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.