Friday, 1 Jul 2022

Prey: 10 Best Side Characters In The Game

If anyone has mastered the immersive sim, it's Arkane Studios. From the dingy plague-stricken streets of Dishonored's Dunwall to the wild party island of Deathloop's Blackreef, Arkane does it best. It's not all about setting and spaces, though. For real immersion, the characters surrounding you need to feel as lived in as the world. No Arkane game exemplifies this more than 2017's Prey.

During your journey through Talos I, you will find notes, emails, and voice recordings from the eclectic employees of TranStar. While most of the crew is gone, every message gives you an idea of the people who lived and worked on Talos I. If you're lucky enough (or unlucky enough), you may even meet some of them. They all have their own unique insights on the alien threat of the Typhon that ravaged their workplace and homes, and they may even shed some light on what, exactly, is going on with Morgan.

10 Somehow, The Worst Person On Talos I: Luka Golubkin

Of all the characters stuck on Talos I, Luka Golubkin is the most unlikable. Understandably, he chose to become a "volunteer" test subject on Talos I over being a prisoner in a Soviet gulag, though by the time you meet him, the turmoil of the alien threat has allowed him to escape this fate and steal the identity of the crew's cook.

You know the guy is bad news when even the Typhon avoid him. However, despite his sinister nature and extremely unsavory personality, his backstory and status as a volunteer get you thinking about exactly what kind of company TranStar really is.

9 The (Allegedly) Decent Man: Aaron Ingram

Any character played by Walton Goggins will be a mix of slimy and charismatic, and Aaron Ingram is no exception. Another volunteer from a Soviet gulag like Luka, Aaron has a rap sheet that just keeps going.

When you meet him, he's stuck in a chamber made to harvest materials for TranStar's neuromods by way of death by Mimic, and he's not going to get out without your help. You can choose to come to his aid if you trust what he says in that charming southern twang of his, or you can throw him to the Mimics. Regardless, Aaron's fast-talking ways give you a little breather from the depressing trek through Talos I.

8 Still Spacewalking: Danielle Sho

Danielle isn't just here because her name references System Shock's SHODAN. She's here because she plays a tabletop RPG called Fatal Fortress 3 with her nerdy coworkers and equally nerdy girlfriend, helping you like and empathize with characters you'll never get the chance to meet.

Danielle is also here because she has somehow kept her job, despite her not-so-quiet hatred for the Yu family. Yet she's still willing to put all that aside to help you, even though she's alone and floating in space outside Talos I, audibly running out of oxygen. Danielle is a spacewalking, girlfriend-loving, RPG-playing lady who happens to be a great singer, too.

7 Your Guide In Chaos: January

No, not the month. January is your AI companion, taking the form of a TranScribe machine. Using a synthesized version of Morgan's voice, January guides you through Talos I, giving you valuable information and insight into characters, places, and tasks.

January may be a program, but they are fully capable of disobeying you or voicing their own opinions. Despite being lines of code in a machine, January can serve as a moral touchstone for you. Best not disappoint them.

6 Is That A Tray Or A Typhon: The Mimic

The Typhon may have numerous possible forms, but none are as iconic as the inky little Mimics, which, as their name suggests, can mimic virtually any object.

As you explore the lonely space station, you'll become more and more paranoid about whether that coffee cup on the desk or that dustpan in the corner wants to outright murder you. Yet, despite them being a minor enemy with no individuality, one that you'll likely find very annoying by the time you finish the game, the Mimics have undeniable personality. Who knew a coffee cup rolling towards you could be so adorably threatening?

5 Tabletop RPG Extraordinaire: Elias Black

Tragically, you never get to actually meet Elias; he's dead by the time you find him, and no amount of speedrunning can change that. Still, as one of the Fatal Fortress 3 players (who insists on being called by his character's name, Captain Stabfellow), he has an undeniable, nerdy charm.

Not only that, he proves to have been very observant, as detailed in an email where he notes dark shapes scuttling around. Elias's keen observation skills and sharp mind would have saved him in a better world. At least you'll always have Captain Stabfellow.

4 Connections To The Old You: Mikhaila Ilyushin

There's no doubt that someone who looks and sounds like Morgan Yu would have a romantic interest somewhere on Talos I. Mikhaila is that person; your ex, a system engineer with unique insight into who Morgan was before you came along. While her reasons for working in the empty vacuum of space are profoundly personal and unrelated to you, you have the choice to help her settle them.

Mikhaila is not just valuable as one of the very few friendly faces left on Talos, but she's one of your only anchors to your murky past.

3 A Sentimental Scientist: Dayo Igwe

Dayo, a neuroscientist, has had a rough go of it. His steadfast belief in the paranormal made him a pariah among his neuroscientist peers, and his wife died young. While Dayo is somewhat sour, he proves to be a loyal ally to the Yu family, who believe in his work, and he also displays a sincere appreciation of the arts.

Unlike other characters, whose side quests are mainly focused on uncovering more of the shady underbelly of TranStar, Dayo's is entirely built on his sentimentality. As if you needed more reason to want to help the guy.

2 Go With Her If You Want To Live: Sarah Elazar

Throughout your journey on Talos I, you will learn one crucial fact: people are not really fond of you. Sarah, the no-nonsense chief security officer, is no exception – not that that impacts how awesome she is.

A smart, dedicated, and very capable leader, Sarah is one of the few people on Talos I who doesn't have a hidden agenda. The Typhon threat brings out either the worst or the best in people, and for Sarah, the only person on the entire station who created a safe zone for survivors in the Cargo Bay, bringing out the best doesn't even begin to cover it.

1 Brotherly Love: Alex Yu

Played brilliantly by Benedict Wong, Alex Yu is an enduring mystery. You can never really get a good read on the guy, and his absence throughout the game leaves a large shadow over Talos I and TranStar.

The notes you find from other TranStar employees don't paint a pleasant picture, yet his love for Morgan is never in doubt. Alex is everywhere and nowhere, all at once. The question of if his intentions are good, or whether he's just trying to strengthen TranStar's bottom line, looms over you constantly. He's not only the best character in Prey; he may be one of the best characters Arkane has created, period.

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