Old Leaked Design Documents Show What Prey Could've Been

Three years ago, a handful of leaked design documents revealed an early version of Arkane Austin's vision for Prey, which was then code-named Project Danielle. It's fascinating to see how much has changed since then.

These early design documents, which were leaked on a torrent website in 2014 (and are neatly summed up on NeoGAF here), present several pitches for Prey's story.

One proposes that the game be set in a high-tech lab that's been built on a crashed alien ship; another would put the player on a tropical island hiding a bunker full of military secrets. Most of the ideas centre on a character named Danielle Sho — get it? Sho Dan? — who would, in one version of the story, be an AI that offers help and guidance to the player. Danielle Sho does appear in the final version of Prey, although she's a lot different than imagined in these pitches.

You can see both documents below. The second, which was designed back when Arkane called it Prey 2 (before it became just "Prey"), comes closest to the final version, but neither of these docs mentions Morgan Yu, Talos-1, the Typhon or any other core story elements from the Prey that came out earlier this month. What a long, strange journey this has been.

Prey 2 Document 1 by AllGamesDelta on Scribd

Prey 2 Document 2 by AllGamesDelta on Scribd


    Godamn I love Arkane.

    The Approach 2 retrofuture inspired by Dark City sounds rad.

      Between Dishonored and Prey, Arkane are on a roll. I'd gladly take any of those other approaches as a follow up, even if they just reboot with each release and don't keep continuity.

      There's no such thing as too many immersive sims.

    Well at least you like it.

    I thought it was really dumb to just create a new game and slap on the prey label, why not just make a new game?

    The design doc just reads as a mishmash of other people's ideas to me crammed into a pretty run of the mill scifi story. I think good originality comes from personal experiences, passions and references outside of film and gaming.

      It's pretty obvious it was never meant to be a follow up to the original Prey, Bethesda own the IP and it's a good title that fits nicely. The original game was never the sacred cow everyone made it out to be, it was a pretty ok, average game that everyone forgot about a week later.

      Personal stories? Yeah there's tonnes of that in Prey.

      Design documents need a frame of reference, they're meant to convey tone and the general direction of the game. If you just try plucking it out of thin air with nothing to frame it then there's bound the be someone getting confused.

      That's gotta be one of the worst descriptions of how creativity works I've heard though.

        Well, look at least you liked it. Maybe it's just not for me. Any gameplay i saw of the new prey game looked dull to me, the story too. It just looked like a more boring bioshock knockoff and I didnt consider bioshock to be that amazing of a game other than the setting.

        As far as that being a bad description of originality, well I dont know maybe you like mish mashes of things that are fimilar to you, I don't. I don't consider that original or very creative.
        I've made a few design docments and am currently developing a game with a small team.
        I wouldnt use their style of "referencing" at all.

        I think that's the reason why we keep getting crappy knockoffs, I really believe this generation of developers and creatives are starting to lose methods of originality, or they are all completely focused on money. Becuase if you are all drawing from the same well, you're going to get the same settings and stories. I just hope your not creative, because it sounds like you don't get it either.

        I cant account for the personal stories in the new prey as I found it too boring to even watch or hold my attention.

          Originality isn't what makes an entertaining story. You need a complete package of engaging characters good naritive and some suspense or undertones to keep you driving forward.
          Given the reviews I think they have nailed it.
          You make a story that is way to out there it won't get people. Originality doesn't always equal entertainment.
          There really are no truly original works it's been that way for.... hell centuries. the way our brains are wired to see patterns when they don't exist. I'd be able to find dozens of "copying" other people's ideas in your work.

      As to using the Prey name, I'd say that's marketing.

      As to the mishmash of other people's ideas, Arkane Studios includes people who worked on System Shock, Thief and Half-life. Also, Prey had Chris Avellone as writer, who you might remember from such games as Fallout through to Planescape Torment. I see Arkane as the continuity of the Looking Glass ethos, not just cribbing their style. Their gameplay and level design certainly lives up to a high standard for me.

      Bullet points like:

      "Variety in the level layouts is important
      • Avoid hallway-room-hallway play.
      •Multiple paths through the environment
      •Areas should serve a function"

      Make me very happy as a gamer.

      And I can overlook the fact that it's not the Heart of Darkness (the Conrad novel) of video games though because no one has done that. Except maybe Spec Ops: The Line, but no one played that anyway.

    I don't know who Anthony and Harvey are but they got BURNED!

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