right corner when interacting with a keypad for which you have one. Even though all notes and Transcribes are kept in inventory, you're not required to remember the codes yourself. It's also good because the majority of the codes are randomized, so you can't just remember them anyway.
    • Most schematics have multiple copies lying around Talos 1. So if you miss the first shotgun ammo schematic for instance, you are bound to find another one down the line.
    • During the hacking minigames, maps are randomized. Hacking II is more difficult than the other three tiers (even Hacking III and IV) due to the short amount of time given to complete it. If you fail the first time, the game tends to take pity on you and gives you an easier map next time.
    • The "find all collectibles" achievements (Transcribes, employees, emails) actually have a considerable amount of leeway in "all", considering how easy it is to miss them or for one of the things to find to glitch out and not appear.
    • Drinking fountains around Talos let you (very slowly) replenish your health without inventory items. A mid-game sidequest also lets them (quickly) replenish Psi points.
    • There's a finite number of pure Vendor Trash items with a large stack capacity, putting a sane limit on how much Grid Inventory you'll waste on crafting resources.
    • Microgravity areas mark points of interest (Most notably area exits) with green pings not seen otherwise. Very useful while trying to orient yourself in 6 degrees of freedom with no consistent "up".
  • Alternate History: Cosmonauts make first contact with extraterrestrial life in 1958 aboard a satellite named Vorona-1. Every man on the mission is killed. The Soviet Union then sought help from the United States, leading to the establishment of the jointly-run Kletka space station in 1963, with the purpose of containing and studying the Typhon. This arrangement later breaks down, leaving the US in complete control of the station until an accident in 1998 leads to its complete abandonment. In 2030, Kletka was bought by TranStar and refitted into Talos I, a corporate research facility; study of the Typhon secretly continues, in hopes of revolutionary commercial applications.
    • John F. Kennedy also managed to survive his assassination and win a second term (in fact living until 2031, when he was 114) and later domestic opposition successfully prevented US involvement in Vietnam. As a result, the Space Race continued until the 1990s. By this point, unsustainable space spending have led to economic collapse in the Soviet Union; a lack of military necessity as Cold War tensions recede, combined with the Reagan presidency's renewed political focus on solving domestic problems, removed popular appetite for further American space exploration.
    • The Soviet Union and "vestiges" of its Iron Curtain both survived to the present day. While tensions have relaxed from its Cold War peak, US-Soviet relations remain frosty at best; Soviet borders are described as "oft-expanded", with foreign interventions and the occasional annexation being the norm. However, this expansionism have stoked domestic opposition: massive internal unrest in response to the Soviet-Indian Intervention, led by a dissident group calling themselves the Mensheviks, was mentioned as the direct cause of the "Second Purge". The Mensheviks were branded as terrorists, with four members accused of perpetrating the Red Square bombing of 2029.
    • By 2035, nascent colonies exist on Luna and Mars; efforts to terraform the latter is being led by TranStar's creation of an extremophile moss that would gradually convert Mars' atmosphere into an Earthlike environment. While America remains the dominant force in space thanks to its command of the world's sole Space Elevator, the White Stork Tower, modern space exploration is driven by the private sector. With space counting as "international waters", offworld corporate facilities are effectively semi-sovereign territory; orbital habitats such as Talos I can get away with research and experiments that would be unethical and/or illegal on Earth, as well as having superior security, secrecy and isolation compared to their groundside counterparts. With this stellar advancement is born the "neo-deco" design movement, which influences Talos I's opulent design aesthetics.
  • All Just a Dream: The entire game turns out to be this: a simulation conducted on a Typhon-Human hybrid to see if it understands human empathy. It is suggested however, that some version of the events of the game did occur in the past, as the simulation was built around the memories of the real Morgan.
  • Apocalypse How: Discussed to be a Class 6, should the Typhon ever reach Earth. A single Mimic is capable of instantly splitting into up to four after feeding, and in turn, each of those can become a more dangerous type. As shown in The Stinger, Earth has already undergone this, covered in Coral with the implication that mankind is on the brink of total extinction. This is what prompts Alex to attempt his last-ditch experiment of creating a Typhon-human hybrid that would be capable of bridging the gap and bringing peace.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Coral. It grows throughout the ship as Morgan explores, apparently for no reason. A later chipset allows this otherwise-useless material to restore Psi points. Later, its discovered that the Coral is actually a disembodied neural network containing the minds of all those consumed by the Typhon; it also serves as a signal beacon, which eventually attracts the Apex Typhon.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • NPCs do not seem to recognize environmental hazards and will happily walk right through electrical discharges or jets of flame, getting themselves killed. Particularly galling when the Operators who refill your health/armor/psi for free do this while wandering around the level, as there is a hard limit to the number of times you can respawn them.
    • While the Nightmare has pretty good path-finding and can even squeeze itself through human-sized doors, it nonetheless often manages to get itself stuck, likely due to its large size.
  • Ascended Meme: The achievement awarded for reading every email on Talos I is "Press Sneak", a reference to a leaked email by Arkane creative director Raphael Colantonio to Arkane Studios staff following a leak to Kotaku that the Austin office of Arkane Studios was working on a reboot of Prey 2.
  • Arc Words: "Good Morning, Morgan." is repeated throughout the first trailer.
    • "We're gonna shake things up, like old times."
    • "I keep having this dream..."
  • Art Deco: There are clear Art Deco design influences in TranStar's advertisements, and it's a major influence in the architecture.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Done intentionally as subtle foreshadowing. The opening makes a discreet but strong effort to convince the player that it's set in San Francisco. Morgan's apartment window looks over what looks like the Bay Bridge and the Oakland Hills while there's a healthy fog bank over the city. Late into their helicopter ride though it's revealed that where the Golden Gate Bridge and Pacific Ocean should logically be there's nothing but mountains.
  • Auto Doc: The Operators on-board Talos I. The straightest example are the Medical Operators, which can provide quick treatment of physical trauma, though related examples are the Engineering Operators, which can repair damage to Morgan's Latex Space Suit, and the Science Operators which can restore Morgan's Psi points.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Typhon neuromods are extremely useful and versatile, but take too many and you will be attacked on sight by the station's automated security, recognizing you as a Typhon.
    • The Q-Beam, while it is very good against clusters of weak enemies, it will make you move very slowly while firing until you upgrade it. The effect will vanish from enemies after a while and you are vulnerable against enemies that launch Area of Effect projectiles at you. Most of the enemies you encounter move fast and will prefer to engage you at close range, which means that the Q-Beam explosion will harm you. That said, it can be very useful for damaging large enemies that you generally want to keep your distance from, such as Technopaths and Nightmares.
    • Guns are a good way of killing Typhon, but their ammo is scarce and even ineffective against certain types of enemies. It's easy to sink a lot of your materials into making ammo at fabricators. Ammo can be used more efficiently by shocking or glooing the enemies first.
    • The Grav shafts are undoubtedly an amazing technology, but when a simple power cut can leave people falling to their deaths you might not want to put them everywhere.
  • Back Stab: The Sneak Attack neuromods allow you to do extra damage to enemies that aren't yet aware of your presence. A very effective strategy for dealing with Phantoms is simply throwing something heavy at them when they aren't looking.
  • Beef Gate:
    • In the first area, there is a hospital wing that you can find. Inside is a normal and thermal phantom. They can kill you rather fast and it's possible to only have a wrench and GLOO Gun by the time you find it, and even once you acquire some proper guns, the thermal phantom is pretty durable. But if you manage to kill both of them, you find a decent amount of goodies from exploring the wing, plus a robot that will heal you to max health for free.
    • It's possible to enter the docking bay (normally one of the very last areas you visit, if you only go where the plot sends you) very early in the game. However, if you go there too early, not only will you find it has no oxygen, but within a few steps, you'll run into a huge, powerful Technopath far earlier than you'd usually fight one.
  • BFG: The Q-Beam gun is one of the biggest you can get in the game. You pump enemies full of its green energy and when it reaches the top of their health bar (or if you let up on the Q-beam and do enough damage with another weapon) the alien will explode. Better yet, that explosion spreads more of the green energy to other nearby enemies, so the Q-Beam is just as good against clusters of weak enemies as it is against strong singular ones.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Yu Family. Lampshaded in Morgan's self-scan with the psychoscope where "Toxic Family" is identified as a weakness.
    • Morgan Yu was an unscrupulous person who was smarter than those around them and knew it. In the pursuit of science, Morgan sacrificed "volunteers", a relationship (which was implied to be on the rocks due to Morgan's personality anyhow) and ultimately, themselves.
    • Alex Yu is equally unscrupulous and has an abusive, abrasive personality with Control Freak streaks. He is not only willing to cross the lines that Morgan crossed, but he is also a Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes that Utopia Justifies the Means. He mellows out at the end of the game and even admits to hating the person he was.
