Prey 2

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This article is about the cancelled sequel to Prey (2006 video game). For the upcoming 2017 game, see Prey (2017 video game).
Prey 2
Prey 2 stock cover.jpg
Developer(s) Human Head Studios
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks
Director(s) Chris Rhinehart
Designer(s)
Programmer(s) Paul MacArthur
Artist(s)
  • James Sumwalt
  • Randy Redetzke
Writer(s) Jason L Blair
Composer(s)
Engine id Tech 4
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) Cancelled
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Prey 2 was a unreleased first-person shooter video game published by Bethesda Softworks. It would have been the sequel to the 2006 video game Prey.

Though the sequel to Prey was announced by 3D Realms in 2006, development work at Human Head Studios did not begin in earnest until 2009, after the rights for Prey had transferred from 3D Realms ultimately to ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda. Bethesda formally announced their title in early 2011, which revealed a change of the player's main character and of gameplay to a more open world game. Human Head quietly ceased development on the game in late 2011 for unstated reasons despite having progressed to a near alpha release state. Subsequently, several industrial rumors circulated that Prey 2 had been canceled or changed developers, including evidence that Arkane Studios had taken over development. Bethesda formally canceled the game in 2014, stating it was not meeting their expectations. Later in 2016, Bethesda announced that a reboot of the franchise, Prey, was set for release in 2017 and was under development by Arkane, who had taken the concepts and thematic elements of Prey but scrapped any previous work that had been done by Human Head.

Plot[edit]

The story of Prey 2 was to focus on U.S. Marshal Killian Samuels, who starts the game on a passenger flight which suddenly crashes onto the Sphere (the crash is shown in the original Prey). At the end of a short battle with some aliens he is knocked unconscious, after which the plot jumps forward several years. Samuels is now a bounty hunter on the alien world Exodus. Though he is aware of his profession and has retained his skills, he has no memory of what happened in the time that passed since his abduction.[1] He initially believes himself to be the only human on Exodus until he runs into Domasi "Tommy" Tawodi (the protagonist of the original Prey), whom he has apparently met in the period he no longer remembers.[2] Killian then resumes his bounty hunter activities while recovering his memory.

Development under 3D Realms/Radar Group[edit]

The first Prey game was released in July 2006; it had been developed by Human Head Studios, under contract with 3D Realms, and published by 2K Games. The game was considered successful; it had received Metacritic aggregate scores of 83 and 79 for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows versions, respectively,[3] and by October 2006, over one million units had been sold according to 3D Realms' Scott Miller.[4] Miller announced as early as August 2006 that development on a sequel, Prey 2, had started.[5]

In June 2007, Miller co-founded a brand-management organization Radar Group, which was designed to help fledging development studios bring their games to publishers and distributors. Prey 2 was one of three titles that Radar Group announced it was backing in March 2008, along with Earth No More and Incarnate.[6] At this point, Prey 2 was described to be a narrative sequel to Prey. In the game, Tommy abandons Earth as he is accused of the disappearance of his family and his girlfriend. At this point in development, Prey 2 would have continued to be a first-person shooter using the portal/gravity-based gameplay as from the original game.[6]

During 2009, the rights to the Prey trademark changed hands; in June, 3D Realms transferred the trademark to Radar Group, who subsequently transferred it, ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, by July. GameSpot noted that these events occurred shortly after ZeniMax's acquisition of id Software in June 2009. That September, ZeniMax files several additional trademark applications for the Prey name associated with video games.[7][8]

According to Human Head's associate producer Matt Bisenius, all the previous work on the game up to its acquisition by ZeniMax/Bethesda was "bouncing ideas around", believing 3D Realms/Radar Group had announced this sequel too early.[9] As they started more in-depth planning and development for the game, the team came to an idea of a bounty hunter, and decided to take the core ideas from Prey while providing a game with more activities for the player do, partially inspired by the then-recent release of Red Dead Redemption. Bisenius noted that "We didn't look at Prey 1 and pick out mistakes as much as look at it and pick out the core themes of Prey."[9]

Development under Bethesda[edit]

Bethesda re-announced Prey 2 in March 2011 for a planned 2012 release. Human Head Studios would continue to be the developer of this game. The announced game had several major changes from what had been described before while it was under development at 3D Realms/Radar Group, including the game in gameplay style as an open world game, and the shift of narrative from Tommy to Killian. Though the team had access to the newer id Tech 5 engine, they had been working since 2009 on a modified id Tech 4 engine that they opted to retain that engine.[9][10] Project lead Chris Rhinehart said "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."[11] According to Pete Hines, the vice president of public relations and marketing at Bethesda, the current version of the game is what the developers wanted to make and not what has been announced before by the Radar Group.[12]

For unstated reasons, Human Head had quietly stopped development of Prey 2 near the end of 2011, after having spent about two years of development on the title. Rhinehart said that at this point, "It was very close to an alpha state, with all major content pieces represented," and that they were at the point where they as developer would start working more closer with the publisher to determine what elements to keep or trim to progress further. Norm Nazaroff of Human Head believed they had added much more content and technical innovations to the title, as to make it "one of the best looking games of the [then-current] console generation".[13]

In March 2012, rumors of Prey 2's cancellation began to circle; neither ZeniMax or Bethesda commented on this rumor.[14][15][16] Instead, in the following month, they stated the game was would be delayed, and fail to make the 2012 release, though no new release window was given. Bethesda stated "the game's development [had] not progressed satisfactorily", and "the game [did] not currently meet [their] quality standards".[17] Further concerns were raised when Bethesda removed Prey 2 from their website in August 2012, stating to Eurogamer that for the present they need to focus the site on upcoming titles.[18]

