The Cloak, also known as the Invisibility System or Active Camouflage, is an advanced piece of Yautja technology that is able to render the user invisible, or nearly invisible, to the naked eye, as well as many forms of electronic scanning. The Cloak warps light around the user's body in such a fashion that surfaces behind the creature are visible through the Predator's body. The effect is not perfect, often leaving a visible silhouette similar to heat haze, but in certain environments (and when the Predator remains motionless) it can effectively help a Predator to hide in plain sight.
While the Cloak is very effective when employed against prey that primarily rely on vision, it is notably useless when engaged in a Xenomorph Hunt as the Xenomorphs are still able to "sense" the Yautja warrior even when the cloak is engaged. Yautja starships have similar cloaking systems capable of giving the entire vessel camouflage. Cloak use is very common during a Hunt, due to stealth being a major concern for Predators.
Despite its advantages, the Cloak is not perfect. When the user moves, there is a man-shaped "bubble" (or simply a distortion) in the air, that, dependent on background conditions, may be quite noticeable. This may explain the Yautja species' apparent preference for jungle hunting grounds, as the dense, non-uniform foliage found there helps to mask this distortion more effectively.
The effect of the Cloak is notoriously short-circuited when they come into contact with even a small amount of water, although the effect is not terminal and once the Predator removes himself from the water source the cloak can be re-engaged. They can also be damaged and/or deactivated when the user is attacked physically, causing the Predator to become visible; both projectile impacts and direct physical assault have been shown to cause this effect. Similarly, an electromagnetic pulse will disrupt the cloak, although again it causes no long-term damage to the system and it can be re-engaged once the effect has worn off.
Visible lasers, such as weapon-mounted laser sights, will be refracted by the field and the extra-long Wristblades or Scimitars favoured by some Yautja are often not covered by the cloaking effect, leaving them visible. Some models appear to be easier to disrupt than others; the Cloaks issued to Scar, Celtic and Chopper on their first Xenomorph Hunt deactivated simply as a result of bullet impacts to their armor. Cloak devices are also employed on Yautja starships, where they are incredibly effective; owing to the generally featureless nature of space, there are often no major visual references that can be distorted by the field, rendering Predator vessels essentially invisible.
Cloaking Field Device
These devices shroud large Predators bases. They appear to be large, cuboid objects with an integrated Plasmacaster, much like the one on the Pred-Gun. Immobile, these devices can only be found in three of the Marine levels.
Aliens versus Predator 2 Cloak
The Cloak simply makes the user partially transparent, as the game engine was unable to wrap light around the Predator sprite and lets the player see what they are doing.
Aliens vs. Predator Cloak
The traits of the Cloak have appeared to progress overtime. The Yautja hunter appears almost nonexistent to the human eye as there are no longer ripples standing out to the same extent as the Jungle Hunter's. This allows the Yautja to have a larger advantage than previous Yautja. Despite these advances, the camouflage system still suffers the same weaknesses as it did decades ago.
- The Cloak is among the most commonly copied or reverse-engineered items of Yautja technology — for example, in the video game Aliens vs. Predator, advanced combat androids employed by Karl Bishop Weyland are fitted with a Cloak, rendering them invisible when they are not firing their weapons. Humans also use cloaking technology in the game Predator: Concrete Jungle.
- The look of the Predator's Cloak, with its numerous vague outlines within the shape of the creature, was developed from an invisible man that appeared in a vivid dream experienced by screenwriter Jim Thomas.
- Following its release, Predator was screened at the Pentagon, and among the audience was a General in charge of military procurement who was so impressed by the Predator's Cloak that he subsequently started a research program looking at developing a real-life equivalent.
- In Alien vs Predator: The Last of His Clan, the entire name "INVISIBILITY SYSTEM" cannot fit on the screen, forcing it to be written as "INVISI (next line) BILITY SYSEM".
- ↑ Predator: Concrete Jungle (2005), Eurocom, Sierra Entertainment, Vivendi Universal Games [PlayStation 2, Xbox].
- ↑ Alien vs Predator: The Last of His Clan
- ↑ Randy Stradley (writer), Phill Norwood (illustrator). Aliens vs. Predator #3 (1990), Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Aliens vs. Predator (2010), Rebellion, SEGA [Microsoft Windows].
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers), Stephen Hopkins (director). Predator 2 (1990), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ Jim Thomas, John Thomas (writers), John McTiernan (director). Predator (1987), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ Paul W. S. Anderson (writer and director). Alien vs. Predator (2004), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Jim Thomas, John Thomas. Predator 2 audio commentary (2005), 20th Century Fox [DVD].