    • William Yu has a brief, off-screen appearance where he orders the killings of his children, alongside everyone else on Talos. He doesn't even have the excuse of being a Well-Intentioned Extremist and protecting Earth from the Typhon. He just wants the company secrets buried.
    • Riley Yu is strict, cold, ruthless, and intimidating, with an egotistical side like the rest of the family.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Typhon are featureless shapeshifting masses of black goo that can achieve a multitude of effects, such as invisibility, shapeshifting, emitting electricity, corrupting machinery, and even mind control.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Implied with the Cystoids, floating explosive Typhon that do not appear to have any sensory organs.
  • Black Comedy: All over the place.
    • In the recycler lab, you can find a fragment of organic material labelled with a post-it note recommending greater caution with recycler chargers — because the fragment used to be someone's foot before a charge went off too close to it.
    • Commander Dahl mentions that his pay is disguised as HR expenses in TranStar's books; he quips that "they're right; I do solve people problems."
    • During the end credits, you get the chance to watch the containment breach spread to Crew Quarters from a fixed camera in that area's lobby. Highlights include watching a Mimic faceplant in a bench while scurrying along, a Phantom idly knock over a lamp that tips over and just kind of sits there... and Nightmare showing up for a second, only to stomp off a moment later. It's difficult not to be amused by the sheer randomness of it all.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Typhon never attack each other and are capable of complex problem-solving, but all attempts to actually communicate with them have failed. Extensive study of their physical structure shows they lack mirror neurons, meaning they're incapable of seeing humans as anything save "concentrations of what I need to reproduce". The Stinger reveals that the entire game has been a simulation meant to teach one Typhon - the player - to see humans as something other than food.
  • Bookends: Alex tells Morgan during the intro "We're gonna shake things up, like old times." He says it again at the end of The Stinger, if you choose to take his hand.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The human neuromods are a lot less flashy than the Typhon-based ones, but they do some pretty useful things (faster movement, more health, and being able to lift and hurl heavy objects just to name a few).
    • The GLOO gun. It allows you to freeze enemies, temporarily fix broken electrical panels, and build stepping stones to reach higher ground. The ammo is also relatively plentiful.
    • Played With the wrench. The only melee weapon in the game, which has 3 human neuromods upgrades and several psychoscope chips dedicated to it. It is not advisable to use it against enemies due to the damage you may take in the process, but it's good when you don't want to waste ammo on weaker enemies such as Mimics, and is extra effective against Corrupted Operators, especially as a followup to a quick zap with the Disruptor stun gun.
  • Brain Uploading: Downplayed. Medical technology is sufficient to map the living mind and recreate it, at least in part. In the case of Neuromods, this involves scanning specific skills from extremely talented individual donors, then being able to apply those to another person's brain to give them the same talents. Similarly, the data of a scanned brain can be used to train an artificial intelligence to mimic the thoughts and behaviors of the person who was scanned; such a simulacrum is officially referred to as an "Emulated Entity". note 
    • This appears to have been done with Mikhaila, Igwe, Sarah and Danielle sometime after the actual Talos I incident, as The Stinger shows they were all A.I.s in Operator bodies, acting out roles in a simulation.
  • Brick Joke: In the opening of the game, there is a quiz with the classic "trolley problem" puzzle of altruism. One of the options is to "push the fat man" to stop the train from killing people, which comes up in two iterations of the quiz. If you kill Alex Yu, you get an achievement called "Push the Fat Guy".
  • The Cameo: As in Arkane's other spiritual successor, they seem fond of having celebrity cameos with some of their characters:
    • Walton Goggins shows up briefly as Aaron Ingram, one of the Neuromod "volunteers" Morgan encounters on the station.
    • James Hong provides the voice for William Yu in his brief, off-screen appearance.
  • Cassette Futurism: Goes hand-in-hand with the game's Alternate History. The screens of Talos I are very sleek and modern, but offices are littered with cassette storage cabinets. The decor is boxy and drab, and uniforms and spacesuits have a very late-'70s aesthetic.
  • Central Theme: Illusions, dreams, and perception are recurring themes.
    • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment shows up in a mild form in the conflict between the "uplifting" of mankind with Neuromods and the danger of attempting to control a force of nature you don't understand (the Typhon).
    • Trust. This game wants you to think "Trust nobody, not even yourself."
    • Identity. You have amnesia and are acting on instructions from your past self. Then you find contradicting instructions from even earlier. Then your brother presents a third plan, claiming it what you really would have wanted. Which you is the real you, or which will you be?
    • Ethics. Specifically, what constitutes proper action when you're working with radically incomplete and conflicting information. You start the game as an amnesiac thrown into a crisis in medias res with only January, who has clear biases that are literally coded into her, as a guiding character, and a basic picture of what has happened at the station and what Morgan can do in the present about it only comes together as the game comes to a close. Even after getting this information, the final, fate-of-the-station decision is filled with existential risk on the level of the human species. Until that point, the player has to make various ethical decisions without being able to anticipate the full consequences of their actions.
  • Collapsible Helmet: Morgan gets one before their first space walk. Curiously only one NPC is seen using one, with different helmets found on NPC bodies in space.
  • Closed Circle: A large one, granted, but considering Morgan's goal is to keep the creatures within containment on a giant space station, very justified.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: When you re-enter a level, the game seems to often automatically destroy any turrets you've laid down if they're in an area where new enemies are spawned, to prevent them from killing the enemies for you. This is pretty obvious because said enemies will be at full health, making it clear no actual fight took place.
  • Could Say It, But...: At the end if you set the station to self destruct as January wants you to and you've given yourself minimal to no Typhon upgrades, January will say that you are probably no risk to Earth as you are and could be safe to take an escape pod or the escaping ship, however their programming requires them to attempt to stop you. However, they say that if they were to suffer irreparable mechanical damage, then well...
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: PC players will constantly shoot computer screens because they attempt to use the mouse to click on buttons. Fortunately the screens are indestructible.
  • Daylight Horror: Much of the station is well-lit, which won't help you see the Mimics coming at all.
  • The Dead Have Names: Every human corpse has a name (with the exception of the "volunteers"), and you can even use security terminals to ping specific corpses if you're trying to find someone with a keycard or something.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If you look down at Morgan's feet during the helicopter ride in the intro, they can be seen tapping their feet to the music playing.
    • Morgan's bathroom at the start of the game will have the toilet seat up or down depending on if you chose a male or female Morgan.
    • Several bits of dialogue will play out differently if you've already completed an objective before being told to do it. The developers also occasionally account for you skipping steps in a quest line - for example, if you head to Psychotronics before inspecting the elevator, January will contact you, assume you already knew the elevator was broken, and then give you the instructions they would have given you at the elevator.
    • If you kill January before she kills December, December will contact you later on in the game, and will appear by the escape pod she's trying to lead you to.
    • Literally every single crew member on Talos-1 is accounted for. Yes, every single one. You can use the terminals in each departments security booth to track who is where in the station, and this can be useful for tracking down specific people.
    • If you try to cheat the Treasure Hunt sidequest by inputting the code before you've found all the numbers, you get a useless chipset instead that shames the player for cheating.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The shotgun in found very early, possibly even the first security weapon the player will find. It deals devastating damage at short range, and by the time you encounter enemies that hang back, you have to tools to avoid them or close the distance. Keep it upgraded and it remains an all-purpose problem solver for most of the game.
    • The limit on fabricating neuromods can be lifted as soon as the player can repair the grav-lift in the starting area. There's no reason for the player to actually fight the Technopath in the way: it can be stealthed past fairly easily (the raised floor in the middle of its room can be crawled under) or bypassed entirely if the player finds the door code for the neighbouring area (which is in the trauma center). Additionally, the same office opens a large cache of exotic materials, thoroughly jump-starting neuromod acquisition.
  • Double Jump: Downplayed with the Artax Propulsion System. It is an attachment for the TranStar uniform to allow it to maneuver in micro-gravity environments. Since it is not meant to overcome gravity, its thrust is very modest - merely enough to slow down a fall. However, played straight when you find the upgraded ARTX2 chip that makes the boosters propel you upwards in normal gravity.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In the Yellow Tulip lounge in Crew Quarters, you can find two of the Lounge's employees who locked themselves in the storage room during the Typhon outbreak and eventually killed themselves believing the situation was hopeless.
    • The Director of Fabrication eventually figured out that the exotic materials used in the manufacture of neuromods was actually derived from Typhon biomass, causing him to Go Mad from the Revelation and try to dig his own neuromods out of his skull by jamming a pair of surgical tongs through his eye, leading to his death.
