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-   -   Prey 2 Officially canceled! (https://forums.3drealms.com/vb/showthread.php?t=39040)

Joe Siegler 10-30-2014 11:36 PM

Prey 2 Officially canceled!



ScrewingUpMyRide 10-30-2014 11:42 PM

Prey 2 Officially Cancelled
We've known this forever despite Bethesda's constant denials but it still stings. RIP Prey 2.


Officially announced back in 2011, Prey 2 was the sequel to 2006's Prey. The story concentrated on US Marshall Killian Samuels, abducted by aliens and now working as an amnesiac bounty hunter on the alien world Exodus, struggling to remember his past.

A slick trailer caught the attention of fans but news around the title slowly dropped off and it seemed as if it was firmly in development hell.

At PAX Australia, Bethesda vice president Pete Hines has confirmed to CNET that Prey 2 is now officially cancelled.

"It was 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," Hines said.

"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's a franchise we still believe we can do something with -- we just need to see what that something is."

Rapture_Rising 10-30-2014 11:51 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
That sucks although not completely unexpected. :(

Leminur 10-31-2014 12:23 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
... Hmm. I am not sure if Duke Nukem Forever was actually canceled as well, but it feels just like it! Who knows they go back to produce it again? But damn, that is a huge loss, that is for sure! I just hope it comes back someday...

3DRealms, you know what to do!

ScrewingUpMyRide 10-31-2014 01:28 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
Gather round and listen, as I tell you a tale of the underhanded publisher Bethesda and it's sordid dealings around the game of Prey 2.

At first, it begins well. The game was being developed by Human Head, who worked on the game and released a snazzy trailer at e3 in 2011. Fans were excited, gamers were interested, and Bethesda was happy. Why wouldn't they be? Development was on track, and the project was getting positive press. Bethesda and Human Head signed an agreement giving human Head 6 months to a year to polish the game and populate it's missions. All in all, the game was set to release on time in 2012.

But weep, for it could not last.

Bethesda decided a game wasn't good enough. Bethesda decided they would much prefer to own another studio. Already having forced Human Head into a contract stating they couldn't develop any other games except Prey 2, Bethesda cut funding and asked for changes and fixes without following through on its previous promises to give the team more time. In order to keep the company afloat & meet Bethesda's ever-increasing demands for changes to Prey 2, Human Head was forced to accept work supporting development on Bioshock Infinite and Defiance.

After months of this, conflict came to a head. Human Head asked for more cash and time to finish the game. Bethesda said up yours and hid behind the original contract, despite their efforts to waylay the game. Then Bethesda went in for the kill and tried to buy Human Head. Oddly, Human Head didn't want to be owned by a company that had been bleeding them dry for months. Our heroic development company made it's last stand and essentially went on strike, refusing to put any work into the game while Bethesda continued it's tactics.

Despite many attempts by Human Head to negotiate, Bethesda stonewalled them - as per the contract, the game failed to release by a certain date and Bethesda got the game back, and Human Head was released. While our heroes lived to fight another day, Prey 2 remained in the grasp of Bethesda.

Having failed in their takeover attempt, Bethesda was left with a property but no game. It is rumored in hushed voices that they passed development to Arkane studios, but on this dread day, it appears, having no further use for Prey 2, they have given up on the title & consigned it to the abyss.

Meanwhile, Human Head has survived and went on to release Minimum, a multiplayer shooter on Steam.

Now you know the truth, believe not the vile lies of the monolithic publisher that would use such a beloved franchise as a lever to expand their business. And weep, as we all weep: for what could have been, but is now no more.

Damien_Azreal 10-31-2014 06:36 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
While not surprising based on how Bethesda had jerked the title around, still sucks to see it go this path.

dan2091 10-31-2014 08:42 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially Cancelled
The conspiracy theorist in me says it never went to Arkane... :p

Joe Siegler 11-01-2014 04:05 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
A collection of links about the cancellation: http://www.aliennoire.com/home/news/...ancels-prey-2/

But more importantly, Human Head finally talks about all of this (but not a lot).


ScrewingUpMyRide 11-01-2014 04:34 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!

Originally Posted by Joe Siegler (Post 964804)
A collection of links about the cancellation: http://www.aliennoire.com/home/news/...ancels-prey-2/

But more importantly, Human Head finally talks about all of this (but not a lot).


Sigh. So much to say. Human Head remains a class act (they're about to announce a new game) but the extent of Bethesda's damage will likely be never made public. I wish Human Head the very best for the future. They deserve better.

Damien_Azreal 11-01-2014 08:30 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
It's not surprising.
It's incredibly sad as the game looked amazing, but considering how it was being jerked around... I'm actually glad it's done.

