Looking at Prey for the Gods, a PS4 and Xbox One whose Kickstarter ends this week, and you’d be hard-pressed to think it was put together by a mere three people: A vast, desolate land, a dynamic weather system, and humongous beasts are the hallmarks to the survival game from the Seattle-based No Matter Studios, evoking similarities to Shadow of the Colossus and the zombie survival game DayZ. But those games were made by studios staffed by hundreds. No Matter Studios is just three people: Brian Parnell, Hung-Chien Liao, and Tim Wiese. I’ve crashed on sofas that had more people.
Still, in a blog post on the PlayStation website, Parnell details how Prey for the Gods, in development since 2014, came together with a tiny team. Turns out, all it took is just a little ingenuity and a ton of love.
“We had to think differently,” Parnell writes about No Matter’s approach. Instead of weaving characters, dialogues, and cinematic cutscenes, No Matter decided to fill in the environment with detail, saving time and energy.
“Instead of telling me why the world is covered in the snow, show me! Let me put the pieces together and come to conclusions on my own. Through the use of ruins, statues, and murals the player will see what has happened to the world … [T]his style of storytelling works well for smaller teams without sacrificing the scale and scope of what were trying to tell.”
In Prey for the Gods, you play as a hero who traverses the edge of a frozen island to find why it’s caught in an eternal winter. To reclaim the world, you must defeat giant Gods with only the weapons and tools you carry, owing much to Team ICO’s Shadow of the Colossus. The game also takes after DayZ and Bloodbourne, through its survival elements in which you must hunt and eat to survive lest you die of hunger. That’s if the blistering cold doesn’t kill you first, and yeah, those Gods aren’t friendly either.
Parnell also said No Matter was inspired by Shadow of the Colossus, the 2005 game developed by Team ICO for the PlayStation 2, in more ways than just big-ass giants you climb on, citing ICO’s ambition to push the technology as forward as possible. It was also never No Matter’s intention to make a direct homage to one of their favorite games.
“Our goal isn’t to make a sequel, or make a carbon copy of Shadow of the Colossus. We want to push ourselves to create a game that we want to play that exemplifies the core mechanics, and atmosphere that one sees — and if we do it right inspire others to do the same.”