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Bethesda’s Pete Hines is at PAX Australia today and one of the first things he did was tell CNET that Prey 2 has been officially canceled:
“It was game we believed in, but we never felt that it got to where it needed to be – we never saw a path to success if we finished it,” Hines said.
“It wasn’t up to our quality standard and we decided to cancel it. It’s no longer in development. That wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s one that won’t surprise many folks given that we hadn’t been talking about it.
“Human Head Studios is no longer working on. It’s a franchise we still believe we can do something with — we just need to see what that something is.”
Prey 2’s troubled development cycle has been rumor mill fodder for a few years now. Last year, an internal email even hinted that the game was given to Arkane Austin and that all previous work by Human Head had been thrown out.
As Bethesda is pretty tight-lipped about these things, we’ll probably never learn the real reasons behind Prey 2’s demise.
Back in May, it was reported that Bethesda had taken Prey 2 away from Human Head and handed it off to Arkane’s Austin studio. The rumor stated that Arkane was being given free reign to throw out the entirety of Human Head’s work and start over. The new project, which may still carry the “Prey 2” name, was said to resemble System Shock.
As is their habit, Bethesda denied these rumors. But a new report on Kotaku purports to show a leaked email from the company confirming Arkane’s involvement and the cancellation of Human Head’s version of Prey 2.
In light of this new information, rather than issue another denial, Bethesda declined to comment:
When reached by Kotaku for comment today, Bethesda sent over a statement: “We aren’t talking about what Arkane is working on and we have no new information to share on Prey 2.”
Why are they being so vague? Why mislead the public like this? Maybe there are legal issues involved here—the relationship between Bethesda and Human Head is still very bizarre—but it’s an unusual and unfortunate situation.
It may be a long time before we hear anything new about Prey 2, but we’ll let you know when we do.
Prey 2 has bounced around from developer to developer for years now, but it looks like the long-delayed sequel may have finally found a permanent home at Arkane Studios. And there’s a chance it’s no longer known as “Prey 2.”
Kotaku is reporting (along with an assist from Prey 2 fan site Alien Noire) that Prey 2 has found a new home at the Dishonored developer’s Austin studio. Their tipster also revealed that Bethesda has instructed them to throw out the entirety of Human Head’s work and start from scratch, or, “just treat it like a new System Shock.” The original design for Prey 2 already differed wildly from Prey, trading in the original’s alien spaceship (complete with kidnapped humans) for a wild west-like alien planet where humans live freely.
Arkane is actually the third studio to get their hands on Prey 2. Previously, Bethesda offered the game to Obsidian, who worked on it for a few months. According to Kotaku’s source, the team isn’t happy that their parent company is forcing them to work on someone else’s game, but the fresh start will allow them to put their own stamp on it.
This developer switch will cause another delay for Prey 2 and, according to Kotaku, it’s unlikely that the game will be released before 2016.
Back in April, Bethesda officially declared that development on Prey 2 had stalled. A company spokesman would confirm that the game wasn’t being cancelled, but that it would definitely not make its planned 2012 release date. In the six months since that news was handed down… not much has changed.
Nathan Cheever, a designer at Human Head Studios took to Twitter this week to confirm that the game is still in limbo:
Prey 1 = Indians in Space.Prey 2 = Cowboys in Space. (#Prey2).btw, P2 hasn’t been officially canceled, only in limbo.
— Nathan Cheever (@NathanCheever) October 15, 2012
As we said at the time, the original Prey took 11 years to go from announcement to release. So this delay is, sadly, par for the course for the series.
Bethesda: Prey 2 isn’t cancelled, but it’s been delayed
Last year, the Internet rumor mill claimed that Doom 4 was cancelled. Bethesda responded by claiming the game had never been announced.
Thankfully, they were able to handle the rumors of Prey 2‘s cancellation a bit better. But the company still ended up announcing that the alien shooter sequel has been delayed into 2013 (or possibly beyond).
Tracey Thompson, Bethesda’s Director of Global PR, had this to say about the delay:
Developmentof Prey 2 has not been cancelled but the game will not be released in 2012 as planned. The delay is due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards. Prey 2 has shown great promise and we regret disappointing our fans. We have made a substantial investment in game development to deliver the experience fans want. We are determined only to release the AAA game that fans rightfully expect, and are unwilling to compromise our quality standards to meet a release schedule.
A new release window wasn’t announced. I wouldn’t worry too much about this latest delay as they’re nothing new for the Prey series. It actually took 11 years of off-and-on development before Prey was released for the PC and Xbox 360 back in 2006.
On the heels of the live action Prey 2 trailer, UK magazine Game Reactor has even more details for us. According to MTV’s Multiplayer Blog, the game will feature parkour like Mirror’s Edge, environmental scope akin to Assassin’s Creed 2, combat similar to Killzone, a loot system kindred to Borderlands, and thankfully that’s all they said in the article, because I’m out of synonyms for “like” at this point. Oh, and a Human Head Studios producer said, “If the first ‘Prey‘ was the Luke Skywalker version of the story, ‘Prey 2‘ is Boba Fett’s story.”
So we’ve got parkour in a giant environment with bad-ass combat and loot systems, and we’re also going to be switching gears from the equivalent of the whiny farmer to the bounty hunter? It sounds too good to be true, until you consider they’re canning any multiplayer in favor of focusing everything on a “more robust single-player campaign.” The idea there is they don’t want to compete with all the other great multiplayer games out there – but can they compete with the single-player campaigns? With this intense amount of video game culture all tossed together like the Prince rolling up a giant Katamari ball, it’s either going to be a beautiful star in the sky or a complete disaster.
OK, I understand that Prey was a highly acclaimed game, but the guy in the debut trailer for Prey 2 is seriously annoying. This live action clip is recorded by the guy who annoys everyone on the plane – he’s keeping his camcorder on even though he’s been told to turn it off (while you’ve already turned off your PSP) and he’s also trying to get footage of the prisoner you didn’t know was being transported on your flight. If you want to hear the epitome of douchiness in American culture, just skip ahead to 1:06 and listen to how he says “sweeet” and “ohhhhh, that’s bad ass…” with special emphasis on the “ohhhh” and “ssss” at the end. I seriously hope for the developers’ sake the game is not this annoying.
Bethesda Softworks has announced they plan to publish Prey 2 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012.
First announced back in 2008, the Elder Scrolls publisher acquired the rights to Prey 2 a year later. The game is being developed by Human Head (who also worked on Prey) and will make use of the id Tech 5 engine.
“We are thrilled to be working with Bethesda on Prey 2,” said Chris Rhinehart, project lead. “Prey 2 will provide gamers the opportunity to explore a new facet of the Prey universe, one that offers fast-paced action in an open, alien world. We’re excited to show gamers the title we have been working on and hope they will be as excited by this title as we are.”
More information on Prey 2 will be revealed in the May issues of Official Xbox Magazine and PlayStation: The Official Magazine.