Prey For The Gods
Standing on the shoulders of giants… and then stabbing them repeatedly
“Merely enduring this harsh landscape is as tough as downing any huge boss”
We’re gonna need a bigger boa… actually, keep your rickety fishing vessel. We’d be better off with a bazooka to battle the behemoths of this monster-slaying indie sandbox. It may not be the done thing to discuss beloved PlayStation classics ‘round these parts, but in this case, it’s impossible to ignore the 20-storey leviathan in the room. “There’s no doubt we’ve been heavily inspired by Shadow Of The Colossus,” admits No Matter Studios’ Brian Parnell.
An action adventure built around titanic boss battles? Tick. A mysterious, forbidden land (in this case a frigid island) to explore in lonely fashion? Tick. Copious climbing mechanics? All the ticks. It may be following in the jeep-sized footprints of a masterpiece, but the Colossus comparison isn’t something Parnell, or his two fellow founders of the teeny three-man studio are shying away from when it comes to Prey For The Gods.
“The sad thing is, I wish there were more games like Shadow Of The Colossus,” says Parnell. For ten years no one made a game like this. We know why now… because it’s hard as hell.” And here we were sitting here thinking that making an open-world game built around battles with 100-foot beasts would be a complete doddle. Still, despite Parnell’s clear reverence for Team Ico’s classic, Prey For The Gods is aiming to be much more than just a Shadow Of The Colossus clone.
For one thing, No Matter Studios has set out to craft an experience where player agency rules above all, in a quest where personal choice is central, and the road to the next enormous scuffle rarely follows a set path. Combine this exceptional sense of freedom and open-ended design with distinctly DayZ survival mechanics, and a comparison to Dean Hall’s undead PC-based phenomenon makes a lot of sense. Survival series If anything, Prey For The Gods’ frozen island is its ultimate boss. Howling blizzards that are so bitter they freeze the screen, obscuring your vision. Packs of hungry wolves to fend off. Endless clumps of knee-high snow to awkwardly stumble through. Campfires to build to keep the cold at bay. Fauna to hunt and cook over said fires. Wood to scavenge from the bodies of fallen warriors to craft arrows (these are a finite resource so each one fired will feel important). Merely enduring this harsh landscape is as challenging as downing any BFG-dwarfing boss.
Let’s be honest, though, you’re totally here for the mega bosses, right? Based on glimpses of a prealpha build of the game, they’re not going to disappoint, even if there are only five of them. The two we’ve witnessed so far include a monstrosity that resembles a gigantic, clawed teddy bear (trust us, it’s nowhere near as cute as it sounds), and a feathery dragon, with what appears to be a crow skull for a head – we’re definitely going to need the game’s grappling hook when that thing takes to the skies.
Considering it’s being made by three people, Prey For The Gods is hugely ambitious. To create an island that’s “totally, legitimately open-world”, as Parnell describes it – starring amazing creatures and layered survival mechanics – is really something. If the final game matches this early promise when it hits Xbox One in early 2018, this could be a colossal insta-classic.