Prey 2 scuttled by Bethesda buy-out attempt – rumour

Wednesday, 5th June 2013 23:45 GMT By Brenna Hillier

It looks like Prey 2 developer Human Head has moved on to a new project, and whispers suggest a strong-arm attempt at a buy-out is what soured its relationship with publisher Bethesda.

Multiple anonymous sources told IGN that Bethesda backed Human Head into a corner with a contract which blocked it from developing any other projects, but declaring itself unsatisfied with the work produced so far.

When Human Head ran out of money to fund further development, the sources alleged, Bethesda swooped to the rescue with an offer to to buy the financially floundering studio.

“It was one of few studios that could work with and improve id Technology. They wanted to buy us at a sweet price,” one source said.

But Human Head wasn’t interested, the source added, being quite put off by Bethesda’s tactics.

After that, the rumour continues, Human Head simply stopped working on the game, occasionally sending Bethesda offers it considered reasonable, which the publisher did not reply to. Eventually, the contract between the two companies expired. Industry buzz suggests Arkane Studios has taken over from Human Head to finish the sci-fi shooter.

The rumour paints Bethesda in quite an unpleasant light – but even if it is completely accurate, there’s no telling what state the project was in when the publisher began playing hardball. Human Head seems pretty convinced it was awesome, though.

Through the whole Prey 2 rumour whirlwind, Bethesda has not made any comment on the subject of Human Head’s reported departure and replacement, saying only that development was not smooth and release was delayed as a result.

Meanwhile, Human Head definitely appears to have moved on to other projects; both IGN’s sources and a LinkedIn screengrab doing the rounds today suggest the developer has a new open-world game on the go, set in a European city, for a different publisher. It also announced a sequel to Rune.

Thanks, Dark, AllGamesBeta.



  1. YoungZer0

    You motherfucking greedy pieces of shit.

    Absolutely disgusting display of abuse of power.

    I feel ashamed for having bought Skyrim. That was my last Bethesda game. How can anybody in their right mind do that to a developer? If it wasn’t for those fuckers we could’ve had Prey 2 last year! We could’ve had a great game it would have sold millions which would earn THEM money.

    Unfucking believable. Complete and utter insanity. Who the fuck was responsible for this?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. manamana

    Think of Free Radical and SWBF3, take a deep breath and just hope that it’ll ever come to light …

    #2 2 years ago
  3. harr0w

    its a complete travesty what happened to humanhead and prey 2. Bethesda are totally boycotted scum. And it pains me even to talk about free radical. This is what happens when corporate arseholes interfere with the dev process. C*%TS

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Phoenixblight


    No one messed with the Dev process. Bethesda wanted to buy out HH, they said no. HH annoyed by the attempt to be bought out tries to buy the IP back, Bethesda never responds. HH lets the contract expire and moves on. Its just the normal corporate political bullshit.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DSB

    Nobody really knows what happened, and as long as the sources remain anonymous, it’s impossible to tell fact from fiction.

    You would think that Bethesda would know better than to release a standardized statement that at least in part corroborates Human Heads outline of events, but apparently the Bethesda PR department isn’t very bright.

    I will say that Bethesdas story rings a little hollow. This is the publisher that allowed RAGE to come to market. Clearly their standards ain’t that high.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. ps3fanboy

    I will not buy a Bethesda game ever again! Bethesda can go to hell!!!1

    #6 2 years ago
  7. TheWulf

    Bethesda shafts another developer, news at eleven.

    Remember the utter bullshit they pulled with New Vegas? They based most of the profits that Obsidian would receive on it getting a Metacritic rating of 85 — New Vegas got 84, and that allowed Bethesda to completely opt out of giving them most of their profits. Bethesda could have said “Well, 84 is close enough!” and given them the funds they rightly deserve but…

    Well, we all know that Bethesda are a big old pile of douchenozzles at this point, don’t we?

    This is after threatening Notch with a lawsuit due to the use of ‘Scrolls,’ which they only backed down from because they saw that public opinion was against them. And after the release of the aforementioned Rage, which was an utterly humongous mess.

    And now this thing with Human Head? I wouldn’t mind taking it further and assuming that Bethesda ‘postponed’ development to try to convince Human Head to accept the buyout. Human Head refused and just sat on the postponed status, waiting for their contract to run out. With the contract done, they moved on. And Prey 2 was dropped on a very unfortunate Arkane.

    Bethesda is nothing but a pile of inept, political bullshit of late. I honestly have a lower opinion of them than EA right now, and that’s saying something.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. harr0w

    @4 that’s one part of a larger story. Bethesda holding back money and extended dev time. Contractual promises that were never met. Contracts are signed then berhesda begin to sabotage the project because they cant muscle buy humanheads. This all leads to the death of prey 2 as we know it.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Tavarish

    @7 Don’t forget that according rumors they choked life out of Arkane and then swooped in for rescue and Arkane kneeled.

    This was during Dishonored development and rumor was that Bethesda kept changing milestones so Arkane couldn’t meet them and hence Bethesda wouldn’t need to pay anything. This put Arkane into financial hardship and Bethesda just picked up parts.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. MisterNobody

    Did the thought that Prey 2 might have been -sub- RAGE levels of bad?

    I think it’s pretty suspicious that we never saw any gameplay videos, no meaningful demos released to the press, or even any new screenshots in the last two years, way before any of these accusations are coming around.

    The first Prey was rebuilt something like five times because of constant reworking. Something tells me we were getting into similar territory, and the person from Human Head defending the years of work they put into this project is doing just that; defending their work, so they can get hired without much fuss on their next project.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. The_Red

    If the Prey 2 was only that CG demo, I could have accept Bethesda’s word but the very fact that the game was demoed LIVE on both GameSpot and IGN stages with a stunning and fully realized level / world section, shows that the team wasn’t some super lazy, behind the schedule group.

    In short, Bethesda can go fuck themselves with their crappy and buggy engines that are worth less than a frame of Prey 2 combined.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. KineticCalvaria

    I will not be buying any more Bethesda games ever again! Until the next Elder Scrolls anyway…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. El_MUERkO

    Bethesda could of had my money for Prey 2. Now I won’t buy another one of their games. Blacklisted, I hope the Elder Turd Online bankrupts them.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. roadkill

    And THIS is why piracy thrives! Hoaah!

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Beta

    Not impressed with Bethesda at all.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. The_Red

    As much as I want to see the Bethesda higher ups suffer for this, I don’t think it’s fair to wish bankruptcy for the whole thing, specially the talented artists and designers. Now, I am NOT a Bethesda fanboy. I (mostly) dislike their Fallout 3 and pretty much hate their post-Morrowind TES games but this has more to do with the assholes that control the company and less with the many, many people who actually work on their games.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DSB

    @10 It did occur to me, which is why I’m pretty clear in saying we don’t know what’s what here.

    In terms of circumstancial evidence though, Bethesda doesn’t have a great reputation, their PR is obviously asleep at the wheel, and they’ve released plenty of shoddy work over the years.

    Personally I like proof a lot more than rumors, and I don’t believe that all devs are perfect angels that never do anything wrong. It could be that Human Head dropped the ball, but my gut tells me they’re closer to the truth on this one.

    #17 2 years ago

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