    • In the Arboretum you can find a dead body calmly slumped over sitting at a table with an empty cup next to them, unlike almost every other corpse on the station they don't seem to have been drained by a mimic or violently stabbed/shot by a Phantom.
    • At some point you'll find a corpse slumped against a wall, having obviously suffocated from the bubble of Gloo that encases their head. Close to their hand, a Gloo gun...
  • Duct Tape for Everything: The Geliform Latice Organism Obstructor Gun is the future-tech equivalent. The adhesive foam is useful for safely restraining hostile organisms, but can also be used as a fire-retardant, electrical insulator, hull breach patch, wall-scaling anchor point, and more. Its quick-expanding, quick-hardening properties can even make it useful in the middle of an emergency scenario or combat. Its only disadvantages is that the uncured gel will not stick to glass or its expanded cured foam form, and that it is incredibly brittle once it goes rigid and can be easily shattered to dust under a moderately strong impact.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: You have to dick over Igwe, Mikhaila, Sarah, and Danielle to get the special "bad" ending, in which the Operators determine that your empathy quotient was completely non-existent and summarily euthanize you as a failed experiment. If you help out just one of them, you get the normal ending.
  • Easter Egg: If you open the closet in Morgan's apartment, you'll see a "Greetings from Austin" postcard. The game was developed in Austin, TX.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Hoo, boy. The whole game is a simulation. In-Universe. Everything takes place after the Typhon have invaded Earth, and given how entire cities are covered in Coral, the situation is desperate. You are in fact a Typhon Alex Yu has subjected to an experimental procedure meant to teach you to empathize with human life. If you failed to do so, you're summarily euthanized. If you appeared to value human life, Alex undoes your bindings and offers you his hand, and you get to decide what happens next; take his hand as the first gesture of peace between your species... or kill him and destroy humanity's best hope for survival in a Typhon-populated solar system.
  • Enemy Scan: The primary ability of the Psychoscope is to analyze Typhon organisms and give a detailed breakdown of them. It can be upgraded with various chipset modifications, two of which allows the user to identify disguised mimics. Nastiness ensues because the first chipset can only see standard mimics - "greater" mimics are only visible with an enhanced chipset which isn't always found on every playthrough.
  • Escape Pod: Naturally, given the location on a space station. Naturally, given that this is a horror game, they malfunction. Fridge Horror sets in when you count the number of pods; 3 bays, 6 pods each(plus Alex's personal pod), 8 seats each is only 144 seats compared to the 279 personnel on Talos 1.
  • Eye Scream: Using Neuromods to learn new abilities is done by stabbing said Neuromod's needle into your eye. As such, Morgan's left eye gets progressively redder as the tests on the new alien-based Neuromods continue.
    Alex: How's your eye, still red?
  • Filk Song: Replica, courtesy of Miracle of Sound.
  • First-Person Ghost: Averted. You can see Morgan's body and shadow during gameplay.
  • For Science!: Scientists decide to forcibly evolve humans. According to Alex and January, the universe is like "a pool full of sharks"; Alex want to turn humanity into a big shark through the psionic abilities granted by Neuromod use. Alex is right about the "pool", but the "other sharks" found us first; as a result, January wants to disappear from the sharks' radar by destroying Talos I, the beacon through which the Typhon is attracted to Earth. This is, incidentally, one of the "solutions" to the Fermi Paradox: that something out there hunts sentient life.
  • Foreboding Architecture: Averted. Talos I's living, recreation, and common areas are well-lit, open, and opulent, full of plant life, wood paneling, and modern art. Which makes the Typhon infestation more jarring.
  • Foreshadowing: Lots, in regards to The Stinger:
    • In the beginning of the game, the researchers seem very disappointed that Morgan chooses to hide by going behind a chair, or has the "most instinctive" way of reaching a button be to manually climb over a small separation barrier. This is because they had expected them to be outfitted with experimental Typhon neuromods for testing, but Morgan had instead been given blank neuromods as part of Morgan's plan to escape from the simulation.
    • The in-universe Tabletop RPG "Fatal Fortress" that several characters play initially appears to just be a fun Shout-Out to Dungeons & Dragons, but then The Stinger shows that the events of the game were within a simulation designed by Alex, with several others acting out roles within it, not unlike a typical roleplaying session.
    • An audio log in Psychotronics has Alex dismissing the suggestion that a Typhon could be communicated with by using human neurons and memories implanted into it. The Stinger reveals that the player is actually a Typhon implanted with Morgan's memories by Alex in an attempt to create a means of communication between the two species. In the same audio log, Morgan speculates that they may be able to implant human neurons and memories into a Typhon through simulations. In the end, he was (possibly, based on your choice) right. The whole game is one big simulation that you, a modified Typhon, have been experiencing. Whether the test to make you more human is successful is up to you though.
    • The song "Mind Game" playing on Morgan's alarm clock during the game's intro seems like an obvious one for the fact they are being unknowingly used as a test subject. It takes on a whole new level in the context of The Stinger, which shows that all of the events were a "Mind Game".
    • The Arc Symbol of the Looking Glass display system, which portrays 3D video on 2D screens. Turns outyou're actually playing a Typhon implanted with mirror neurons (which allow it to empathize with humans) in a simulation. The player character is a reflection of the real Morgan, just like January. Through the Looking Glass is a story about someone who ends up in a surreal universe, which would describe the simulation from the perspective of the Typhon.
    • The game's cover, if you know what you're looking for. The big, ominous Typhon cloud is enveloping Talos 1, symbolizing the outbreak, but it's also enveloping Earth, and the Typhon have overrun Earth in the real world. The ominous Typhon also loom over Morgan like a shadow, which they can reasonably be called, and the player character is Morgan's "shadow".
    • The opening sequence includes sitting down at a screen and taking a morality test. Just like "Morgan" and the player are doing, in fact.
    • Throughout the entire game, Morgan never speaks, and no one contacting you expects a verbal answer to anything they say. Seems like pretty standard FPS fare. Then you make it to the post-credits scene. Typhon are specifically noted to not be able to speak earlier in the game.
    • The pre-rendered trailers featured Typhon consuming Morgan. The implication: relying too much on neuromods will cause Morgan to cease being human.Turns out the player character isn't actually human in the first place.
    • Elazar tells Morgan "the only thing that matters is how you treat the people who are still alive."
    • Even more blatantly, Dahl outright states the station is an experiment meant for you.
    • The arrival of the Apex Typhon is foreshadowed throughout the game, if subtly. In the first ten minutes of the game, you're shown a Rorschach image and asked what it is. Later, Dr. Kohl asks Dr. Calavino if the black shape in his nightmares looks "like this", likely referring to the Rorschach images in his office. The Apex directly takes the form of that image, both in promotional materials and in the ending.
    • Project Cobalt - the idea of trying to reverse the neuromod process to put human neurons into Typhons and then run them through a simulated experience to test and train their mirror neurons - is brought up partway through the game, and is noted as a final backup plan if all else fails in Alex's office. Indeed, other characters note that Alex always has a backup plan. It turns out that it was necessary, and that the player is a Typhon undergoing exactly the process that Morgan suggested - ironically, playing through Morgan's own memories.
    • The psychometry scan on Morgan Yu seems like a cute easter egg, with the art of Morgan's phantom duplicate put in Morgan's place. Or not, seeing as "Morgan" actually IS a Typhon.
    • December shows up as a previous backup plan for Morgan, which is quickly deactivated by January. This creates the question of whether there are other backup plans. At the end of the game, you hear a log from October, Morgan's first such backup plan, who was supposed to help Morgan build the nullwave weapon which Alex eventually helps him build. There is also the implication that there might be a November, who never appears anywhere in the game.
    • When you examine Dr. Calvino's suite, you find notes about a potential looking glass VR experience, which would put the present technology to shame. The whole game was such a VR simulation.
    • If you follow December's plan and take the escape pod early, the "ending" pretty much entirely gives away that the whole game is a simulation, and that there was a preordained outcome for at least two of the characters, who will speak over that ending even if they're dead by that point.
    • At a few points, most notably when first installing a Typhon Neuromod and when you are knocked out by the Data Vault launch, you see ominous visions of Earth overrun by Coral, and the visions also strongly suggest that you are not who you seem to be - but it's not clear until the very end who is lying to you and why.
  • Fun with Acronyms: GLOO stands for Gelifoam Lattice Organism Obstructor.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Downplayed to a realistic degree. A variety of fresh meat is understandably difficult to keep supplied on a Lunar orbital habitat like Talos I, so most of the "meat" foodstuff on-board is either derived from specially-engineered eels grown in tanks, or vegetables grown in the arboretum engineered to have a texture and flavor similar to meat. For example, bags of tomato-jerky are common, and the tomatoes it is made from supposedly taste like ham. "Pacific Beef", vat-grown Artificial Meat "peeled fresh from their plastic lattices", is also an option.
