Pray Tell: Whatever Happened To Prey 2?

By Alec Meer on August 28th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Drowning their sorrows, in the bar they'll never leave because it might never get released

It’s terribly sad that all we seem to hear of Human Head’s ambitious, semi-free form, Blade Runner-inspired shooter Prey 2 is the occasional murky rumour and contradiction about its troubled status. Not so long ago word abounded that it had been taken down the bottom of the garden and shot by Bethesda, which after slightly too long a wait was then officially disputed. We’ve just heard the exact same song and dance again, which I shall report purely because we don’t know owt else about Prey 2′s state of play.

In a new interview with IGN’s Dutch arm, Bethesda’s Pete Hines was quoted as saying, albeit through the medium of translation, “At one point, we looked at Prey 2 and decided that in its current state, with all the money, time, and resources we put into it, it didn’t meet our expectations. So we decided to pull the plug from our end.”

Following the inevitably furore, he then took to the Twitters to dispute this, claiming that “To clarify, I didn’t say Prey 2 was canx [sic]. Gave an interview in English, translated to Dutch, translated back to English (…) simply reiterated what we’ve said previously, which is that it’s not coming out this year.”

So there you go: we still don’t really know what the real state of play is, but I just wanted to leave this story here in case you picked up the “pull the plug” quote from elsewhere but didn’t seen the subsequent denial.

I hope the game makes it, but it definitely was biting off an awful lot for what was, despite lofty ambitions, the sequel to a so-so shooter that not a whole lot of people played. I can see how that would make a high budget a hard sell for a publisher, and I would idly speculate that Bethesda feels a little burned about apparently ambitious shooters after Rage wasn’t a smash hit. Prey 2′s more flexible playstyle is a different kettle of fish entirely despite superficial similarities, and I hope whatever’s going on doesn’t entail the game’s dangly bits getting cut off and neutering it into a straight shooter.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

53 Comments »

  1. f1x says:

    One can only hope

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah, I was very much looking forward to this. I really hope it still gets released sometime.

  2. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    I loved Prey! even though it was quite linear, it looked and felt amazing, and I had a lot of fun with some of the perspective/portal work.

    Prey 2 didn’t seem to be anything like the first, but promised to scratch the gritty star wars itch, something only the Omega part in ME2 ever-so-slightly managed to do (pity they dropped any of that in ME3, but i guess it didn’t fit in with the high stakes stuff). Now that it’s gone, or been pushed further back, I hope that Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk or that 1313 Star Wars game might go in a similar direction…

    • Alien426 says:

      Hmm, I thought Remember Me or Watch Dogs might help get Prey 2 restarted. For some reason they seem more similar than Mass Effect or Star Wars 1313 to me, despite they scifi setting and aliens.

    • b136 says:

      First Prey is definitely on my list of most underrated first-person shooters, together with Bulletstorm.

      Portals, micro-planets, letting your spirit out of your body, operating small ship – the game actually has a lot to offer…

      Prey 2 looked completely different, but still very interesting.

      • werix says:

        Basically this on both counts. I thought it was a cool game with interesting gameplay mechanics and weapons. I even liked the character. While slightly racist (magical super dooper injun powers spirit guide!) it is still one of the most positive depictions of a Native American in any medium of popular entertainment.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      Shamed as i am to admit this, i played Prey on the X-bocks (a house mate’s!) and thoroughly enjoyed it within that context, especially the multi-player. For some reason it seemed to attract an entertaining array of people and i managed to squeeze hours of fun out of it. It hearkened back to the quakes in its frenetic pace and added a couple of entertaining twists here and there.

  3. Harlander says:

    It’ll be a shame if this falls through. It looked very interesting.

    I can’t help but think that the “Prey” name was more of a hindrance to success than the help from name recognition that they expected..

  4. MarigoldFleur says:

    A Prey game with a curiously long development cycle and potential vapourware status? I… can’t really say this one is surprising me, considering the first game was in development for 11 years.

    • Harlander says:

      So, Q4 2027 then?

      I’ll have to reschedule my cyberarm surgery, in that case

    • Optimaximal says:

      It wasn’t in development for 11 years, it was conceived, cancelled then restarted about 5-6 years later.

      • MarigoldFleur says:

        Leaving it in development for 6 years, which is… not really much better.

  5. Spengbab says:

    The interview says:

    “Was het moeilijk om de beslissing te nemen om de ondersteuning van Prey 2 stop te zetten? Of is dat puur business?

