Monday, July 2, 2018

"Prey: Mooncrash’s dystopic nightmare hits a little too close to home"

Mooncrash’s new take on this “fantasy” hit all to close to home for me, in the way that Prey’s boring, featureless aliens never really did. A certain unease still settles over me between every “virtual reality” run. It’s the same unease more and more workers feel every day as parts of the world slip further into the gig economy and unregulated spec work.

Breaking from the cycle of corporate exploitation isn’t as easy as prepping an escape pod. There’s always another gig to take you away from the things you love—assuming you want to eat.

Mooncrash isn’t even subtle about the connection between cyclical themes and repetitive gameplay. One of the only readable books in your isolated space pod is a copy of The New Pharaohs. It’s a fictional text from Prey proper that details just how bad work conditions have become in this mirror world.

Occasionally, as you fight for your survival in this corporate dystopia, the corporation that hired you will send photos of your family. The “reward” inherent in such images drips with preemptive malice. It’s there to remind your character what they’re working for—and by extension, what they’ve already been denied access to by an abusive contract.