Prey and Humility

Prey made M. Joshua want to be a better, humbler person … sort of.

Written by M. Joshua Cauller / Published on May 18, 2017

"… as the game judged me for how I cared for the living, I realized I was really only in it for the rewards …"
Transformations happen all over Prey’s Talos-1 space-station: normal people transform into super-geniuses with the use of neuromods (with just a simple needle-shove in the eye), normal everyday objects transform into murderous space monsters (mimics), and I myself can transform into everyday objects (to hide from the murderous mimics). It’s just another day on Talos-1.

But one transformation is more important than the looming threat of space monsters infesting earth: it’s me—I’m transforming into a humbler, and better person.

I used to be a terrible power-hungry boss lady. They tell me that I used to have very little issue with the “human cost” as we uh… toyed with the lives of a few volunteers in the development of neuromods. But I don’t remember that, since when you uninstall a neuromod, you lose all memory post-installation (I had a few recent uninstalls).

The more important thing is: now I am a much better person, who cares about others, and doesn’t mind picking up their messes! Boss lady, Morgan, is gone. Trash lady, Morgan is here:

I can’t wait to get my hands on your used cigars, corroded coils, and day-old eel scraps!

Why? Well, every single piece of garbage I collect aids me in the fight against these ‘Typhon’ killer aliens—when paired this lovely-lovely recycler. This miraculous machine gobbles-up my trash-piles and spits everything back-out in neatly-organized goo-cubes—ready for transformation into something specific to my need.

I shove my refined-cubic-garbage into the fabricator (BFF #2), a few whirs-and-hums later, and then pop! Out drops the goods: twelve more shotgun shells, a fresh medkit, or (if I put the right combo of materials in the machine) a new neromod for instant self-improvement!

Ah, there you are, beautiful.

Every bit of trash on this space station literally glows. It’s calling my name: “Grab me, Morgan. Fit me inside your space-pants.” The fact that I truly need every scrap of trash to keep me alive (or upgrade my abilities) doesn’t do my obsessive impulses any favors.

I’m picking-up everybody’s garbage because I’m a good person. It doesn’t matter if I’m scared-out-of-my-mind, and in total scrounge-mode.

That “Good Girl, Morgan” motif that I’m aiming for can best-be-achieved through Prey’s best weapon: the recycle charge (grenade)! I just toss that puppy at all the trash I dropped on the floor (or on Messy-Megan’s desk) and BAM—Christmas! All that trash is suddenly nice neat raw material cubes. Cubicle cleaned! You’re welcome.

I’d love to say that my serving-others approach is really working out, but trash-collection is a thankless job. Sure, that’s because most of the Talos-1 employees are dead—or are too busy running for their lives to see me picking up their garbage (doing them a solid). But dang, I’ve cleaned up most of the station now. And I’ve helped most of the people who are still living. Why isn’t anybody recognizing my cleanup efforts?

After the game’s events, there’s an addendum where all of your choices and decisions are addressed. I never got a back-pat for cleaning up people’s garbage (not that I honestly expected that), but as the game judged me for how I cared for the living, I realized (even though I served these people empathetically) I was really only in it for the rewards and the sense of gratification that it brought me. Even my trash-collection compulsions were suspect. I’d like to think that I love helping people, but honestly, the only reason I wanted to collect and recycle trash in Prey, was so I can fabricate neuromods to upgrade myself into a more-powerful enemy-conqueror. Still, at least it’s more fun being a wannabe-humble “trash lady” power-monger than being a top-down tyrant? Maybe?

About the Author:

M. Joshua Cauller makes unique player-centered indie game trailers when he's not exploring games' redemptive qualities. He can sometimes be found away from his computer (if you're patient). You can follow him on Twitter @mjoshua or check out his trailer production work at http://mjoshua.com