Anyone with half a brain knows "quality reasons" is pure BS, specially if you look at some of Bethesda's other releases.
And, Bethesda does have a bit of a history of being difficult to work with. A lot of people from Arkane, id... and other studios over the years have mentioned lots of issues and conflicts when working on a title for Bethesda.

I hope to see a quality PREY 2 in the future, but I'll always be sad that this one never made it out.

Rapture_Rising 11-01-2014 07:59 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!

Damien_Azreal 11-01-2014 08:33 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
Human Head stopped working on PREY 2 because Bethesda pulled back funding and support.
Bethesda were trying to force Human Head into a corner and let ZeniMax purchase the studio. HH fought back and didn't let ZeniMax buy the studio. And in turn, Bethesda started talking about how it wasn't up to their "quality standards"...

Yet, everyone that played it and talked about it said it was polished enough to be released as is and be an amazing game.

Human Head are to blame that the game isn't being finished only because they refused to let their studio be bought up by ZeniMax.
It's the same thing ZeniMax did to Arkane, they backed the studio into a corner and then bought them. I love a lot of the games that come out of Bethesda... but, as a publisher I really hate them.
They treat their studios terribly, and a lot of the time... force games out long before they are finished and then follow up with horribly support.

ScrewingUpMyRide 11-02-2014 07:54 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
Rapture, do you understand how hostile acquisitions work? Do you understand what milestone abuse is?

Bethesda disputes Milestones - reasonable or not - and withholds payment while Zenimax, the parent company, offers to loan money while the issues are being sorted, saying it's just an administrative issue that is bound to get resolved, then after several milestones aren't met and the money "lent" becomes too important, it offers to buy the company as a solution.

The companies have done it several times already. Given their documented history, there is no reason to grant them the benefit of the doubt: this is a planned, predatory practice.

If you're giving me money and it looks like I'm failing, and you don't want to give me more money because you don't trust that I can complete the project, why are you trying to buy out my studio?

That's the six million dollar question: if this really was a case of Human Head dropping the ball, ******* up development and ruining Bethesda's investment, why did Bethesda want to pour more money into acquiring the entire studio/team in addition to the product?

The fact is, Human Head were doing such a good job that Bethesda pretended they were doing a shit job so they could gain the financial leverage needed to acquire the entire studio.

I'll try to explain it as best I can. I'm sure there's a proper phrase for it in consumer advocacy environments, but I just call it milestone abuse.

In a traditional publisher-developer relationship in the video games industry, the publisher usually pays the developer through a number of milestones. Here's an example.

> Milestone 1: Exit pre-production with a final design plan
> Milestone 2: Finish X number of levels and audio/graphical assets
> Milestone 3: Have a "vertical slice" demo (showing all core features)
> Milestone 4: Establish a pipeline with the quality assurance testers

Stuff like that.

This system is technically great since it keeps the developer accountable. They only get paid if they keep working and showing progress. I WISH they'd have something like this for Kickstarter.

The problem with milestone abuse is when the milestone criteria isn't shown to the public (due to corporate confidentiality and all of that). Since it's kept behind closed doors, people who actually give a shit can't make sure that the publisher isn't trying to exploit the developer by exploiting loopholes in the contract.

Since most studios can only afford to work on one major project at a time, they need the milestone payments in order to stay afloat. However, if the publisher wants to intentionally bankrupt the developer so that they can purchase their IPs and employee contracts (hostile acquisition), then the publisher just has to ride it out and see who runs out of money first. Since the publisher is almost always wealthier, they just have to play a waiting game and arbitrarily fail the milestones.

> Yeah, you set up a quality assurance pipeline but we don't think it's good enough. No, we don't have to explain why. You think anyone out there's going to look through this contract?

> Yeah, you exited pre-production, but we still count those 10 meetings you did afterwards as part of it. Actually, you deserve less money than we gave. Maybe you should be happy that we're just withholding payment and not suing you.

> You call this a vertical slice? We didn't finish focus testing yet! We still might want more features! Oh, we didn't tell you? That's not our problem.

Once the developer gets desperate enough and they almost reach bankruptcy, the publisher is in a good position to force a buy-out. Since whether or not they did anything legally wrong is really, really complicated and the developer no longer has any money to hire a legal team that can rival a publisher's, most of these end in hostile acquisitions.

The bigger problem here is that you could have very easily achieved the same result by suing Human Head for "not fulfilling the terms of their contract" (and not have to pay a single cent more), but Bethesda never pursued that because they'd have no legal case. If this was presented before an external court that doesn't care about video games, they'd see that Human Head adequately fulfilled all the portions of their contract.

A lawsuit would have been literally cheaper if that was the case. If Bethesda didn't have a documented history of abusing companies in such a way, its people would be granted the same latitude.

