The Bethesda booth housed a gameplay presentation of the upcoming Prey 2. The first trailer did grab my attention, though I failed to see the connection between the first and second game at all. Turns out there are some aspects tying the two games together, but Prey 2 is a different experience entirely.
If there is one common theme among the Bethesda games shown off this year, it's the open world aspect and Prey 2 has me really excited. Maybe it's because it's such a departure from the standard fantasy setting, but planet Exodus seems like a really exciting place to explore, mainly because of its vertical aspects. The big feature here is freedom of movement, that combines the vertical exploration of the Assassin's Creed series, but also the parkour moves of Mirror's Edge. You'll need this freedom of movement because you assume the role of a bounty hunter, and your prey (pun intended) won't give up easily and will try to escape you by any means necessary.
Being an open world, you won't always have the task of finding your next primary target, which is where Ambient Bounties come into play. Your character is outfitted with a hi-tech scanner that can scan any living entities in your immediate vicinity. The color of their scan tells you whether they can offer you assistance or whether they need help from you, whether they will react to you with hostility if you interfere, or if they belong on a wanted list in which case it's your job to take them down, dead or alive. That also opens up a big gameplay element in which you can decide to play as good guy, or as a Bethesda rep so tastefully put it "like a dick." The choice of whether you want to help a citizen that's being held up by thugs or just let him get shot and move along is completely up to you.
If we learned anything from Boba Fett (except how NOT to die from falling in a Sarlacc pit) is that bounty hunters need gadgets. Aside from your standard weapons, you'll be able to use these gadgets at the same time. I wasn't able to see the full line-up, but some extremely handy rockets took out some thugs in the foreground while the bounty hunter was free to score some headshots to the thugs right in front. Another nifty gadget called the Bolderos can be used to ensnare your enemies that are fleeing from you, effectively taking them in alive instead of stopping them with a couple of rounds from your gun.
We then saw a story mission which first had us gather intel on our targets whereabouts. The alien in possession of this intel first told us that he'll sell us the info for 2000 credits. We then had a choice to either pay up and be on our way or take out his trusty bodyguard and then hold him out until he gave us the right info. This was yet another example of how players will be able to experience the game differently. After the primary target was found, and all of his hired help was taken care of, it turned into an all out chase scene where it was imperative to traverse the varying environment effectively so that we wouldn't lose our mark. When caught, we were presented with yet another choice, send him off and collect our bounty or interrogate him for more info. Since interrogating a suspect causes pain, it can also lead to death if overdone. This leads to a careful balance of trying to get as much information as possible that will help in future missions, but also not as much that will lead your bounty to certain death.
Bethesda really wowed me with their lineup. There was little doubt that Skyrim and Rage wouldn't impress, but Prey 2 had to prove itself first, and I can say it did so admirably. We can eagerly look out for Prey 2 and to exploring the planet Exodus in early 2012.