Arkane Studios reveals why Prey stars an Asian protagonist, rather than a stereotypical white male lead. The game’s lead designer Ricardo Bare says that sometimes Arkane makes creative decisions just because it “sounds cool!” and that there isn’t always a “rational deduction.”
Bare also discusses Prey‘s female character option and why Arkane chose to let players choose their character’s gender.
Here’s Why Prey Has an Asian Protagonist, Female Character
Speaking to GamesBeat during GDC 2017, Bare told the publication that “We wanted to have a character that wasn’t a typical Western white male guy who’s the lead. And we also wanted to let people select their gender, too” and that’s why Arkane chose ‘Morgan Yu,’ a “gender-neutral name.”
Bare also said that choosing an Asian protagonist for Prey “makes as much sense as having any other kind of character. It doesn’t make more or less sense. We just thought it was interesting.” Although the designer noted that it’s “easy to slip into your default,” the developer values representation and diversity in games and tries to be “conscious” of that white, male default.
In the interview, it is also confirmed that Prey will feature mentions of Morgan Yu’s parents. Morgan Yu is biracial, having a Chinese neuroscientist father and a German entrepreneur mother and Morgan’s brother Alex, will be featured in the game.
So few big budget games feature playable non-white characters and even fewer feature those characters as the sole player character choice (rather than via character customisation). And so the fact that Prey is all about a person of colour – and even looks at their family and their background too – is surely something to be celebrated.
It’s also positive to hear that Arkane values and supports representation in games too. Arkane’s last game was Dishonored 2 which also featured a female protagonist option, with Emily Kaldwin being praised as an ass-kicking female character that seemed to avoid negative tropes. Many fans of the developer’s games will hope that it will continue to challenge the status quo going forward.
Prey will be released on May 5, 2017 on Windows PC, PS4 and Xbox One.