BETHESDA OWNS PREY. Human Head fails to complete the project, you take what they've got so far and dump it in some other studio's lap to finish.

The reason you break contract with Human Head is you feel like you're throwing good money after bad; if I pay you, you still won't finish this project, so I'll stop paying you and pay someone else to finish it instead.

Again, your assessment would be a fair evaluation if:

a) Bethesda/Zenimax didn't try to acquire the company at the same time it was denying it payment.

b) Bethesda/Zenimax didn't have a recorded history of acquiring companies that way.

With those two elements, that behavior from the company becomes terribly suspicious at best.

Rapture_Rising 11-02-2014 09:21 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!

Originally Posted by ScrewingUpMyRide (Post 964833)

Ok fair enough, i concede defeat. Admittedly, i haven't been following the development of Prey 2 or the shit with Bethesda.

pjVgt 11-03-2014 08:32 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!

Originally Posted by ScrewingUpMyRide (Post 964833)
Rapture, do you understand how hostile acquisitions work? Do you understand what milestone abuse is?

This is something I really hate about game industry today - the absolute rule of so called "accountants" that against all commercially sound reasons (like releasing and selling the damn game) prefer to aquire trademarks and people from third-party companies (which they don't know what to do with next). It is like some ******* on a board meeting telling that the finished product wouldn't generate profit but at least they can aquire trademark and content for future better use if we bullshit the devs some more.

Nowadays games cost just too much and take too much time to complete to be financed on shady milestone completion basis - there is no way someone outside of the development can judge how software product is reaching it's development goals and how much resources are needed to finish it.

What is worse I really can't find solution to stop situations like this.

Nukkus 11-03-2014 03:53 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
Heart = Broken. *hugs Prey CE*

smashed pumpkin 11-05-2014 01:11 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
Been out of the loop for a few days and missed this(fighting Cryptowall 2.0, BAD NEWS!).

Really disappointing to see this get cancelled. I figured it was inevitable from the delays, but the new concept seemed very intriguing and was a very original way to continue the franchise.

ScrewingUpMyRide 04-07-2015 07:45 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!


"We stopped working on Prey 2 near the end of 2011, and had been working on it for close to two years. It was very close to an alpha state, with all major content pieces represented," Project Director Chris Rhinehart told Develop. "We were at that point in a game where you can step back and see the whole picture and shift from developer to editor and decide which elements to cut and which elements to emphasize and polish."

At that point, the game's technology "had progressed significantly past the live demo" that was shown at E3, Gamescom and PAX, according to Norm Nazaroff, the project lead on Minimum, the online shooter Human Head took over last year. "Itís my personal opinion that we would have been counted among the best looking games of the previous console generation."

"As we said in response [to Hines' statement] in October, we feel that the quality of the game was well represented by the materials we displayed in numerous public demonstrations on behalf of Bethesda and we are disappointed that fans wonít be able to see our vision come to life," Business Development Director Tim Gerritsen added. "We remain proud of the work that we did."

Micky C 04-08-2015 06:43 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
I know it's probably a stupid comment, but if the game's as close to finished as they say it is, would it not be possible for Bethesda to just let them finish it and get it out?

Although I suppose it's more a matter of politics and pride, even though they're losing out on millions of dollars.

Damien_Azreal 04-08-2015 07:55 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
It's a matter of Bethesda thought they could back Human Head into a corner, and buy the company.
But, HH didn't fold... and now the game is dead in the water with Bethesda sputtering "it didn't meet quality levels" crap.

Yeah, if HH had let Bethesda buy them, we'd probably be playing PREY 2 for a while now. But, Human Head has a sense of personal pride. And while I'm sad PREY 2 didn't happen, I'm glad HH didn't cave and give up who they are.

ScrewingUpMyRide 04-08-2015 03:01 PM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!

Originally Posted by Damien_Azreal (Post 965707)
Yeah, if HH had let Bethesda buy them, we'd probably be playing PREY 2 for a while now. But, Human Head has a sense of personal pride. And while I'm sad PREY 2 didn't happen, I'm glad HH didn't cave and give up who they are.

Well said. They left Raven because of the studio's acquisition by Activision changed the development culture. I'm still very sad that we'll never get the play Prey 2. There's no doubt it would've been awesome. :(

necroslut 05-08-2015 11:01 AM

Re: Prey 2 Officially canceled!
The more you hear about Bethesda from studios having worked with them, the more they seem like complete *******s. And that part about "not meeting their quality standards", oh please.
Such a shame we'll likely never get this game, and that Human Head and employees will look like they've been doing nothing for the last ten years. And I guess some people will even think "Oh, Human Head. I heard Beth' cancelled their game because it wasn't any good. They - and their new game - must suck. "

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