  • Future Spandex: The TranStar uniforms worn aboard Talos I are form-fitting jumpsuits, color coded by department. Alex and Morgan wear the only red versions. The uniform includes a rigid collar for attaching a helmet and can be made sealed and airtight to act as a Latex Space Suit as well. All personnel are required to wear it at all times aboard station in case of depressurization emergencies... but not everybody you encounter does, which can be potentially useful.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Since Talos I's internal security measures are attuned to attack the Typhon with prejudice, it should come as no surprise that injecting too many of the Typhon powers into yourself would eventually cause the station itself to label you as a Typhon, turning all of its defenses against you.
    • Alex is grossly overweight, and gets emails from the relevant staff insisting he needs to exercise. If you try to kill him when you meet, he can't even manage a brisk walking speed. He can also take a lot of damage, due to his bulk.
    • In zero gravity, you can pick up and move around items that are normally too heavy for you. After all, they don't weigh anything. Also, you can't rocket straight into solid objects without taking out some of your health, since despite the lack of gravity, momentum still exists.
    • The tracking bracelets on every crew member means that Morgan can identify who they are just from a glance. However, if the corpse is missing a bracelet, they'll register as an unknown. And later, when you think you've finally tracked down Alex near his escape pod, it turns out he's removed his tracking bracelet.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • In the story, Phantoms are made by Weavers from the corpses of the dead. However, only a small fraction of the Phantoms you meet have names. Every person on the station is accounted for (all 279), so where are the other Phantoms coming from? Possibly a meta/in-universe example as well, since the whole game is a simulation, and Alex can add as many Phantoms as he wants to it.
    • Lore-wise, every Neuromod has a specific purpose, and imparts a specific set of knowledge relevant to that purpose to its user. In gameplay, they function as a perk-point system, and can be invested in whatever skill the player chooses, without any acknowledgment of what they were made for.
  • Grid Inventory: Morgan's carrying capacity is portrayed this way; everything, from weapons to ammunition to healing items to Vendor Trash, takes up space in the grid. You can upgrade the amount of space available in the skill tree. Identical items stack in the same space, up to a certain limit. So bizarrely, this means that at some points you'll be able to pick up entire piles of things you already have, but not able to pick up 1 new packet of crisps.
  • Heroic Mime: A very odd case. Morgan Yu is voice-acted, but never talks to anyone on Talos I. This is a subtle hint that the player character is not Morgan Yu.
  • Helicopter Blender: During the Scenic Tour Level, you can climb up the nose of the helicopter and kill yourself by jumping into the spinning rotors. Doing so earns the "No Show" achievement.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The metallic groaning when you enter an area that means a Nightmare has spawned and it's looking for you. Which is admittedly not as bad as the shrieks they make when they find you.
  • Hologram: The Looking Glass Terminals present all over the Talos I are large holographic screens used for 3D video playback and even virtual stage backdrops. They're also a rare case of holography being depicted (mostly) realistically in a video game.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: A fairly literal example is Discussed. Several audio logs mention the fact that the for all the things the Typhon are capable of that humans aren't, their lack of mirror neurons makes them incapable of empathizing with other living beings, and thus incapable of recognizing humans as something other than a food source. One researcher in Psychotronics suggests that the principles of the Neuromod technology could be used to confer this capability to the Typhon, and perhaps enable some meaningful form of communication with them, but Alex shoots the suggestion down. An unknown amount of time later, after the Typhon invasion of Earth, Alex revisits this particular idea, leading to the creation of the player character. In The Stinger, the player's choice determines whether this trope is played straight or Subverted.
  • Human Resources: In a roundabout fashion. Neuromods are made from "Exotic Material", which is only produced by Typhon biology. Typhon can only reproduce by feeding on consciousness. The only consciousness available in the Solar System is human. You do the math; before the outbreak, all the Typhon were bred by feeding them "convicted criminals" - and some of them were political prisoners. Such as Mikhaila's father.
    • In a more direct example, a recycler charge can be used on human corpses to convert them into Organic Material, which can then be subsequently used in the manufacture of various items via the fabricators.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Present, and can be justified in two completely different ways: either "Morgan Yu" still has enough of a Typhon metabolism that they can instantly heal by eating twelve apples and a bowl of banana pudding, or because it's a simulation, and this trope is exactly what you'd expect in a "game" like this. Not only does eating instantly heal you, but it also provides a temporary "Well Fed" bonus that gives you slowly regenerating health.
  • Improvised Weapon: While Morgan will have access to conventional weapons, they can also use tools and gadgets beyond their intended purposes to help them in battle, such as using a glue gun to immobilize enemies long enough for them to finish them off with a more powerful weapon or ability. Most importantly, the "Leverage" mods allow you to pick up heavy objects and throw them at enemies, so a great part of the scenery can become a weapon.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: If you go on a murderous rampage and kill most of the station's population before he arrives, Dahl will admire your attitude and offer to let you come with him if you kill the final four. He's lying, but he does seem to genuinely admire you and seems regretful that he can't take you with him.
  • In Name Only: While the game takes the basic premise of Prey (2006) of being hunted by alien monsters on a space ship, there was never meant to be any connection to the prior game, with even the name being selected merely because it was a good illustration of this game's similar concept. The game's lead designer has openly admitted that the game was never meant to have any connection to the 2006 game; it just has the title because the publisher owned the rights and both felt it was an appropriate title.
    Lead Designer Ricardo Bare: We started thinking about the next game that we wanted to do, and Arkane specialises in one kind of game: we make first person immersive sims, games with depth. We wanted to do something with science fiction. Our brand of game, but in a science fiction setting on a space station with aliens, and so that seemed a really good match. Bethesda has this name: Prey. And it's a really great name and it matched the concept we were thinking of, so yeah. [...] But there's no fictional connection and no universe connection if you want that.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Ingram looks almost exactly like a shaved-headed Walton Goggins.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: Averted, all helments are face concealing ones.
  • Instant Expert: The benefit of Neuromods. Each Neuromod takes a 3D "snapshot" of the brain as it currently exists, models what it would be like if the brain had a new skill, then re-writes the brain to include that model, using a process similar to how the brain naturally learns but greatly accelerated and with specific direction. Unfortunately, removing a Neuromod currently irreversibly resets the brain to its condition at the time of implantation and wipes the user's memories back to that point. It is crafted from material harvested from the Typhon.
  • Interface Spoiler: Zigzagged; you can't see the Typhon Neuromod skill trees at all until you unlock the Psychscope, nor do you see your Psi meter or the human skills related to Psi usage. Furthermore, you can't see what a particular Typhon skill is until you've scanned sufficient Typhon. However, you can find Psi-increasing consumables as early as your first visit to the Talos I lobby, and once you unlock the Typhon skill trees, you can see how many skills there are even without scanning any Typhon.
  • Joke Item: The "Huntress" Boltcaster, a weapon developed on Talos I. It was designed by engineering employees in their spare time to be a spring-loaded, semi-automatic, collapsing-foam off-brand NERF dart launcher used for irritating co-workers and having recreational shoot-outs in corridors. It seems completely useless at first glance, given that it does zero damage. However, its darts' soft tips are conductive enough to trigger the station's ubiquitous touchscreens and buttons, and brightly colored darts smacking into surfaces and making a loud squeaking noise are sure to attract attention. It is also by far the best weapon for clearing out cystoids, as the darts will cause their nests to explode and the resultant cystoids to pursue the dart and detonate themselves on it - while leaving the dart totally unharmed. As a result, you may well kill more enemies with it than many serious weapons!
  • Jump Scare: Mimics can (and will) jump at you from their disguise if you're not careful, and even have their own stings.
    • "Touch to Calibrate"
    • Stay on your toes when you take the lift anywhere for the second time.
    • The very first time you see a Mimic. You're engrossed in taking a psychological test, so you're probably not listening to the scientists observing you until a coffee cup turns into a Mimic and devours a scientist.
  • Killer Robot: Corrupt Operators have been corrupted by the Typhon to kill humans. In a bit of dark humor, they each interpret this through their function; Engineering Operators believe that you're a broken machine they need to disassemble, Medical Operators are trying to save your life by performing an amputation (of everything), and Science Operators wish to conduct an experiment that requires you to be subdued — lethally, if necessary. Later Dahl's Military Operators are specifically designed to kill everyone aboard Talos 1.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: To remove a Neuromod, you have to lose all your memories from the point it was installed in your brain. As Morgan has been doing this hundreds of times to test the new Neuromods, their memory is seriously messed up. And it's possible to sway a hostile NPC to your side by removing one of his Neuromods, erasing his memory of receiving orders to kill you.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The intro of the game involves Morgan being psychologically tricked with illusions by a group of scientists, with the intent of pushing them into playing with psionic alien powers. Then one of the escaped alien test subjects shows them how it's done.
