While most publishers would normally rush to flaunt the many examples of narrative choice in their games, you might not know that Bethesda’s Prey is chock full of moments in which players’ actions have a serious impact on how the plot plays out. While plenty of these examples are self-contained events, a surprising amount directly affect the story’s ending. How protagonist Morgan Yu engages with enemies, how many NPCs she saves, and even which upgrades she chooses have concrete effects on Prey’s conclusion. Here’s an accounting of everything players need to keep track of to be in full control of their ending:
Warning, partial spoilers ahead
Who would’ve thought injecting alien DNA through your eyeball and into your brain could have any negative effects? While this repeated decision to specifically upgrade your Typhon-derived abilities makes little impact on the narrative’s larger arc, it’s certainly addressed during crucial conversations shortly before and after the credits roll (as well as throughout the game). Prey isn’t exactly subtle about Neuromods being problematic in general; each time Morgan picks up one of his purple pals, the game autosaves just before playing a low, ominous tone.
Talos I is home to over 260 employees and visitors, each of whom are named, discoverable and assigned varying amounts of interconnected backstory. Unfortunately for about twenty of these people, Typhons called Telepaths have turned them into mind-controlled, head-bursting bombs. Morgan can free these prisoners from their mental bonds with a stun gun or Typhon ability if she’s stealthy enough, though the game also keeps track of each one that dies. Add the rest of Talos I’s living crew to the list of possible murder victims, and Morgan has quite a say over what Prey’s ending will think of her.
Despite the enemy aliens’ decidedly evil nature, the game still keeps track of how often the player chooses to kill them. Though it might spoil the conclusion to say why, Prey’s ending makes sure to note whether Morgan killed every Typhon she saw or decided to sneak past enough of them. This is a variable that doesn’t result in any other gameplay differences, but it’s arguably pretty important in the context of the ending’s twist.
About a quarter of the way into the game, Morgan is presented with her three main options for how she’ll ultimately deal with the station’s Typhon threat: A character named January has a plan to blow up the station, a character named December wants Morgan to immediately flee via escape pod, and her brother Alex wants her to destroy the Typhon in a riskier way that would leave Talos I intact. Near the end, Morgan will have to choose between these three options… though another method of escape from the station may still be possible…
We won’t spoil the specifics of this moral quandary, but in this scenario Morgan can either kill a very bad man (for an added personal gain, we should mention) or free him from danger. Unlike with the mind-controlled crew members, killing him doesn’t just affect how empathetic the ending finds Morgan to be; Morgan is specifically called out for having spared the man or not.
If you want to experience Prey’s longest, most involved side quest chain, remember this: Help the cook in Crew Quarters’ cafeteria. This will kick off three optional missions involving said chef, already-central character Danielle Sho and some bad blood between the two. Several crucial parts of these questlines are easy to miss or forget about, so keep in mind that Morgan receives a bit of praise in the game’s epilogue for seeing them through properly.
While making a spacewalk toward Cargo Bay in the second half of the game, Morgan will receive an S.O.S. from Dr. Dayo Igwe, who is stuck in a nearby floating crate and running out of oxygen. Not only does saving Igwe open up another variation on two of the three main endings (Igwe also periodically supplies ammo and upgrades to Morgan), this is will open another tiny side mission that is acknowledged by the game’s epilogue.
Soon after Morgan can deliver Igwe safely into Cargo Bay, she’s asked by security chief Sarah Elazar to go through several steps in helping to prepare for a battle… that she can completely skip. If the player does decide to stick around to help take down a deadly wave of Typhon, this will not only open up another short (and timed) quest during the game’s climax, but the deed will be called out again in the post-credits epilogue.
Similar to Igwe’s questline, here’s a two-parter that not only sheds a bit more light onto Mikhaila’s character, but adds to the game’s ending. First, you’ll need to retrieve some much-needed medicine to keep Mikhaila alive, then you’ll need to hunt down an audiolog that reveals the fate of her father, who had volunteered to be the test subject in a Talos I experiment. Not only will this make Mikahila present in that Igwe-enabled variation of the ending… you guessed it, Morgan’s deeds will be expectedly recounted in the post-credits sequence.
Toward the end of the game, Commander Dahl and his army of killer robots take over the station to put a stop to Alex and/or Morgan’s plans and protect the Transtar Corporation’s Typhon investment. How these quests play out will depend on A.) If Morgan saved Igwe, and B.) If Morgan kept those in Cargo Bay alive during their battle with the alien menace. If those criteria were met, the player can also take Igwe’s advice to incapacitate Dahl (instead of killing him), thus opening up yet another mission leading to the previously mentioned variation on the two main endings.
Shortly before Prey’s final act, Morgan and Alex are finally in the same room again (or on the same rooftop, to be exact) when the obligatory climactic disaster strikes. While it may not even occur to some that they have a choice in the matter, players can choose to either drag Morgan’s brother to safety or abandon him to die. Obviously, this has quite the impact on the final events leading up to the credits rolling, though Morgan’s suite of ending choices seems to stay intact.
Come on, you knew we weren’t going to spoil this one either. We will tell you that the game’s arguably most important decision takes place during the epilogue in an interactive cut scene. A divisive one among critics, the sigh-inducing final twist seems to lay the groundwork for a sequel… so at least there’s hope for that?
A former Paste intern and recently graduated screenwriting student living in San Francisco, Peter Amato is new to being paid to write about videogames. Help shepherd this nervous, disconcertingly tall little boy toward having a career by following him on Twitter.