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Bethesda Says Prey 2 Isn't Canceled, Also Isn't Coming Out This Year

Publisher cites quality issues as the reason for delay, and is frankly pretty mean about it.

No Blade Runner-esque space bounty hunting for you! For a while, at least.

Rumors had been churning a couple of weeks back that Prey 2, the Human Head-developed sci-fi bounty hunting game that more or less shocked everyone by being a game called Prey 2 that looked legitimately awesome, had been quietly canceled. The rumor mill had been churning even earlier than that, as multiple Prey 2-related presentations, including one at this year's GDC, had been canceled very much at the last minute with no explanation.

Well, we can put the rumors to rest today, as Bethesda has announced in no uncertain terms that development of Prey 2 is still very much ongoing. However, the game will not meet its original 2012 release date, either.

Here is Bethesda's entire statement on the subject.

Development of 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.

Yikes. Am I the only one reading a little bit of pointed hostility in that statement? Not trying to start any mess, but it's exceedingly rare for a publisher to make definitive quality statements regarding a project still in the works. And even when they do, they're usually qualified by a lot of flowery, supportive language, with phrases like "we're very excited about the potential ____ has to offer" or "we believe this extra development time will help make ____ into the best in class blah blah blah." Frankly, this is as close as I've seen to a publisher publicly reading a developer the riot act in, well, ever.

Whatever the case, Human Head Studios is presumably still hard at work on Prey 2 for the foreseeable future (I'm only guessing, since the release doesn't mention a shift in development duties), and Bethesda still plans to make good on its "substantial investment." Maybe there's nothing to worry about right now. However, if we start reading about a sudden influx of Human Head employees suffering brutal kneecap injuries--after all, you don't need knees to write code--maybe we should start worrying again.

Alex Navarro on Google+
162 Comments
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Posted by buzz_killington

Bet you there will be a developer switch. Probably id or someone internal is going to finish it off. Else, Human Head wouldn't be talking about a Ruin Kickstarter.

Posted by TheHT

Well that's good news. That official response is a bit worrying, at least before it gets reassuring.

Posted by RetroVirus

It's a shame that they've been having some trouble with development, but the fact that they're going to improve on it is heartening. Prey 2 was my most anticipated game of this year, and I hope this extra time serves it well.

Posted by NegativeCero

Kind of a dick move not addressing this sooner. I'm glad though.

Posted by thesage

Oh thank god, this game still exists.

I kind of hate their statement though. Too be honest all their triple A games have always had problems even though they're good games, and they've released some pretty bad games that had high potential. Though I did have a lot of fun with Brink for the 3 days I had it as a rental, I think it failed to meet anyone's expectations.

Hopefully Prey 2 doesn't mess up like Brink

Posted by cannonballBAM

@allworkandlowpay said:

@joku2002 said:

@gorkamorkaorka said:

Has Bethesda ever published a good game?

Skyrim was pretty awesome

I might be wrong, but I think he's talking non-Bethesda Softworks developed properties.

Bethesda as a publisher hasn't had a great track record. Besides New Vegas, which was developed by Obsidian, and pretty great, most of their other published titles haven't been critically well received:

  • Hunted: Demons Forge wasn't great.
  • Star Trek: Legacy was the epitome of untapped potential
  • Brink was pretty meh.
  • Rogue Warrior was just flat out bad.
  • Wet had a great idea that went nowhere
  • RAGE was a love it or hate it game.

Wet was a great game that wasn't up to generation standards, it would of been something that would of been substantial during the PS2 generation. I am hoping to just see a release of Prey 2, but to be honest I was hoping it would be its own IP considering how strong of a concept it is on its own.

Edited by fisk0

@rebgav said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

Good on Bethesda. Don't rush it out just to meet your quarterly returns. Make sure the game is fucking done and ready to be shipped. You know, early on I wasn't sure about Bethesda turning the publisher route, but I have high hopes with this type of action.

All of this.

BethSoft have published a bunch of non-BGS games which were really ambitious but ultimately rubbish (except for RAGE, which was pretty great.) If curb-stomping a developer on a crowded street corner is what it takes to get them to deliver on the promise of their game then I think I'm okay with that. Coddling their devs has not worked, I'm interested to see what comes of the ultra-violence route.

Still, their statement wasn't all that harsh, so there is potential for improvement.

I wonder how much is the developers and how much is Bethesda as a publisher. It'll be interesting to see how Wasteland 2 turns out, as it sounded like Brian Fargo was really dissatisfied with how Bethesda treated the Hunted: The Demon's Forge development. He certainly has a history of making fantastic games (but, like Bethesda's titles, they have often been quite buggy), but also hasn't been all that much in the spotlight for the past decade. I'm looking forward to see how he'll do more or less on his own without publisher interference, whether that was unreasonable deadlines and meddling or strict quality standards.