    • After starting 'The Cook's' questline, he'll start setting up Recycler Charge mines on various switches and machines that will kill you if you can't get out of the way in time. When he's finally cornered, 'The Cook' has set up one final mine, hoping to catch you in the blast if you get too close. Unfortunately for him, you have a gun and a clear shot: stand back, send a bullet into the mine, clean up the mess and process what's left of the bastard into a Neuromod or two. Alternatively, if you bought the special edition of the game that gives you a mod that lets you No-Sell recyclers, you can simply stand next to him and watch as he triggers a trap that kills him but leaves you unscathed.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Zigzagged. The apparent last choice, to destroy Talos or set off the Nullwave Generator, actually has no bearing on the ending. Once the credits roll, various characters judge how empathetic you've been throughout the game; there's another choice (closely tied to the game's themes), but it's only accessible if you've been sufficiently kind.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The way the fake helicopter ride in the beginning works reflects how such vehicle rides through large environements are often implemented in first-person shooter games of this nature, ie. artificial windows into a skybox.
  • Leave No Survivors: The mercenary Dahl brings an army of military robots to do this on Talos 1, human and Typhon alike, so the Tran Star corporation can rebuild with no witnesses. In a recording his boss William Yu says the trope name when Dahl questions the order because it includes William's two children: Morgan and Alex Yu.
    • In a secret ending, protagonist Morgan can help Dahl by killing every other human on the station. Doing so makes Dahl transport Morgan back to Earth and gives the achievement "Awkward Ride Home".
  • Liquid Courage: The game has a fear state, which is usually trigger by one of the Typhon's Psychic Powers. One of the ways to avoid the major Interface Screw of the fear state? Displace it with the minor Interface Screw of drinking alcohol.
  • Little Useless Gun: The Pistol occupies a strange middle ground between this and Punch-Packing Pistol. On the one hand, the unmodified basic version is capable of high damage upon crits, and it can be easily modified to become a Punch-Packing Pistol with enough weapon kits and some neuromods. On the other hand, non-crit shots from the base version do terrible damage, and Talos One's security forces and other survivors aren't shy about how much they hate it. Elazar even refers to it as a "popgun." Also downplayed; a sidequest lets you find the Artemis pistol, a gold-plated version that does the same amount of damage from the beginning as a fully-upgraded regular pistol.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Lorenzo Calvino is attempting to build one in his quarters using the Looking Glass technology. It not only showed illusions but responded to the subject's memories and desires.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Played straight or downplayed, depending on how nice you were. The Typhon are pretty Lovecraftian enemies, but they die pretty easily if you're smart and cautious, and it's possible to turn their powers against them without being corrupted. The Stinger reveals that your Morgan is a Typhon — if you've been helping people throughout the game, there's evidence they can be negotiated with and taught empathy. But they've already consumed Earth, and even one human touched by their influence is incredibly ruthless and vicious, leaving humanity's survival... iffy.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Neuromod locations are the same every playthrough and you can control your resource supply with the recycler/fabricator, but the fabrication plans and chipsets are randomly generated each playthrough (they appear in the same location but which one you actually get is randomly determined), so it's sometimes possible to play through an entire game without getting a particular chip, especially the rarer late-game chips such as the one that lets you see Greater Mimics with the psychoscope.
  • Lured into a Trap: Late in the game, you get a transmission from Luther Glass asking you to come to the medical bay to save him as he's surrounded by Typhon and can't escape. When you get there you'll be swarmed by Blackbox Operators who infinitely spawn out of the Medic Operator station. Luther Glass has been dead all along and Dahl mimicked his voice to lure you there. It's possible to realize instantly that the message is a trap if you found his body in the medical bay before then, but as this happened at the very beginning of the game and so many names get tossed around, it's likely you'll have forgotten the one dead guy.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • Morgan's morning wakeup call quickly becomes this in one of the trailers.
      Good morning, Morgan...
      Good morning, Morgan...
      Good morning, Morgan...
    • Also, one of the rooms in the Psychotronics lab has a visual Room Full of Crazy version of this, with every single object bearing a post-it note saying "not a mimic"...including at least one item that actually *is* a mimic
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Used in one of the trailers, although it's actually a Looking Glass recording.
  • Matter Replicator: A key game mechanic. Everything you can carry in your inventory — save plot-essential items — can be fed into a Recycler, which will then break those objects down to little cubes of Material. Stick those cubes in a Fabricator and you can turn them into anything you've found a blueprint for. Including Neuromods. Anything you can't carry in your inventory — save the walls — can be broken down for materials with a Recycler Charge. Including the bodies of your enemies. And everyone else. Such as yourself, should you hang around too close to an active charge.
  • Meaningful Name: The player character, Morgan Yu, is More Than You. This is because, as The Stinger reveals, the player was never directly controlling Morgan in the first place.
  • Mega-Corp: TranStar ticks all the boxes. Monopolies in fields ranging from engineering to medicine to food, questionable ethics, massive influence over Earth's governments. Its Chairman of the Board is also ruthless enough to order the deaths of everyone on-board Talos I, including his own children, without remorse.
  • Meta Fiction: The final twist of The Stinger; you, the player, were never Morgan Yu at all. The entire time you were playing the game, you were actually a Typhon Neuromodded with human mirror neurons playing a simulation - an attempt to teach you to empathize with the pain of your prey. That's right: you just finished playing a game about someone playing a game.
  • Metroidvania: Talos is very interconnected, although the early missions restrict you to a set path. Plot events (lockdowns, additional damage to Talos) can also temporarily limit your movement. However, by the end of the game, you'll have free reign of the station. Within individual levels, there are also solutions and supply caches that are restricted by your powers and equipment.
  • Mind Screw: The very first words you hear are "Now it's time to beat the mind game", and for good reason. The opening is especially bewildering, to the point where finding out that you're in a "Groundhog Day" Loop isn't even the weirdest part.
  • Multiple Endings: As expected, the game has multiple endings ranging from bittersweet to complete downers. It boils down to two choices: either kill Alex or shake his hand in the real world. Well, there is a third choice; if you were enough of a bastard, Alex won't even offer you his hand, he'll just summarily euthanize you.
  • Mundane Solution: An easy way to stop Operator dispensers from churning out Military Operators is to pile a load of debris in front of the machines, which are programmed to pause their operations if the exit is obstructed by something.
  • Narrative Filigree: There's a number of little details, events, and design decisions that don't affect the plot at all (or even have much to do with it). Things like a recording of a Fatal Fortress game, personal details in habitation pods and suites in Crew Quarters, the random trivia you pick up by scanning items and enemies, and the sheer amount of information and thought that went into the game's entire design all end up fleshing the world out to be completely immersive and believable.
    • Also played with, as many of these details can hint at things you might want to try out or abilities that might be less than obvious, like the darts for the huntress bowcaster being really noisy, or the hints about some important plot details, as well as calling into question things you believed were true about what was going on.
    • Automated announcements play in the lobby from time to time, all of them related to employee life on Talos and none of them related to the plot or gameplay.
  • New Game+: Finishing the game at least once will allow you to play through it again with whatever abilities you had upon completion; you just won't have them right off the bat, but you will regain them after picking up the Psychoscope in Morgan's office.
  • Nintendo Hard: Supplies are limited, enemies are fairly tough and plentiful, and a lot of stuff can kill you extremely easily. While you can dish out the damage as well and outmanuver enemies, only a player who explores the environment and chooses when to fight or flee will be able to make it through to the end.
  • No Fair Cheating: In the Scavenger Hunt side mission, if you try to enter the code on the computer by brute-forcing it or just flat out looking it up on the internet before you physically look at the numbers at each location, you will get a message calling you out for cheating. The prize is also changed from being a Chipset that gives you a ton of status buffs to one that causes a ton of status penalties.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Morgan is able to add a chemical compound to the Talos' water supply which causes all drinkable water on the station to refill the Psi Meter. This includes water cooler jugs which were already full before the compound was added.
  • No OSHA Compliance: a single lift being the only access to most of the station, escape pods that don't work, doors than need to be forced open if the power fails, electrical junctions that shoot electrical arcs when damaged, grav lifts that can drop you to your death if the power fails, the list goes on.
  • No-Sell: One of the suit upgrades given by special edition of the game grants the player complete immunity to recycler charges, allowing you to drop them right at your feet without fear, and to completely ignore all of the booby traps laid by the false cook, including his last-ditch attempt at Taking You with Me.
  • Notice This: Anything you can pic up will periodically glint, visible even in the dark. Yes, disguised mimics inherit this property.
