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Bethesda on Prey 2: 'It wasn't shaping up to be what we wanted'

Dissatisfaction with Human Head's progress on Prey's numbered sequel led Bethesda and Arkane to reboot the franchise.


After Human Head finally brought its gravity-defying shooter Prey to light in 2006, the studio broke ground on Prey 2. After that, things went south. Why? We'll never know exactly why, although the tone used by Bethesda's Pete Hines makes it clear that Human Head and publisher Bethesda didn't see eye to eye.

"I mean, honestly, it's really not that complicated," Hines told GameSpot during QuakeCon. "It hit a point where it wasn't shaping up to be what we wanted and there didn't seem to be a clear path to get to where we thought it needed to be. We decided the best thing to do was just to not proceed. That's just it."

Obviously, that's not just it. There's more, but Hines has no interest in digging up the past. "I don't want to go through and talk about stuff like, well, he said this and we said that. I want those guys [Human Head] to have every success and to not have to keep bringing up this thing. Games get canceled. It happens. Marriages go bad. It happens."

Bethesda is working with Dishonored developer Arkane Studios on a reimagining of Prey. The game was revealed at E3 this past June. Hines did give Human Head co-founder Chris Rhinehart a heads-up before Bethesda revealed Prey, out of courtesy. "Again, I want him to be able to do his job and not have to worry about explaining or defending anything. It didn't work out."

Bethesda unveiled a new trailer for Prey at this week's QuakeCon event, showing off new weapons, abilities, and environments. Prey is due for release on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 in 2017.

Unlike Prey, Quake Champions is being developed as a PC exclusive... for now, anyway.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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  • reply
    August 5, 2016 1:00 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Bethesda on Prey 2: 'It wasn't shaping up to be what we wanted'

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      August 5, 2016 1:35 PM

      Given 'what they wanted' seems to be fairly generic, I'm really disappointed. I'm sure it will be a fine game, but even just conceptually it's so inferior to the vision of Prey 2.

      Bethesda are just pissed off because they couldn't strong arm their way into buying Human Head so they set the house of fire. No wonder Hines doesn't want to "bring it up." They publish some of my favorite games these days, but man that one is going to sting forever.

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        August 5, 2016 2:40 PM

        I have trouble believing it was purely some moustache-twirling villain's evil plot. "What the wanted" could very plausibly be a question of functionality, coherence, and "fun" at certain milestones.

        You could have a situation where Bethesda has high expectations for milestones that many don't share. Human Head thinks features X, Y, and Z are good enough for the milestone ("they mostly work except when A, B, C, or D). Bethesda thinks those exceptions aren't acceptable. Human Head thinks Bethesda is being unreasonable while Bethesda think they' really just ensuring the best game possible.

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        August 5, 2016 6:26 PM

        I think it's unfair to both games if you compare the old Prey 2 and the "new Prey". They're just radically different games, and it's unfortunate that Bethesda kept the title because it invites these kinds of discussions (seriously, they should have just picked a different name).

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        August 7, 2016 8:40 AM

        The art department looks cool but i cannot stand the shadow monster nonsense.
        The aliens/species from the original prey 2 seemed so cool.

        Also, Prey 2 looked to play more like a Deus Ex rather than a "insert generic FPS here"

        Im with you on it looks fairly generic.. not so much on "im sure it will be a fine game"
        looks like a generic FPS with pretty visuals and a boring af bad guy to me.

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      August 5, 2016 2:29 PM

      Utter bullshit. The sole reason the game is cancelled is because the developer refused to sell their 15 year-old studio to litigious bully's who were actively trying to bankrupt them.

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      August 6, 2016 12:08 AM

      I'm sure Rogue Warrior shaped up to what they wanted...
      the only redeeming thing that pile of shit brewed was this

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      August 6, 2016 7:04 AM

      It's a damn shame how much of a mess that Bethesda made out of this, all over a worthless name that they were stupid enough to over-pay for. And I'm double angry for both Human Head and Arkane, as they're both the real victims here. Human Head's work getting shit-canned and their name slandered is a huge dick move. And then forcing Arkane to shoe-horn the Prey name onto whatever game they're making? Sucks. When it's all said and done, I really hope that Human Head can someday make a spiritual successor to their own Prey 2, as a big "fuck you" to Bethesda. And I also hope that Arkane's game turns out fucking awesome too.

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        August 6, 2016 7:40 AM

        I still haven't bought doom because I really hate Bethesda for that shit. Human Head is an awesome developer, and raven was too. Now it seems like they're both just outsourcing studios.

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      August 6, 2016 7:38 AM

      I wish someone would leak that game

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      August 6, 2016 8:15 AM

      They should have felt the same way about Fallout 4.

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