Yesterday Bethesda announced that Prey 2, the anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Prey, was not cancelled, but had been delayed. The delay is indefinite, but we do know that it has been delayed past its original release window of sometime within 2012. The rumors of its cancellation were based in large part from the lack of news coming out about the title's ongoing development. Today, we might just have an explanation for why no news has been forthcoming: the game actually hasn't been in ongoing development.
Shack News is reporting that Human Head Studios, the developer of Prey 2, has not been working on the game since last November. The site is basing the rumor on an anonymous source that "asked not to be identified." According to that source, Human Head was unhappy with the contract it had with Bethesda's parent company Zenimax Media. As a negotiation tactic, Human Head stopped development on the game. Some members of the Prey 2 development team were laid-off with the hope that they would return when contract negotiations were final. From the Shack News article:
By March 1, the source said, things had progressed a bit, leaving the Prey 2 team hopeful that they would return to work soon. But that quickly soured the following day. The source could provide no further first-hand details after March 2.
If true, this rumor would make Bethesda's announcement yesterday that the game's development "has not progressed satisfactorily this past year" and that the game currently does not "meet our quality standards" technically true, if a bit disingenuous. That announcement made it seem as if Prey 2 was still very much in the works.
This is distressing news for Prey fans. Prey 2 being in development limbo might eventually mean an outright cancellationcan. Or, it could mean Zenimax and Bethesda abandon Human head for another developer, which wouldn't bode well for the title's final quality upon release. If nothing else, Prey fans will have to wait a long while to see a sequel.