  • No Time to Explain: Invoked by Dr. Igwe if the player chooses to incapacitate Dahl and remove his neuromod and memory of his mission orders. The goal is to dissuade Dahl from asking too many questions about what's happening which might clue him in to the fact that he's been sent to Leave No Witnesses, and instead exploit his piloting skills to help in the evacuation.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Following December's mission to its conclusion allows you to get on Alex's private escape pod and leave the station. This results in a voice-over from the real Alex outside of the simulation, saying that you're "not the one", since you chose to shirk all responsibility and run away, which isn't helpful for him as he's trying to find a Typhon that can act as a bridge between the races.
  • Noodle Incident: The Evacuation. There are a number of cryptic references to it, but none of them explicitly say exactly what happened. The closest we get to an explanation is a loading screen tip that implies that it was caused by a runaway Recycler reaction.
  • Objectshifting: This is the most infamous ability of the Mimics. Essentially Typhon's answer to the Chest Monster, they can disguise themselves as objects of similar mass to ambush their prey, including tables, papers, coffee cups, medical kits, and weapons... making for a nasty surprise if you haven't found the equipment that can reveal them yet.
  • Offing the Offspring: Towards the end of the game, William Yu sends Walther Dahl to 'clean up the Talos-I mess' with explicit orders not to spare his two children.
  • One-Word Title
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: The Platinum Trophy for the game is "TransStar Employee of the Year", it helps you are probably the only employee left alive.
  • Point Build System: All abilities are accessed by spending a given number of Neuromods. And as they were invented on Talos 1, Yu finds multiple blueprints for them. If one is willing and able to squish every Typhon they find, they can fabricate quite a few extra ones. However, the project lead had a breakdown after learning their true origin — in the Typhon — and locked down the fabricator license. Making more than five new ones necessitates hacking the computer in his office to release the lockdown. However, in the early game this is a bad idea, as a Technopath — a flying miniboss capable of suborning turrets and tough enough to resist dozens of shotgun rounds — is camping out in the area.
  • Player Personality Quiz: Part of the tests by the scientists in the introduction include a quiz about things like whether they would sacrifice someone to save more lives. This foreshadows that the entire game is actually a very elaborate version of the trolley test, and is itself a gigantic personality test.
  • Playing with Syringes: Talos 1 is researching an alien species they call the Typhon - which can only reproduce by consuming conscious minds. This necessitates feeding them convicted criminals in order to have aliens to experiment on. Their work has resulted in "Neuromods" - a means of instantly granting a human being decades of experience in one easy injection in the eye. Neuromods can even give people Psychic Powers. However, removing them erases every memory experienced since their injection. Testing the Neuromods thus means repeatedly reverting their test subject to the mental state they were in when the testing began - this is Morgan Yu's situation in the first ten minutes of the game.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The very beginning of the game. Immediately after learning the basic controls, Yu picks up a wrench and smashes open a window to reveal the testing lab. Also, The Stinger, which changes everything. You never played Morgan Yu, you were playing a Typhon playing a simulation of playing Morgan Yu.
  • Regenerating Health: Only for the bottom ten percent of your health bar, though. Otherwise, you'd better find some food or a medkit.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Based on the poster in Aaron Ingram's cell, it seems the official TransStar story is that the "Volunteers" (convicted criminal human test subjects) on whom the neuromods are tested are sent home to Earth with a clean slate and a new life once they've fully served out their sentence. The truth is once the scientists are finished with them, they get fed to Typhon to produce more Typhon to generate exotic materials from.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: There are terminals scattered throughout the station where Morgan can construct ammunition, medical supplies, weapons, you name it. However, you need materials to construct them, and you're limited to what you can find and carry. Might have to decide between bullets and health...
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: The Fabricators are advanced construction machines that can take cubes of raw materials as input and extrude a completed item in about a second. Items built in a Fabricator are described as structurally inferior to items which are properly extruded and milled or hand-tooled (for example, the Artemis Golden Pistol) but the ease and speed with which the Fabricators can produce new items with "good enough" quality makes them generally practical.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In Psychotronics, you find a room with every single object bearing a post-it-note saying "not a mimic."
  • Sadistic Choice: While exploring Talos I's bridge, you find out that a shuttle carrying five people is on its way to Earth and will land in Seattle within a few minutes, but there's no telling if they might be carrying mimics and there's no way to contact them. So do you let them land on the off chance that it won't doom humanity? Or do you remotely detonate the shuttle's scuttling charges and kill everyone on board because you can't risk the danger of even one Typhon organism making it to Earth? The worst part about this is that your choice doesn't even matter. Whether you choose to detonate or not, there is no impact on the end game at all, literally or within the context of the plot. Your stats don't even change. It's just to make you feel bad.
  • Scenic Tour Level: TranStar apparently likes to give new employees the "Black Mesa treatment", with an elaborate and luxurious trip to the headquarters office, even sending a helicopter to pick them up and fly them there. Of course, even that is not real...
    • Somewhat justified in that Morgan's parents are BOTH on the board of directors (their father is even Chairman), their older brother is the President and CEO, and they themselves have been hired as a VP and the Director of Research.
  • Scenery Porn: There's a strong Art Deco influence in almost every corner of the station. The Arboretum, meanwhile, is situated at the top of the station and gives a view of Earth, the Moon, and an accurate panorama of the stars (including the Orion constellation).
    • At the beginning of the game, you're treated to a tour of a city that resembles but certainly isn't San Francisco recreated with the Looking Glass technology. Afterward, your first view of the station is watching the Moon pass in front of Earth outside.
  • Schmuck Bait: During the tutorial mission, you are invited to take an Inkblot Test. If you look down to take the test, you're likely to miss your first look at a Mimic as one scuttles past you and disguises itself as the lead researcher's coffee mug just before everything goes to hell.
  • Secret Test of Character: The Stinger shows that the entire game was this. You were actually a Typhon implanted with mirror neurons and the real Morgan Yu's memories running through a simulation of Talos I. The purpose was to see if a Typhon could be made to empathize with humans, and possibly communicate between both species.
  • Shapeshifting: The Typhon aliens have the ability to mimic ordinary objects. Prepare to be paranoid about everything. Morgan is also be capable of obtaining this as a power, allowing them to shift into a coffee cup to get through a small opening for instance.
  • Shoot Everything That Moves: You are expected to do this to survive a horde of exceptionally deceptive mimic aliens that can and will disguise themselves as anything you find in the space station, including chairs, coffee cups, random clutter... that stack of TP in the bathroom? That conveniently-located Medkit? That gun lying on the ground with ammo you desperately need? That dead Mimic? Mimics all the way down.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In keeping with a tradition started with Looking Glass Studios, the first keycode encountered is 0451, like it was in System Shock, Deus Ex, Dishonored and the like. This time it's the code for Morgan's office.
    • What is the name of the high-resolution, three-dimensional projection screen technology? "Looking Glass", of course.
      • The way the screens are rendered by the game could also bee seen as a technical shout-out to how the original Prey rendered its portals.
    • Right at the beginning, as you're flying through "San Francisco", one of the billboards has a film poster featuring a man resembling Corvo Attano. One of the most common food items is "Jellied Eels", just like Dishonored.
    • The first weapon you find in the game is a wrench. The idle animation for it even exactly mirrors the one from Bioshock. Even better, said wrench is named the "Hephaestus Twist and Loop Handle Wrench", after the area in BioShock where you kill Andrew Ryan, and learn you have been a puppet for the big bad all along. Fittingly, this wrench is the tool you need to set the narrative in motion - in fact, it can be argued that the entire introductory chapter of Prey is an elaborate dig at BioShock's central plot twist.
    • One of the books you can find, "And The West Stood Tall", is an Alternate History novel set inside this Alternate History game that depicts a version of history hinging on America intervening in Vietnam after the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, and ends up not unlike our own.
    • The in-universe Tabletop RPG "Fatal Fortress" has an indentical font to the logo of Arx Fatalis. Additionally, the game's title is Latin for "Fatal Fortress". If you look at the map being displayed (if it hasn't been destroyed) the map is the main town in Arx Fatalis, and the character sheet's skill system is an exact replica as well (though with a 1-20 level system rather than a 1-100).
    • Just as in the original Prey, you start the game by looking into a mirror.
    • The voice used for the TranStar uniforms is almost exactly the same as the Crysis Nanosuit.
    • 'SHODAN' is hidden in chief archivist Danielle Sho's name.
    • Noted in-universe nerd Abigail Foy has a poster in her room similar in design to a real-life poster for Ghost in the Shell. The kanji on the poster itself - "妖怪" - also translates to "Ghost", as further reference.
