Source: Human Head hasn't worked on Prey 2 since November

More details are surfacing over the delay of Prey 2. Apparently developer Human Head has not been working on the game since late last year.


News that Prey 2 had not been cancelled, but rather delayed, was relieving to fans of the original. However, why has there been such secrecy surrounding the project over the last several months?

According to a Shacknews source who asked not to be identified, Human Head was not happy with the terms of its contract with ZeniMax, and deliberately stopped work on the game in November so it could try to negotiate a more favorable deal. While doing that, many on the development team were laid off, with the hope they would be rehired if the contract issue was resolved favorably. The process seemed to be gathering some positive momentum until January when ZeniMax's responses all but stopped, causing some of the laid-off Prey 2 team to wonder if the game would ever see the light of day.

By March 1, the source said, things had progressed a bit, leaving the Prey 2 team hopeful that they would return to work soon. But that quickly soured the following day. The source could provide no further first-hand details after March 2.

When contacted for a response, an official at ZeniMax responded that "we aren't commenting on the game's development beyond what was said in the statement that was released this morning."

In light of the new information, the official stance that "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" seems to throw Human Head under the creative bus. With development stalled for months, it's no surprise that the game would be unable to meet so-called "quality standards."

It is unclear at this point what ZeniMax will do with the title now. A new developer certainly looks likely, and it would not be the first time Bethesda had changed developers on a game, namely shifting Rogue Warrior from Zombie Studios to Rebellion in 2009.

The source did say that one thing that kept the Human Head studio in a positive frame of mind was that they were working on a new high-profile project and negotiations for that game were going quite well. While they didn't give us any further details, the developer did recently admit they were "considering" a sequel to Rune.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 19, 2012 2:22 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Source: Human Head hasn't worked on Prey 2 since November.

    More details are surfacing over the delay of Prey 2. Apparently developer Human Head has not been working on the game since late last year.

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      April 19, 2012 2:25 PM

      Ouch, hope they end up ok.

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      April 19, 2012 2:27 PM

      makes sense, im sure after Rage failing, they are more apt to taking the reins from a developer who isn't going in the right direction.

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        April 19, 2012 3:10 PM

        Rage looked like meh since day one. Prey 2 looked incredibly promising from what was shown off to date.

        Note: I wasn't a huge fan of Prey 1 beyond the first couple hours of the game, so this isn't a rose colored glasses situation.

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          April 19, 2012 3:14 PM

          Fucking this. INF

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          April 19, 2012 3:17 PM

          RAGE let me down bad. Bought into the hype, John Carmack's return, etc, etc...paid 24 Queen Head's for the game on pre-order, played it for 4 hours, decided it was shit, uninstalled.

          Waited in vain for a high-res patch to fix the ugly ass thing, no such thing ever appeared. Carmack said "Yeah, we'll bring one out". Now that the game is all but forgotten someone released a Twitter post or something saying "Actually, that High-Res patch, no can do."

          So small no one noticed.

          What a crock of shit.

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            April 19, 2012 3:18 PM

            Also the original Prey was a great game, finished it twice, really enjoyed it. Not a groundbreaking FPS, but a highly enjoyable one none the less.

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              April 19, 2012 4:08 PM


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              April 19, 2012 6:42 PM

              Yeah, I don't think Prey gets enough love. It was a lot of fun, felt unique to me, and I really liked the characters, setting, atmosphere and even the story. I was really looking forward to the sequel.

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            April 19, 2012 3:25 PM

            For what it's worth, the confusion surrounding the "high-res patch":

            The "high-res" textures are already there, in a manner of speaking. I mean, the game is like 23GB installed. The issue was how the textures were presented - they tended to be dithered down to the point of being mud. A patch February enabled the ability to turn off this dithering (that might not be the right word for it) provided you had the hardware.

            It's been said the real "high-res" textures would be on the order of 150GB, so that ain't gonna happen.

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        April 20, 2012 8:52 AM

        Rage failed?

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      April 19, 2012 2:30 PM

      As much as I hate to resort to memes...I am disappoint.

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        April 19, 2012 2:37 PM

        Sometimes only a meme can capture our truest feelings.

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      April 19, 2012 2:49 PM

      Story makes some sense. Last September I saw a playable version at PAX Prime and it looked like it was on track for release at that time.

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        April 19, 2012 3:27 PM

        You can never base your expectations about how polished and close to completion a game is based on a short demo you've seen, because oftentimes, that's all there is, or far more attention has been paid to that demo than the rest of the game that currently exists.

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      April 19, 2012 3:15 PM

      This explains pretty much everything, from the cancellation rumors to the wording of beth's press release. I wonder who's working on it now?

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      April 19, 2012 3:35 PM

      So rather than keep the deal they had they'd rather stop working on it and fire a bunch of people. Who thought up that great idea.

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        April 19, 2012 3:48 PM

        Devil's advocate: if the terms of the arrangement are really bad, why would it be a good idea to keep working on it?

        Everyone seems to think the game industry is some regular, 9-5 corporate work environment. It's not.

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          April 19, 2012 4:08 PM

          Devil's advocate part two: if the terms of the arrangement are really bad, why agree to it in the first place?

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            April 19, 2012 4:10 PM

            haha, i was just going to post this

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            April 19, 2012 4:13 PM

            was thinking the same thing as i read the story.

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            April 19, 2012 4:20 PM

            Good point, although part of the answer might be that they weren't too smart when they took the deal and now that they wised up they decided to do something about it.

            But it's also entirely possible that Bethesda is in the right here and Human Head are just being greedy or something. My point was that the anger over "fire a bunch of people" is based on the assumption that the game industry is a normal industry when it comes to labor practices. It's not. That's why most people bail before they hit 40.

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            April 20, 2012 5:16 AM

            Devil's advocate part three: the terms they wanted to negotiate were most likely the penalties associated with a big delay from there expected completion window. They probably found themselves far behind where they thought they would be in Nov and could tell they would need an extended delay to finish it. Instead of eat whatever penalties were in their contract they tried to renegotiate.

            That's my guess anyway...

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      April 19, 2012 4:14 PM

      Sooooo time to release it under a new name and drop all this Prey nonsense? :D

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      April 19, 2012 4:18 PM

      And then Bethesda lied through their teeth about quality standards.

      What a joke, these companies are disgusting.

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      April 19, 2012 6:11 PM

      So are Human Head still involved at all? Or are they being replaced?

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      April 19, 2012 11:33 PM

      I bet everyone on that dev team has at least 5yrs more experience than whatever "manager" is making this decision. Leave the making of the game to the professionals and stay out of the way. You'll get a chance to share in the profits soon enough. Besides, if you hand it over to another dev and then it's STILL not successful, you have that many more people you have to share the lack of money with.

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