Posted by qraham

I have no experience with the Prey franchise, but word on the street is that Prey 2 has literally no relation to the first game right? Everything about this game seems interesting but weird. This press release definitely seems...charged.

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair
@Ketchupp

Apparently the game needs a lot more bugs. Also, the statement didn't seem hostile at all to me.

@ShadowConqueror
That statement doesn't seemed hostile or pointed to me at all. Sure it's not as supportive of the team as it could have been, but it seems fine to me.
@KoolAid

What is hostile about this? This seems positive to me.

This is a press release about a negative topic with no spin. Literally ZERO spin.

Go and read any release about anything bad; go on, I'll wait.

See what I mean? As Alex references in the article, companies always spin negatives to have some sort of positive outcome/silver lining/bright side/whatever.

The lack of that here, especially when Bethesda don't have a track record of releases like this, means that this is essentially the PR equivalent of publicly saying "get your fucking act together."

Posted by jakob187

@Wiseblood said:

Doesn't meet their quality standards? So Prey 2 currently isn't as good as Rogue Warrior? Yikes.

My first thought as well.

Posted by Vitor
Posted by Superfriend

Beth as a publisher: pretty bad. As a developer (BGS) pretty damn awesome.

Well, I hope this game will eventually find its way to store shelves. Maybe it can even keep some of the promises that the absolutely superb first presentation made. Bounty huntin´ in space sounds freaking awesome. Make a good game out of that!

Posted by zoozilla
Posted by ThePickle

@Euey said:

@Wiseblood: Yeah or WET or Brink or Rage...

Learning from past mistakes maybe? There's a lot more positive buzz surrounding this game than Rogue Warrior or WET and a bad Prey 2 would be devastating for Bethesda.

Posted by Korolev

As others have said - rare for Bethesda to delay something. I guess they are finally setting some tougher standards on what they publish.

I generally like what Bethesda makes - and I though Skyrim was pretty decent and bug free when it first came out. But they have been known to make/publish some pretty incomplete games. The original state of Fallout New Vegas was awful - they might not have developed it, but they released it.

WET and Brink were also pretty poor, and they were published. Maybe Bethesda have had enough with publishing bad games. Or maybe Prey 2 is just really in a bad way right now. Human Head studios aren't exactly known for being able to work to a schedule, you know.

It's been 6 years since the Original Prey. I wonder if that will turn into 10 years.

Posted by Hells

Good for Bethesda.

Its a dual message to the fans and the developers. They are looking out for the best interest of the fans (potential buyers) by not rushing a product to market they aren't satisfied with, while also sending a message to the Dev team to get their fucking act together or their futures with Bethesda will be grim.

Posted by selbie

*heart resumes beating*

Edited by L44

Delayed so as to be a next gen launch title, maybe?

Edited by TeenageJesusSuperstar

Normally more development time is a good thing, but this reads much less like "it's done when it's done" than it does "this game was overly ambitious and consumers are suckers so it wasn't worth our while". Kinda a bummer, hope the game makes it through. But if not, I guess there's always Dishonored.

Posted by Hunter5024

I like how you write news Alex.

Posted by xyzygy

Excellent news. Although the original had it's flaws I really liked it, partially because they were bold enough to heavily include Native culture and traditions. I thought it was neat.

Posted by odezma

It's their way of reminding us of this games coming in the future even if it brings one of the oldest tricks to the net with the canceled rumor mill of bullshit time and time again. Movie studios use many of the same tactics. Bethesda closing the studio working on the game would make it more believable.

Edited by Beaudacious

Um where was this announcement for Rage, Hunted, Brink, Rogue Warrior basically every single Bethesda game?

Bethesda is one publisher that really has no right to talk about standards for quality assurance, cause they don't have any. Freaking laughable.

Edit: Confused Softworks

Posted by Xpgamer7

Whew, I was really really scared it had been scrapped and the assets planned to be repurposed later. Even if it means the game isn't coming out soon I'm much happier with this than cancellation.

Posted by hoossy

Alex, I think you are reading too much into things...

Posted by allworkandlowpay

@cannonballBAM: Uhm, almost any game would be great or even groundbreaking if you go back for enough. That's hardly a good excuse. It was a substandard game that had a good premise but failed to deliver everywhere where it was important.

Posted by jakkblades

@Beaudacious said:

Um where was this announcement for Rage, Hunted, Brink, Rogue Warrior basically every single Bethesda game?

Bethesda is one publisher that really has no right to talk about standards for quality assurance, cause they don't have any. Freaking laughable.