Kotaku reported in May 2013 that development of Prey 2 had moved to the Austin, Texas division of Arkane Studios, who at the time were completing their work on Dishonored. Kotaku's report claimed that the change of developer resulted from a split between Bethesda and Human Head in late 2011, and Bethesda had been "shopping around" for a developer to pick up the title. Among those that had been rumored to be considered included Obsidian Entertainment, who were said to have worked on the title for a few months, and Rebellion Developments, who refused the offer.[19] Arkane, Bethesda or ZeniMax did not comment on this information at this time, but Hines denied rumors of Arkane's involvement in early August 2013.[20] However, a week after this, several internal emails from Arkane revealed that they had been approved to work on Prey 2, which they wanted to mold as a spiritual successor to System Shock. To this, Arkane scrapped all of the previous work by Human Head for their vision of the game.[21][22][23][24] Neither Arkane or Bethesda commented to this reports.[21]

Cancellation[edit]

In October 2014, during PAX Australia, Bethesda officially cancelled Prey 2. Hines stated, “It was a 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. 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. It's a franchise we still believe we can do something with — we just need to see what that something is."[25][26] Tim Gerritsen, business development director at Human Head Studios, said, "While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to deliver our vision of the game, we remain proud of our work on the franchise, which we feel speaks for itself, including the award-winning presentation of the game at E3 2011. We enjoyed working with the many talented people at Bethesda, and we wish them all the best of luck with any future plans they may have for the franchise."[27]

Reboot[edit]

Bethesda announced at their press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 in June that they would be publishing a reboot of Prey, also titled Prey to be developed by Arkane Studios. This game will not use any of the materials developed for Prey 2, outside of the IP and the franchise concepts. Arkane Studios CEO and director Raphaël Colantonio said that at the time of completing Dishonored, they sought to do a second project alongside Dishonored 2, one that was "in first-person, with depth and simulation and narration", and that they opted to use the Prey narrative as it matched these thematic concepts well, but otherwise greatly different in gameplay.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prey 2 Preview: Alien sequel". Joystiq. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Prey 2 Story Introduction Interview HD". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Prey - Reviews, Articles, People, Trailers and more at Metacritic - Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Prey sells 1 million worldwide, 3D Realms reaffirms Prey 2". Videogamesblogger.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Next-Gen People: Scott Miller". next-gen.biz. Edge. 9 August 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Roper, Chris (17 March 2008). "Radar Group Announced". IGN. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  7. ^ McElroy, Justin (8 September 2009). "Zenimax picks up 'Prey' trademark". Joystiq. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  8. ^ Thorsen, Tor (8 September 2009). "Prey IP acquired by id/Bethesda parent ZeniMax?". GameSpot. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c D Deesing, Jonathan (18 April 2011). "Prey 2 producer on taking new direction, with 'capable' id Tech 4". Joystiq. Engadget. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Rosenberg, Adam (14 March 2011). "'Prey 2' Bringing An 'Open, Alien World' For A 2012 Release From Bethesda Softworks". Multiplayerblog.mtv. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Sinicki, Joe (22 February 1999). "Prey 2 will surprise you". Blastmagazine.com. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Twitter / Pete Hines: It's worth clarifying that". Twitter. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. It's worth clarifying that this Prey 2 is not what was announced before by anyone else. This is the Prey 2 Human Head wanted to make. 
  13. ^ Batchelor, James (7 April 2015). "Life after Prey 2: How Human Head recovered from cancellation". Develop. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  14. ^ Senior, Tom (26 March 2012). "Prey 2 feared cancelled". PC Gamer. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Dutton, Fred (23 March 2012). "Prey 2 cancelled – report • News •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Bethesda won't deny Prey 2 cancellation rumours". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Cullen, Johnny (19 April 2012). "Bethesda: Prey 2 not canned, but it won't make 2012". VG247. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  18. ^ Purchese, Robert (20 August 2012). "Why Prey 2 was removed from Bethesda's website". Eurogamer. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Schreier, Jason (31 May 2013). "We Hear The People Behind Dishonored Are Now Working On Prey 2". Kotaku. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  20. ^ Grayson, Nathan (2 August 2013). "Bethesda Talks Prey 2, Denies Arkane Involvement". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Schreier, Jason (15 August 2013). "Leaked E-mails Suggest Bethesda Misled Gamers About Prey 2". Kotaku. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  22. ^ O'Brien, Lucy (15 August 2013). "Report: Arkane is making Prey 2 after all". IGN. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  23. ^ Mallory, Jordan (15 August 2013). "Report: Prey 2 reboot in development at Arkane Austin". Joystiq. Engadget. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  24. ^ Walker, John (15 August 2015). "The Smell Of Bullshit: Arkane ARE Making Prey 2". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  25. ^ Murillo, Edwin (31 October 2014). "Prey 2 has been officially cancelled, Bethesda confirms". Gamer Headlines. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  26. ^ Healey, Nick (30 October 2014). "Bethesda confirms Prey 2 cancelled". CNET. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  27. ^ Martin, Matt (3 November 2014). "Human Head "proud" of its work on cancelled Prey 2". VG247. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  28. ^ Pereria, Chris (8 August 2016). "Prey Dev Explains Why It's Named After an Unrelated Series". GameSpot. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 

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