    • The code for the very first safe you encounter in the Neuromod Division is "5150", likely a reference to the "involuntary psychiatric hold" code in California's legal system. It allows confinement of a person if they're thought to have a mental disorder that makes them dangerous... and fittingly, you find it right outside the sim lab in the Neuromod Division. You can only find the code in the two Looking Glass transmissions where Morgan speaks directly to the player about the Typhon Neuromod experiments, as well. It only gets worse when you find out how badly Alex and Morgan's relationship devolved, until the point where Morgan was essentially forced into the sim.
    • The password for Alex's terminals is "Chenghuanshen".
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The only ballistic weapons available on Talos I are shotguns, and pistols with integrated sound suppressors. These make sense as weapons of choice for security on a space station, as both have relatively low muzzle velocities and thus would minimize the chance of a hull breach being caused by gunfire. Suppressors being standard-issue would also prevent regular gunfire from being completely deafening in the confines of metallic corridors.
    • The amount of effort areas such as the Arboretum and Crew Quarters go to providing environments similar to Earth is grounded as a means of combating the actual long-term effects of space living that actual astronauts can suffer from. Quality of life on Talos I is mentioned as being vastly superior compared to a Lunar underground base.
    • Talos I is located at the Earth-Moon L2 point, 277,000 miles away from Earth. As a result, the station's main source of resupply is noted to be bases on the far side of the Moon (which are only 38,000 miles away, and whose surface lights can be seen from the station) instead of Earth.
    • The station's command bridge also has a countdown to the next firing of its retro-thrusters, due to L2 being an unstable orbit that necessitates frequent station-keeping.
    • Taking the opening moments as set in an expy of San Francisco, Morgan's apartment is set approximately in a counterpart of SoMa (South of Market [Street]), a neighborhood that as of release is being turned/gentrified into a high income residential/corporate area for the tech sector, exactly where someone like Morgan would live in the near future.
  • Show Within a Show: The Starbender books found lying around the place are dreadful schlocky science-fiction novels that nonetheless seem to be extremely popular among the inhabitants of the station.
  • Source Music: As part of one of the missions partway through the game, you must do voice analysis to get into a locked door. One source of the character in question's voice is a recording of a song they sang. Unfortunately for you, playing this music attracts the Typhon...
  • Space Station: The game is primarily set on a space station dedicated to advanced scientific research. It was originally built to contain and research the Typhon, but was shut down and abandoned after an outbreak until TranStar rebuilt it.
  • Speed Run: Any game that gives you a gun that creates temporary platforms is just begging to be broken by speedrunners. Players have managed to reach the ending where you use Alex's escape pod to leave in under 6 minutes.
  • Spiritual Successor: The game borrows a lot of elements from Looking Glass Studios' System Shock, without being directly related. Not surprising, given Arkane Studios' previous game, Dishonored, was itself a spiritual successor to Looking Glass's other seminal game series, Thief.
  • Spot the Thread:
    • If you're particularly eagle-eyed, you can notice a few flaws in the simulation room you start the game in:
      • There are scuff marks on the floor that remain after you supposedly change floors. There are also marks on the floor where the moving walls swing out or retract.
      • Talking to the 'maintenance worker' in the hallway too much will lead to her getting nervous that you aren't following the script.
      • Even though it's supposed to be 2032, the cookbook in your apartment is the 2033 edition.
      • If you pick up an object and put it in the right spot in the various hallways, it'll still be there after you go to a "different floor."
      • If you pick up an object and bring it to the roof, you can throw it over the edge and watch as it bounces against an invisible wall.
      • If you look very, very closely, it's possible to see your apartment through a window in the testing area.
    • There's also three hints that "Will Mitchell", the cook in Crew Quarters, is an imposter. When you first see him, the Operator next to him identifies Morgan but he continues to act ignorant of who Morgan is. When he sends you to his room to fetch a medal, you can find a Transcribe from the real Will Mitchell, who doesn't look or sound anything like the imposter. Moreover, the security computer shows Will Mitchell as being dead, and as not being in the same place as the imposter. Furthermore, you can find correspondence on the real Will's computer between him and Yu which have a very familiar and informal tone, like he knew Morgan personally, while the man in the kitchen now doesn't recognize you at all.
  • Standard Status Effects: Pyro effects cause Burning. Nullwave Grenades and the Psychoshock ability cause Silence upon the Typhon, which rightfully causes more powerful Typhon to flee until it wears off.
  • Starship Luxurious: Well, Space Station Luxurious at any rate. Talos I includes vast open areas, Italian marble tiling, gilded lion statues, abstract decorative sculptures, "neo-deco" architecture around the offices, and an entire arboretum that, in addition to providing oxygen and foodstuffs, is an indoor park. None of this would have been practical without the gravity-manipulation technology that enables the kind of lifting such a station would require.
  • The Stinger: A post-credits scene reveals that you are actually a captured Typhon that's been playing through a simulation based on Morgan's memories, which were implanted into you. This is because Alex wanted to create a human/Typhon hybrid to stop the Typhons' invasion of Earth, with Alex evaluating your behavior based on your actions throughout the game.
  • Story Branching: While it's not readily apparent until you do multiple playthroughs with different styles, various changes to the plot occur depending on what actions you take in which order. Despite lacking a visible good/evil meter, the game plays vastly differently depending on your actions.
    • For example: If you take on Dahl in Life Support and then take out his operator, he will be in life support and fight you there. However, if you defeat Kaspar first, then Dahl will abandon his Life Support base and attack Alex in the Arboretum while the security team from cargo bay makes an assault on life support.
    • Crosses over with Developers' Foresight as achieving objectives before you are assigned them has characters respond with different lines, not the "assign mission" followed by "complete mission" dialogs as in yesteryear. Most notably, if you have the water pressure regulator when you enter the kitchen, the cook asks if you can see the future.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Just because zero gravity gives you three-hundred-and-sixty degrees of movement with your suit's jets doesn't mean momentum has gone out the window; flinging yourself at high speed into objects or walls will hurt. Moreover, there being no up or down means that zero gravity can be extremely disorienting.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: As is pretty much standard for this type of game, people generally leave their passwords lying around in audio logs, sticky notes, or in emails. This is despite multiple warnings to the staff that this is a bad idea. Also of note is the fact that numerous high-security locked doors can be bypassed by simply breaking the glass window next to it. Given how the entire game was built to test a subject, however, this was quite likely invoked by Alex.
    • Get your hacking ability up and anything not protected by a keycard scanner is all yours.
  • Take That!: TranStar as a whole is one big dig at the 21st century corporate tech sector but the choice to place the opening moments in a faux San Francisco pinpoints it as a Watch_Dogs 2-esque shot at the Bay Area of the new tens.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Trying to scan the Apex results in your health draining to 1 point, your Psi totally draining, and the Fear effect being applied.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: At the end of the game you learn you were never Morgan Yu at all, but a Typhon mimicking Morgan so perfectly it believed itself to actually be Morgan. The true goal of the experiments on "Morgan" was to produce a being that could communicate with both Typhons and humans.
  • Transhuman: The goal of the experiments being performed on Morgan is to make them the next step in human evolution.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: From beginning to end, the player never leaves Morgan's perspective on the events.
  • Unreliable Narrator: An In-Universe example, given The Stinger. That is, Alex explains that the scenario was a "reconstruction" that was "based on Morgan's memories," meaning that the events were tweaked to fit the desired scenario. Moreover, the actions of the employees seem too sympathetic to be true. Almost all of them knew nothing about the Typhon experiments, and almost all of those who did know rejected the testing outright. Some employees committed suicide over this knowledge, while others plotted against the Yus. Furthermore, the portrayals of the Yus seem too unsympathetic to be true. Both of them are eager to experiment on the Typhon, and the employees reveal their incompetency, and Alex went so far as to forcibly remove neuromods from employees to keep them from knowing about the Typhon experiments. Alex and the Operators made Morgan and him scapegoats.
  • Vendor Trash: Most of the items Morgan can pick up are junk, with no real value. They can be converted into base resources at recycling terminals, which can then be turned into useful items. Unfortunately, you have to deal with them clogging up your inventory until you can find a terminal.
  • Video Game Caring Potential/Video Game Cruelty Potential: Morgan will come across a number of surviving crew members and be the options to help them or leave them to die (or actively kill them, if the mood strikes). Though helping or hindering other survivors is completely optional, the game will actually keep track of your choices, which affects The Stinger.
  • Video Game Sliding: A baseball-style slide, about as fast as sprinting without the stamina cost.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The lyrics to Danielle's "Semi-Sacred Geometry" are vaguely thematically related to space, but largely nonsensical.
  • Wrench Whack: In a nod to System Shock 2, your basic melee weapon is a heavy duty monkey wrench.