Edit: Confused Softworks

Rage has no place on this list.

Posted by ajamafalous

So stoked. I was gutted when the rumors started that Prey 2 was cancelled. Honestly one of the few games I'm actively looking forward to.

Posted by Triumvir

@rebgav:

Now that is pretty damn interesting rumor. It could explain a lot. Thanks for heads-up, man.

Posted by Andy_117

@jakkblades said:

@Beaudacious said:

Um where was this announcement for Rage, Hunted, Brink, Rogue Warrior basically every single Bethesda game?

Bethesda is one publisher that really has no right to talk about standards for quality assurance, cause they don't have any. Freaking laughable.

Edit: Confused Softworks

Rage has no place on this list.

I don't know. I hate to say "the fans have spoken," but a 4.4 user rating on Metacritic doesn't exactly speak wonders for the game. id fans really didn't appreciate Rage at all.

Posted by dvorak

@Hunter5024 said:

I like how you write news Alex.

Yeah me too. Actual useful analysis. SHOCKING!

Posted by magus213

Considering Bethesda put out Rogue Warrior, I'm not sure they're in any position to start talking qualitative mess...

Posted by VTheSystemV

I liked Brink the first time around just playing the levels. But the online connectivity was dire, and that was what the game was for! Anything by Bethesda that isn't Elder Scrolls or Fallout I am skeptical about. But Prey 2's trailer looked brilliant, was looking forward to this!

Posted by cannonballBAM

@allworkandlowpay said:

@cannonballBAM: Uhm, almost any game would be great or even groundbreaking if you go back for enough. That's hardly a good excuse. It was a substandard game that had a good premise but failed to deliver everywhere where it was important.

That is a hefty statement to make, considering if anything would be groundbreaking and the failure of titles like Cold Fear and Advent Rising to be testaments to not everything being a success. The only reason I relate it to that generation is it suffered from the same issue Stranglehold did as well. The genre and game play wasn't evolved far enough to really differentiate itself from just a higher resolution version of Dead to Rights, Max Payne or any other bullet time 3rd person shooter . The major artistic or innovative force the game had going for it, was its love of Rockabilly music, psych out moments (which mirrored Suda 51's roulette enhancer from No More Heroes) and heavy handed quick time events. I really enjoyed the 360 directional control of bullet time slide and dive techniques but rather too much ado its grind-house sub genre didn't save the dated mechanics and concept. But I agree the game was a complete failure to current generation standards.

Edited by Pseudonymous

Oh well... Better late than never. Atleast I'll have Hitman Absolution to play in the meantime, unless that gets pushed back to 2013 too. Happy Four-Twenty!! (To those who celebrate it...*puff*)

Posted by Sweetz

Well their harsh diction makes a lot more sense now, provided this proves to be true

For those that want the synopsis: rumor is that Human Head stopped working on the game in November 2011 in an attempt to jockey for a better contract. Negotiations fell apart, Zenimax decided to stop dealing with them, and it seems likely the game is going to be handed to another studio now.

This is all from an "unidentified source" though, so grain of salt and whatnot.

Posted by jakkblades

@Andy_117 said:

@jakkblades said:

@Beaudacious said:

Um where was this announcement for Rage, Hunted, Brink, Rogue Warrior basically every single Bethesda game?

Bethesda is one publisher that really has no right to talk about standards for quality assurance, cause they don't have any. Freaking laughable.

Edit: Confused Softworks

Rage has no place on this list.

I don't know. I hate to say "the fans have spoken," but a 4.4 user rating on Metacritic doesn't exactly speak wonders for the game. id fans really didn't appreciate Rage at all.

Did you play it?

Posted by xite

@allworkandlowpay said:

@xite said:

What's everyone's problem with Prey? It had some legitimately interesting mechanics and level design.

I actually loved it. Just the last few levels were pretty meeeh. I felt like it was a successor to Quake, honestly.

I agree. It's probably the only fps since Quake to pull off abstract level design. Also it looked great for the time fuck the haters.

Posted by Meptron

I'm guessing that by "quality standards", Bethesda means that the game needs to crash every 10 min on the PS3?

Edited by MrKlorox

That didn't look mean in the slightest. Perhaps a little blunt, but I prefer it to coded corporate speak.
 
edit: How dare you make knee injury references in a Bethesda article? Have you no shame?

Posted by mordukai

@ajamafalous said:

So stoked. I was gutted when the rumors started that Prey 2 was cancelled. Honestly one of the few games I'm actively looking forward to.

I think you should read the link below.

