Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mind Games - Prey (2017) - Part 2

The Mind Games continue, only this time I'm not alone. My old friend Mathias, who is just as much a fan of this game as I am, if not more so, will be joining me for the duration of this series.

Together, we'll restore functionality to the Looking Glass, and set off on a quest to fulfill the wishes of our previous incarnation. And along the way, we'll attempt to piece together the puzzle of Morgan Yu.

Thumbnail courtesy of Sam Callahan.

In this segment, we start to delve into the core themes of the game, which center around identity and sense of self. As a test subject for the Neuromods, Morgan Yu has to continuously get their mind erased to extract the Neuromods, so that different experiment mods can be installed and tested. However, there were complications as a result of these procedures.

Namely, "Morgan Yu" began to diverge. While the mind and memory of Morgan Yu, from prior to installing Neuromods, was left intact, the resulting personality changed. Sometimes, Morgan would begin to show empathy and concern where a previous version of themselves was cold and ruthless, or vice-versa. And as Morgan began to change, they grew more and more distant from their brother, Alex.

This raises the question of what it means to be Morgan Yu. After all, as the player, we're inhabiting the individual known as Morgan Yu. That is the designation given to body we inhabit as we explore Talos 1. However, the person who sets us on our current path is also "Morgan Yu" by virtue of being another version of us during that existed during the Neuromod experimentation. They believe that what's gone on here is so dangerous and immoral that the only reasonable solution is to blow it up and prevent the Typhon, and the technology built off of them, from ever getting out.

And still there is also the Morgan Yu that Alex remembers, who he loves and misses as his sibling and partner. Though we don't quite know it by this point in the game, that version "Morgan" sanctioned many, if not all of the atrocities that occurred on Talos 1, just as Alex did. They were quite content to feed human prisoners to the Typhon in order to create more exotic material to be woven into Neuromods. They were cold and calculating, caring only about the progress of the project at any and all costs. While they are significantly different to the other incarnations we've seen, they are nonetheless as much "Morgan Yu" as any other.

There's also the mysterious Morgan Yu that may or may not have created the December operator, whose implores us, the most "current" incarnation, to escape the space station and leave everyone to their fate. As January, created by the self-destructive Morgan Yu, demonstrates, these various "people" all have goals that directly oppose each other, and yet every single one of them can be accurately identified as "Morgan Yu".

Though it's unclear whether all of these divergent variants of "Morgan Yu" are a result of side effects from the Neuromod project messing with their memory, or just the natural consequence of rolling the dice and watching free will run it's course, we still have the question of what our Morgan Yu considers the best thing to do in the situation we find ourselves in.

Do we honor the wishes of our old self? Are the sins of our previous variants visited on us, and should they be? And it is even correct in the first place to think of us as an incarnation of Morgan Yu, or are we so far removed from that concept that we might as well be someone else entirely? These questions are never answered in the text of the game, but they are raised and we're often left to ruminate on them as we progress through the game. Character, like we see with Alex, genuinely struggle with them, knowing that we're both Morgan Yu and not.

It's a fascinating quandary.

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