There was nothing quite like Shadow of the Colossus when it was released to critical acclaim. I remember the first time playing as Wander, taking a single swing of his sword only to realize, “This is no superhuman hero.” Our silent protagonist seeks to resurrect a young girl named Mono by defeating the colossi. Armored, often towering creatures challenge an every-man in a fantasy setting with beautiful visuals and unique gameplay. It’s a hard formula to replicate, but developer No Matter Studious is up to the task with Praey for the Gods.
Development for the game started in 2014 but found its way to Kickstarter in July of 2016. Hailed as a game inspired by Shadow of the Colossus, Deus Ex, DayZ, and Bloodborne, it blew beyond crowdfunding expectations. At the end of the campaign, they made $501,252, well above their initial ask of $300,000. If only I had been aware of it, I would have gladly opened my wallet.
Anyone who has been following the game will notice it is no longer called “Prey for the Gods.” Unfortunately, No Matter Studios ran into a problem. ZeniMax Media. They own the trademark to the game Prey and slapped down the trademark, citing it’s too similar to prey. Rather than take up the legal battle, No Matter Studios changed the name. Who knew the power of a single letter?
Praey for the Gods Gameplay – What’s it like?
In Shadow of the Colossus, Wander had to scale the gigantic Colossi and attack their weak points to bring them down. The beasts do not take this lightly and do what they must to swat you away like the fly you are. Praey for the Gods looks to revive the formula with a spin.
A recent gameplay video shows that our Protagonist can also utilize the environment around her using a grappling hook. With this in mind, the same gameplay video puts a Zelda: Breath of the Wild feature to good use; She is capable of paragliding from a pillar she climbs, clearing the way for her to land on the boss. All in all, this looks like a faster-paced SOTC. That’s only one tactic shown, though. Each giant is promised to be unique, and there is more than one path to taking one of them down.
Here’s a quick rundown about the game from its Steam Page:
About This Game
Praey for the Gods is a boss climbing open world adventure game where you play as a lone hero sent to the edge of a dying frozen world to discover the mystery behind a never-ending winter. Arriving with only the clothes on your back, you must survive the colossal dangers that you encounter. To restore balance and reclaim the land from the brink, you will be faced with questions that not even a God knows the answer to.
Scale Massive Beasts
Overcome impossible odds to climb atop and defeat the massive beasts that are bound to this land.
Climb, Glide, Swim
You can climb on virtually anything you can get your hands on, from ruins and mountains to the massive beasts that inhabit the land. Ascend to the tops of mountains and then glide over the open world to reach previously inaccessible locations. Swim in frigid water to uncover hidden locations that contain secrets and treasure, but don’t stay in too long or your swim could become your last.
Explore, Craft, and Survive
You’ll arrive on a frozen island with only the clothes on your back — it’s up to you to survive. Make fires, hunt for food, and find the equipment you need to make it through an eternal winter. Nature isn’t the only danger, so craft weapons, defeat minions for better gear, and venture into long forgotten caves to discover their secrets. Triumphing over these trials will prepare you for the impossible odds that wait.
Make Your Path
Praey for the Gods is a non-linear game where you choose who you battle and how. The large beasts can be attempted in any order allowing you to set the course.
Unravel the Mystery
Why won’t the winter stop? Why has no one returned? Cryptic paintings left behind allude to a story once thought forgotten. To restore balance and reclaim the land, you will be faced with questions that not even the gods know the answer to.
A Beautifully Frigid World
Explore a landscape of unending winter framed by snow-capped peaks and crawling fog. The remnants of an ancient civilization lie before you, but don’t let awe turn into carelessness — snow storms can crop up at any moment and bury you in a blizzard. Luckily, you can leave footprints in the snow and follow your footsteps back if you are lost.
Features not listed on Steam
In researching the game, I realized it goes deeper than Steam’s description. Your weapons adhere to durability, and your arrows are finite. Equally important, the protagonist can retrieve the arrows she let loose. Even so, every shot is important, as is every action; Make a wrong move, and you’re fodder for these mysterious creatures.
Without retreading the above summary, Praey for the Gods is as much about overcoming monsters as it is about your survival. There’s a dynamic weather system that endangers you along your journey, a day and night cycle, and a beautiful world to endure. This, all brought to us from three developers’ minds with 30 years of experience under their belt.
The Team behind Praey for the Gods
Brian Parnell, titled the “Director,” is in charge of art and design. He’s worked on video game titles such as Titan Quest, Dawn of War: Soulstorm, and the greater known (by myself) Rock Band 2 and RockBand: Beatles. Tim Wiese, the “Alchemist,” handles art and programming. Hung-Chien Liao, the “Architect,” is a programmer. They have deep backgrounds in gaming, even if they’re not all attached directly to AAA games.
As an indie team, one may be wondering how they’ve created such gorgeous animations. First thing to remember, mo-cap is ordinarily out of the question for indie creators. Luckily, No Matter Studios takes advantage of the Smart suit Pro. Rokoko created the Smart suit Pro, a personal motion capture suit.
As Parnell explains it,
“The Smartsuit Pro has allowed us to improve our cutscenes, and add more subtle animations for our characters. It’s also allowed us much more creative freedom to try out new ideas that in the past were simply too difficult or time consuming.”
I’m eager to play
It’s great to see smaller game developers finding the tools they need to present their vision. By the same token, this has the look and feel of a AAA game. Additionally, this speaks volumes about the limitations of teams like this, and what happens when that barrier is lowered. As passionate as the team is, I can’t wait to play, especially after learning about them.
The full version of Praey for the Gods will release in Q1 2021 for Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Playstation 5. The studio doesn’t know if there will be a Series X version of the game. Rather, players will have to rely on backwards compatibility.
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