  • You Are Number 6: "Volunteers" on the station are never referred to by name, only by their serial number, with maybe the last two digits as shorthand. Coupled this with extensive criminal records which may or may not be accurate, and it shows a policy clearly designed to dehumanize living people who are subject to potentially horrific experimentation.

"I told you you wouldn't like it..."

Prey: Mooncrash

A DLC to Prey, similar to the Daud duology of the original Dishonored. The game follows Peter, a hacker stationed on a spy satellite tasked with intercepting TranStar communications. When the company's moon base goes quiet, it's up to him (with the help of TranStar rival KASMA Corp) to figure out why, through simulations of various TranStar employees — if he can survive that long, anyway.

Mooncrash is notable for its randomly-generated settings, with different goals, enemies, and loot to be seen in each playthrough, ensuring no two experiences will be the same.

Launch trailer.

Prey: Mooncrash provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Three of the five playable characters are women with at least basic competence in a wide variety of guns, and Joan and Riley also have specialty skill trees. Claire does too, and hers take it Up to Eleven transforming her into a brutal ninja hacker.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Each character has their own specialization and unique abilities.
  • Bad Boss: KASMA are particularly nasty employers, arguably even moreso than Transtar. They force their employees to perform outright illegal work through very shady contracts, and Claire complains that their pay is terrible. They also seem to have a habit of backstabbing their employees, such as leaving Claire to die on Pytheas and outright trying to murder Peter by shutting off his life support.
  • Brain Uploading: One of the ways you can escape the station. Riley Yu has to do this to unlock her story mission, as this is canonically how she escapes the moon base. Unfortunately, the Operator that she was going to upload herself into was sabotaged by Claire.
  • Colony Drop: Alluded to in the title, but averted. Peter's small satellite does crash into the moon, but impacts far from the colony and there are no casualties.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Teddy and Riley both run business empires powered by amoral activity.
  • The Cracker: Peter is a hacker working against TranStar.
  • Demonic Possession: The Telepaths and their human puppets from the main game are back. Andrius's mission has you become one of those puppets.
  • Difficulty Spike: Status ailments (really nasty ones, too, like one that damages you if you sprint), degrading weapons, a death clock that ups enemy difficulty, randomized environmental hazards and the dreaded Moon Shark all make this more difficult than the base game. However, the mitigating factors are that this game is intended to let you die a lot and keep certain character progression for later, and points can be used to just buy fresh weapons if you found the schematics.
  • Downer Ending: If the ending of the main game is anything to go by, Earth still ends up destroyed by the Typhon. Worse still, it's implied that either Andrius Alekna or Pete the KASMA employee are the cause of the outbreak on Earth, due to a mimic disguising itself as their child's toy in both cases.
    • If the story missions and the conditions you need to unlock some characters are any indication almost all character endings are canonically this:
      • Andrius Alekna gets possesed by a telepath, is made to smuggle a mimic into an escape pod and then his head explodes.
      • Riley Yu manages to upload her mind to an operator, but the process kills her body and the operator is stolen by KASMA.
      • Claire Whitten manages to escape the moon in an escape pod, but it's scuttled remotely killing her.
      • Vijay Bhatia manages to prevent the spy from getting away, but in order to unlock him you have to find his corpse, which means he didn't make it after all.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The longer you spend in the simulation, the higher the level of Corruption becomes, causing more dangerous enemies to show up and raising the stats of all enemies once it hits certain thresholds. You can slow the Corruption timer with special items, but you can't reduce its level, and if Corruption reaches Level 6, the simulation terminates and your run immediately ends.
    • Additionally, as you complete KASMA orders, new rules are gradually added into the simulation, almost all of which only serve to make things harder on you in general.
  • Evil, Inc.: TranStar's rival company, KASMA Corp. While TranStar has a whole lot of unethical experimentation going on to create neuromods, it seems KASMA is even dirtier, as one of their operatives has few qualms about murdering a room full of people to cover their tracks (and said operative is cut loose like a kite afterwards despite all the hard work).
  • Five-Man Band: Deconstructed. While the gameplay encourages you to play them cooperatively, Andrius and Claire end up working against Pytheas in their story quests.
    • The Leader: Riley, owner of the moon base.
    • The Lancer: Vijay. Despite his discipline and sense of duty to Riley, he's hesitant to put his family in danger, but can (and likely will) sacrifice himself defending the base.
    • The Smart Guy: Joan. Her main combat strategy is to build a turret on the spot and watch the fireworks.
    • The Big Guy: Andrius. Despite being a Squishy Wizard, he's also a damage powerhouse and has only a few brain cells left to use for speaking.
    • The Chick: Claire. She's the team civilian, and her role is recycling things. She's also a ruthless Femme Fatale.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Claire, unlike the other four playable characters, is a simple custodial worker that doesn't have any specialized training, and thus possesses no special abilities whatsoever. Additionally, once you complete Vijay's story missions and find out Claire's actual purpose on the station, the game also drops the facade of her being a simple custodial worker, and from then on shows you her actual skill tree and abilities.
    • Characters will start with passwords and keycards relevant to their positions. Vijay the Security Officer naturally has the codes for the Security Operator printers, Claire has access to a lot of hidden storage rooms (she is the custodian, after all) and Riley is usually the only one who can use her terminal without hacking it.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The higher the corruption level, the more points enemies and completed objectives give. You could then use those points to buy a truckload of weapons for your next run.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • It's likely you'll realize that something's up with Claire if you notice how among the five playable characters, it appears as though nobody has the ability to hack anything, despite several doors requiring hacking to open. Claire is actually a corporate spy, and not only does she possess the Hacking skill, she also possesses a full skill tree of other subterfuge-based abilities.
    • The game also straight up tells you from the beginning that all five need to escape the station in one run to complete the objectives, and once a escape is used, no other survivor can use it. Thus, getting out just by scanning your brain seems a little suspicious, since it still leaves your physical body to escape, and there's only five escapes to use. As such, once the upload is done a new order is given: eliminate the original body.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Subverted. Peter is presented with 3 options for where to send the satellite: Earth, KASMA Headquarters, or the surface of the Moon. As it turns out, he only has enough fuel to choose the moon.
  • Meta Fiction: You're someone playing Prey...playing Prey. Which is a pretty good excuse for the more game-y elements like a death timer or getting points for killing enemies.
  • Point of No Return: Of the Tough variety. Once you complete every KASMA objective, your save is locked into the ending sequence and can no longer be used to enter the simulation, meaning that the achievements for things that aren't KASMA objectives, such as maxing out all Neuromods, can't be achieved without starting a new game.
  • Roguelike: Game settings are randomized on each playthrough.
  • Shout-Out: Kasma Station has Clair de lune faintly playing in the background before the first entry into the simulation, with a chair that does rather interesting things to the brain.
  • Team Mom: Joan, from a gameplay perspective, feels like this for most of the game as she not only has the easiest time taking out the Moon Shark (until Andrius is maxed out), she also has the largest inventory and is necessary for opening the Mimic Portal. The result is that she can end up setting up the whole map for the other characters to have an easier time.
  • Threatening Shark: The Moon Shark is a Nightmare-class Typhon that can swim through lunar soil and is attracted to the faintest movement on its surface.
  • Timed Mission: Vijay's story quest leads to him getting poisoned and having a limited time to find the antidote. Afterwards, he needs to scuttle Claire's shuttle before she escapes.
    • The simulation in general is an overall Timed Mission since once the corruption meter maxes out, it crashes.
  • Unreliable Canon: Which parts of the simulation are real? If everybody escapes, then there's no way the story objectives for Andrius and Vijay are canon since Andrius dies in his and Claire is killed by Vijay.. But some of it we know that Riley Yu's escape must be real since the vault operator she uploads herself to is the same one you collect at the beginning of the game and is what the whole simulation hinges on. Likewise, that would imply that Claire's story was canon, and doesn't conflict with Vijay's. But if the stories are canon, then does that mean that there's actually more than one escape pod, since Andrius uses one during his story objective, and Vijay blows up one that Claire is using during his story? But Claire's story must be canon because that explains the ending of Riley's escape attempt and Peter has to use Claire's arming key outside of the sim. Not to mention all the minute little possibilities. Some of it can be explained away via simulation corruption, just like how the loot and hazards are mixed around. But it still leaves a lot of questions.
    • To add to the confusion, you find Vijay and Joan's bodies when playing as one of the other characters - Vijay's route is actually unlocked by locating his corpse - which seems to suggest that canonically those two did die; though of course the simulation isn't 100% accurate, so it's still not certain.
  • The Voice: Basilisk and Teddy of KASMA Corp.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: KASMA is particularly fond of this. They leave Claire to die on Pytheas once she has completed all of her objectives, and outright try to murder Peter by shutting off his life support after he completes all of the simulations.


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