    Hines: Het was zakelijk en hard, maar op dat moment de juiste beslissing. Dergelijke keuzes zijn nooit leuk om te maken. Het is vreselijk jammer, maar dit soort dingen horen soms bij het werk. Helaas.”

    Translated:

    “Was is a tough decision to cancel development (Literally, it says “stop all support”, but that doesnt seem right for a title in development)? Or did the decision come from the business-side?

    Hines: It was a choice influenced by both, but at that moment the right choice. Choices like this are never easy. It’s a terrible shame, but these kind of situations come with the job, sadly.”

    Even with the most horrible of translations it seems clear that the game has been canned. Hines probably said something he wasnt supposed to and decided to proclaim his innocence via Twitter.

    • Unaco says:

      That’s the Dutch, that it was translated into from English originally… so where is the original English? He said himself, this is where the issue has arisen, because of translating from English, to Dutch, and then back to English.

      • njursten says:

        Maybe there was a translator at the interview, doing real-time translation? Though that sounds a bit weird, considering how good the Dutch are supposed to be at speaking English.

        Edit: Uh, of course the interview was done in English, which the interviewer translated to Dutch for the magazine. Doh.

        • Deathmaster says:

          As a Dutchy myself, the translation RPS is giving is accurate. One can truly doubt the lingual skills of the interviewer though. While perhaps some/most of us are pretty decent at the English language, you shouldn’t assume everyone is as awesome as me.

          *Prays he didn’t make a grammar mistake somewhere*

          However, considering the words used it’s quite hard to misinterpret whatever has been said. It’s as clear as day. Which brings me to the next point, why would they be so shady about canning a game? Is it a shame to admit that the game didn’t meet their quality standards and therefore has been cancelled?

          I personally think they decided to re-do the whole thing, with eyes on the next-gen, including the not-to-be-mentioned gaming platforms.

    • Bhazor says:

      Mine hovercraft ist full of eelz.

    • empyrion says:

      Having read the original Dutch interview and Jan Meijroos’s comments on his twitter (https://twitter.com/janmeijroos), (and being Dutch myself), I can say that they were talking about Prey 2′s suspension at this time (due to funding), not about permanently cancelling the title.

      Of course, with no one actually knowing when it will be picked up again, I would say its status may be best described as being in “Development Hell”. So sort of like the original Prey then.

  6. TsunamiWombat says:

    It’s canned. We’re not stupid. They’re just trying to avoid a stockfall.

    • PopeBob says:

      For someone who’s ostensibly not stupid, you sure do seem ignorant on the business end of Zenimax and Bethsoft. They are not publicly traded, which is probably the main reason many Bethesda games have been free of overly draconian DRM over the years (which says nothing about potential future sins). Like Valve, Bethesda trades solely on good will and fan support. And as much as many RPS readers (myself included) might hem and haw at recent Bethesda games, their business is still pretty successful without needing to pander to shareholders.

  7. Caenorhabditis says:

    Reading the dutch version, there is no way this is simply a bad translation. The interview is really clear about it being canned. Also, the author, Jan Meijroos, has always struck me as a really decent guy and jounalist. So I’m not too confident about Prey 2′s future. A shame really.

    • mrwout says:

      Indeed the dutch version is verry clear and the translation into English stated in the RPS article is spot-on. But then the problem might be the translation from the (spoken) English interview to the (written) Dutch article, but it seems really difficult to mistranslate a clear statement like that for someone who is a professional journalist.

      • Caenorhabditis says:

        Yeah, I meant the spoken English to written Dutch. I just don’t buy that this is a result of a really bad translation. One of them has to be lying through their teeth, and my money is on the VP of PR and marketing.

  8. BreadBitten says:

    Everyone does realize that this is a case of history repeating itself? If there are still people old enough to remember the development hell the original Prey had to go through, that is…

  9. Iskariot says:

    I soooo wanted this game. It is such a cool idea.

  10. HisMastersVoice says:

    So they apparently sunk a lot of money into the project and now decided investing more won’t be enough to turn a profit when it comes out? Either someone in Bethesda has poor business sense, or the game is in total shambles…

    • DuddBudda says:

      knowing when not to throw good money after bad is a sign of a savvy business mind, not a weak one

      particularly in gaming, where AAA titles can cost hundreds of millions to develop and market, but may not take one tenth of that investment if they are anything less than rapturously recieved

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        Games do not cost hundreds of millions to make, unless we’re talking CoD or Blizzard 10 year plans. They still cost a lot, sure, but not that much.

        And I’m questioning Bethesda’s business sense mostly because they did release the half baked (and apparently quite pricey development wise) RAGE but somehow managed to sink a bunch of cash into a project that cannot be salvaged and has to be scrapped. Someone wasn’t doing much quality checking it seems.

