How ‘Total Recall,’ Terry Gilliam, and More Influenced ‘Prey’


Prey is the latest game from Arkane Studios, the developer behind the critically acclaimed Dishonored series. Unlike Dishonored’s steampunk aesthetic, Prey’s design borrows from classic cerebral sci-fi fare to sustain its atmosphere of suspense. In the video above, Creative Director Raphael Colantonio reveals some of the surprising influences of the game, which launches May 5 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

TranStar Corporation and the Tech of Talos I

“The TranStar Corporation [who runs the space station protagonist Morgan Yu is stranded on] is influenced by any one of the big high-tech companies that you can think of in Silicon Valley.

The technology itself, we wanted something that was a little more raw – so a little bit of [movie director] Terry Gilliam. But Terry Gilliam is very dark, so instead in our game, because the aliens are dark, we wanted something that contrasts with that. So we went with the more colorful, happy version of Terry Gilliam.

Also, there’s a lot of influence from [Danish electronics company] Bang Olufsen. They had very slick — it was in the 70s and the 80s — super slick looks.”

Protagonist Morgan Yu and His Brother Alex Yu

“There’s Morgan Yu and Alex Yu, and some people say that Alex Yu looks a little bit like [Valve President] Gabe Newell, which is coincidental. But we love Gabe Newell — in our past we’ve worked with Valve.”

Enemy “Mimics”

“Those aliens, we call them Mimics because they were a little inspired by the Mimic in Dungeons and Dragons. But we made the next version of that, the next level Mimic — one that can actually turn into anything.”

The GLOO Cannon

“The GLOO Cannon you could say it’s a very Portal-y kind of weapon. You can make an entire game around it with some puzzles. And in our case it is a bit of a disruptor, because once you have this, you can shortcut a lot of other mechanics.”

Dead Scientists

“In the game, you’ll notice that there are some dead scientists and other people around, and they have this really tortured expression on their faces. That inspiration was the film The Ring.”

Space Lighting

“How do you work the light so that it feels like you’re in space? Because the sun is more stark. It’s not filtered the same way in space that it is on Earth. That’s why we looked at some movies like Solaris, Sunshine, or Moon. And we got some mood out of that, and some inspiration.”

Through the Looking Glass

“Since we’re talking about references, the biggest reference to this game is probably System Shock. [System Shock developer] Looking Glass is part of the heritage in general of any Arkane Studios game.

Also, it sounds odd, but there’s a little bit of the TV show Lost in there as well, that Sixties vibe when they found those hatches.”

Total Recall

“But also Total Recall is a good inspiration. There’s this idea in the game that you need to escape this place and you don’t know what’s going on. It’s dangerous and you’re trying to survive, do your best.

But somehow you’re guided by a character who wants you to see a video of yourself. This is the beginning of the, “Hold on a minute, what am I doing here exactly? Who am I?” And it’s at this point that the player is not really sure what’s happening here.

And so that thing that Total Recall managed to capture so well, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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