If you own Prey: Mooncrash, later this year, you’ll also get access to Typhon Hunter for freesies. The FreeLC will include a smattering of escape rooms, as well as an asymmetrical 1v5 multiplayer mode where one player takes on the role of Morgan and the other five play as Mimics. It promises to be as terrifying as it is entertaining.
Recently, at QuakeCon 2018, I had the chance to sit down with Arkane’s Lead Designer Ricardo Bare as part of a roundtable discussion. We peppered Bare with questions about what we should expect from Typhon Hunter—which, at that stage, had very little in-depth information—and there were some cheeky questions at the end of the discussion about the ending of Prey. You should definitely stop reading at that point if you haven’t finished the base game.
Stevivor: Can you give us a breakdown of what Typhon Hunter is all about?
Ricardo Bare: It’s a little confusing. Around E3 we released Mooncrash, which was a new DLC, a new area on the moon, where your goal is to escape the moon base, you get to play as five characters. It’s part of the Prey universe and if you purchased Mooncrash, there is an update coming later called Typhon Hunter, which is also included. Typhon Hunter has two things. It has a series of escape rooms, which are VR experiences. The first one is Morgan’s office, there’s a mysterious experiment you have to complete, it’s all VR. When Typhon Hunter fully releases, there will be more rooms, and they’re all locations from the space station.
Games Journo #1: Does Morgan have to kill the Mimics or just find them?
RB: Yeah, he’s got to smash them with the wrench.
Stevivor: What’s stopping a Mimic player from being a cup for the entire game?
RB: Just the fact that Morgan is trying to find you and kill you. If you do a really good job of hiding, Morgan might never find you, but if Morgan ever gets that power-up, then for a brief window he knows exactly where everyone is.
PCPP: Are the Mimics made aware of when that happens so they can move?
Games Journo #2: Are the Mimic stats similar to the main game?
RB: No, it’s tuned specifically for this mode. By the way, we also plan on letting you play the multiplayer in VR, if you want. So there’s a VR interface for that for all players.
AusGamers: Has the sound design been amplified for the multiplayer?
RB: Well, we’re still working on it, but the answer is, yes, that is a very important part of it. Audio is super important to all of our games, actually, and just communicating mood and having you feel that sense of emergent… for this game in particular, because you’re talking about Mimics who jump scare you, the audio design is super important.
Mark Limburg: Will player be able to drop-in during a game?
RB: You can’t join a game that’s already in progress, but you can set up a lobby like you’re describing and pull all your friends in there.
PCPP: What kind of escape options do the Mimics have if they’ve been spotted? Is it easier for Morgan to kill them once he or she has seen them, or can they jump or scurry away?
RB: They have a really powerful jump.
PCPP: On a cooldown?
RB: Yeah. They of course can hide, they can disguise themselves. So your best bet is to break line of sight and find something to disguise yourself as, and hope there are enough other things around that Morgan won’t find you in time. Because if Morgan gets close to you, he takes a risk. The Mimics jump attack out of hiding charges up, and it charges up by being close to Morgan. So Morgan wants to stay away and keep on the move because if he stands still for too long, then from the Mimic’s point of view, you’ll see this meter building. When it maxes out, you can jump attack and take Mimic out.
PCPP: Is there a synergy between making the Mimics work together.
RB: Oh, yeah.
Games Journo #1: As a Mimic, can you see which objects in which you can hide and which you can’t?
RB: As long as it’s a physics object in the game, you can pick it. It’s sort of the same rules we had in the main game for the AI. Anything that’s roughly the size of the Mimic or smaller and as long as it’s a physics object, then it’s a valid target.
Stevivor: Can you communicate with people on your team and also the human player?
RB: Yes, using Discord. Just kidding. I’m not sure what we’re doing with… I don’t think we’ve decided what we’re doing with team chat yet. You can definitely talk to people just on your team.
Stevivor: Are there social aspects of Typhon Hunter’s multiplayer that are similar to Deceit?
RB: We had this idea at the beginning of, like, hey if the Mimics talk to each other that Morgan should hear it as that clicking sound that Mimics make. But after a while we realised that maybe this is just anecdotal, but the way that most people play games anyway is they use services like Discord, so nobody is ever going to hear that, so we ended up dropping it.
AusGamers: Did development start in 2018 or earlier?
RB: We didn’t start working on it immediately after shipping Prey, because once we released the game, there’s support that that entails afterwards, like patching and things like that. But a small part of the team was working on just the concept of it, then eventually, everybody takes vacations after shipping a game, but eventually the team, three-quarters or half the team are ramped up working on crashes, another small group started to conceive of the Typhon Hunter stuff. So you sort of split up into multiple groups. But the seeds for Mooncrash were planted a long time ago.
There were ideas that came to fruition in Mooncrash which were originally for the base game of Prey, but it was just too many features and too many ideas so we decided to save them for later. For instance, the procedural environmental states in Mooncrash, like the way that the levels can end up having no power or on fire or irradiated or pristine or this passage closed, this passage open, a lot of this stuff was initially intended for Prey. Base Prey was going to have a lot more procedural elements. We realised also that a lot of these things don’t pay off as well.
And games that take 20 hours to complete, like, most people are only going to complete it once, even that. They’re not going to see that I’ve gone through this level 10 times and it’s been different every time. No, they’re only going to go through it one time so it’s a waste of time to have it randomised.