        • PopeBob says:

          Bethesda published an iD title because they trust(ed?) iD and Carmack. It’s not really a stretch of the imagination to think they jumped on the chance to work with games legends.

        • vodka and cookies says:

          You like most gamers seriously under estimate the costs of AAA gaming, not just the production costs but also the marketing costs to push a game out there, they haven’t just gone through the roof they’ve gone into orbit.

          It’s a shame Prey 2 is dead but this is why game companies are so hesitant to ever reveal anything for the fear they may have to kill it in public, so many sequels and new IP die behind closed doors.

  11. felisc says:

    What does the “x” in “canx” stand for exactly ? Is this a common way to abbreviate “ed” ? Or is this from the 80′s or something ?

    • LukeNukem says:

      Apparently it is an abbreviation of cancelled or cancellation.

  12. KaMy says:

    Does someone else thought that they may have delayed the game so that it doesn’t have to compete with Dishonored ? Both being Bethsoft produced games and Dishonored being praised by so many it would be a good strategic decision. And it would allow them to cover a hole on their release schedule for 2013.

  13. Servizio says:

    I think the sad reality is that if this ever does come out, it’s not going to look anything like the previews and demos that got me interested in the title in the first place. Games rarely seem to transition from one developer to another with their finer points intact.

  14. Xari says:

    Where can I buy Prey 1? It’s not on Steam and there is no purchase option for its page on GamersGate.

  15. ITSSEXYTIME says:

    Pretty sure people only care about this game because it had a pretty cool CG trailer and people have built up “How cool it could be” in their heads.

    Have they even showed any actual gameplay?

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      They did

    • Dervish says:

      I like how you didn’t even try to look this up but didn’t let that stop you from running your mouth.

  16. MajorManiac says:

    This is only wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be nice if they could make this game into a sort of Future-Scrolls. Similar to Fallout 3 (ie with guns) but in a huge space station. Maybe they could also use some of iD’s FPS talent to make the shooting/action bits a little more actiony.

    One can but dream…

  17. thegooseking says:

    I had a problem on my old computer. Any game above DirectX8 would start artefacting madly after a couple of minutes. It only happened under Windows (I played a lot of games on Linux because they worked fine there). It didn’t happen on my older 5200; only on my 7300s. I tried different drivers, I tried a similarly-specced graphics card from a different manufacturer (the problem looked like bad video RAM), I tried messing with the AGP settings in the BIOS, I even tried reinstalling Windows. Nothing changed. I never did figure out what the problem was (I suspect a NB problem on the motherboard, though that doesn’t really explain why it worked fine in Linux). Every game made after the year 2001 would become unplayable in the space of a few minutes.

    Except Prey. Prey worked flawlessly on this machine that couldn’t run anything else. Weird.

  18. LionsPhil says:

    You wired me awake, and hit me with a hand of broken nails.

  19. mrwonko says:

    I asked Bethesda-people at Gamescom (in the business area, no less – the only use I got out of it, sadly) and they told me it’s still in development, with new info soon-ish. Do we believe them? If not, we could just write mails to some of the developers, right?

  20. Im_Hit says:

    Well from a biz standpoint, Alec makes a lot of sense. Both Rage and Brink fell below expectations. The fear may haev been, another monosyllabic title would fall prey to the repetition of history.

    Uh oh…

  21. beema says:

    Considering the original Prey wasn’t really a huge hit, I still don’t understand why they don’t just launch this as a new IP. Bethesda has enough clout to do that these days.
    Hope this comes off the shelf sooner than later. It sounded really cool.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Apparently the uninteresting protagonist of the former game is (was?) part of the plot of this one, although frankly that seems kind of crowbarred in anyway. Extra-cyberpunk Space Precinct doesn’t really need mystical Native Americans who have rejected their heritage learning to get back in touch with their spiritual powers.

  22. Mephistoau says:

    Man i was so friggin excited for this game. I’ll be shattered if it gets completely dropped

  23. Inarborat says:

    Bethesda is really ass on the publishing side of things. We get Brink, Wet (consoles), Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, and Rogue Warrior….all games that range from horrible to slightly less horrible. Now, they’ve got something that sounds like it has fresh game mechanics and a sorely underused setting, they can it. Goddammit.

  24. Josh W says:

    Rage didn’t really strike me as that adventurous, just a more restricted but more varied borderlands 1 that was pretty if you had the right kit.

    If it was more adventurous I probably would have picked it up myself.