@rebgav said:

@odezma said:

It's their way of reminding us of this games coming in the future even if it brings one of the oldest tricks to the net with the canceled rumor mill of bullshit time and time again. Movie studios use many of the same tactics. Bethesda closing the studio working on the game would make it more believable.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-19-prey-2-developer-hasnt-worked-on-the-game-since-november-report

Zeni Max are just one example of this type of corporate bullshit. No wonder 3rd party developers are closing left and right. Look at what they did to Obsidian. They knowingly published an unfinished game because the suits needed their quarterly bonuses. Then did not give Obsidian a bonus because of one fucking point even tough the game made them well over 300 million dollars of profit. Bravo. I wonder how much of it was used on the QA for PS3 version of Skyrim. I also love how Metacritic wash their hands when shit like this happens.

They bleed the developer dry, then squeeze every cent they can from the consumers with online passes, micro transactions, and day one DLC. No wonder studios jump on the offer to be owned by a major publisher. Who the fuck wants to deal with that crap.

Posted by ajamafalous
@mordukai said:

@ajamafalous said:

So stoked. I was gutted when the rumors started that Prey 2 was cancelled. Honestly one of the few games I'm actively looking forward to.

I think you should read the link below.

@rebgav said:

@odezma said:

It's their way of reminding us of this games coming in the future even if it brings one of the oldest tricks to the net with the canceled rumor mill of bullshit time and time again. Movie studios use many of the same tactics. Bethesda closing the studio working on the game would make it more believable.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-19-prey-2-developer-hasnt-worked-on-the-game-since-november-report

Zeni Max are just one example of this type of corporate bullshit. No wonder 3rd party developers are closing left and right. Look at what they did to Obsidian. They knowingly published an unfinished game because the suits needed their quarterly bonuses. Then did not give Obsidian a bonus because of one fucking point even tough the game made them well over 300 million dollars of profit. Bravo. I wonder how much of it was used on the QA for PS3 version of Skyrim. I also love how Metacritic wash their hands when shit like this happens.

They bleed the developer dry, then squeeze every cent they can from the consumers with online passes, micro transactions, and day one DLC. No wonder studios jump on the offer to be owned by a major publisher. Who the fuck wants to deal with that crap.

Well fuuuuuuck.
Posted by Max_Cherry

That statement is just how I like it. Concise and to the point.

Posted by BlackLagoon

@mordukai said:

Zeni Max are just one example of this type of corporate bullshit.

[...]

They bleed the developer dry, then squeeze every cent they can from the consumers with online passes, micro transactions, and day one DLC. No wonder studios jump on the offer to be owned by a major publisher. Who the fuck wants to deal with that crap.

Brian Fargo doesn't seem particularly pleased with working under ZeniMax for Hunted: the Demon's Forge either, saying he "didn't have real control" of the project (which ironically has a big "A Brian Fargo game" in the opening credits).

Posted by 1337W422102

Bethy sounds really butthurt in that paragraph of theirs.

Posted by ThePantheon

Nothing wrong with Bethesda in trying to protect their brand. They picked up Prey 2, and want to make sure it meets expectations ESPECIALLY compared to their other big titles.

And thank FUCK Prey 2 hasn't been cancelled. Noir sci-fi with a bit of Mirror's Edge? God yes please.

Edited by loopy_101

@mordukai said:

@ajamafalous said:

So stoked. I was gutted when the rumors started that Prey 2 was cancelled. Honestly one of the few games I'm actively looking forward to.

I think you should read the link below.

@rebgav said:

@odezma said:

It's their way of reminding us of this games coming in the future even if it brings one of the oldest tricks to the net with the canceled rumor mill of bullshit time and time again. Movie studios use many of the same tactics. Bethesda closing the studio working on the game would make it more believable.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-19-prey-2-developer-hasnt-worked-on-the-game-since-november-report

Zeni Max are just one example of this type of corporate bullshit. No wonder 3rd party developers are closing left and right. Look at what they did to Obsidian. They knowingly published an unfinished game because the suits needed their quarterly bonuses. Then did not give Obsidian a bonus because of one fucking point even tough the game made them well over 300 million dollars of profit. Bravo. I wonder how much of it was used on the QA for PS3 version of Skyrim. I also love how Metacritic wash their hands when shit like this happens.

They bleed the developer dry, then squeeze every cent they can from the consumers with online passes, micro transactions, and day one DLC. No wonder studios jump on the offer to be owned by a major publisher. Who the fuck wants to deal with that crap.

I wouldn't be surprised if Brink, WET and certainly RAGE only turned out to be as disappointing as they were because the studio rushed them out of the door. And let's not forget Bethesda's responsibility in turning Rogue Warrior from a tactical shooter, by Blacklight developers Zombie Studios, to a run-of-the-mill FPS by Rebellion. What the hell?

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