One of the great big gaming conspiracy theories of our time has been that during the development of Prey 2 – not the upcoming horror shooter named Prey that was announced at E3 this year, and which doesn’t seem to have much to do with the original game or even its concept, mind, but an actual sequel to that game – Bethesda purposefully sabotaged the milestones set for developers Human Head, so that they would miss said milestones, which would in turn enable Bethesda to scoop them up and their IP for a lower price.
However, speaking to Metro, Bethesda’s marketing VP shot the allegations down, noting that they don’t actually make a whole lot of sense (which, to be fair, is true of just about every major conspiracy theory out there), and said that the sequel in development simply hadn’t turned out as Bethesda would have wanted.
“I will simply say this: I don’t know what possible good reason we would have for spending millions and millions of dollars to create something to then suddenly arbitrarily decide, ‘No, we don’t want to actually make our money back off what we’ve put into it’,” he said. “Because we were footing the bill, right? We’re the publisher, we’re paying the developer. We’re putting all the money into it.
“I’m spending my own time taking trips up to Madison, creating brand, creating trailers, putting effort into it, taking it to E3, doing all that stuff. And to take all of that time and investment, and for the notion to be, ‘Oh yeah, for arbitrary reasons we decided to fail the milestones and are just going to wave goodbye to all that and never see any of it returned is the dumbest argument I’ve ever heard.”
Specifically tackling the part of the reports about Bethesda wanting to acquire Human Head for a lower price, Hines said, “We don’t have any real predilection towards acquiring somebody or not We haven’t acquired anybody, that I can remember, in the last five or how many years. I think Tango [the studio behind The Evil Within] was the last acquisition. It’s not like we’re on some acquisition tear.
“We work with third party folks, like with The Elder Scrolls: Legends, like with Quake Champions. We have a perfectly good third party relationship with them. We’re gonna make the game, we’re not acquiring them, we haven’t failed milestones… again, it boils down to one thing and one thing only: we’re in the business of making games and we’re only going to put out and make games that we think raise to a certain level of quality.
“It’s no different to BattleCry, which isn’t anywhere. Isn’t being talked about, and it’s on hiatus because it also wasn’t rising to the level. Just like the DOOM game that we cancelled.”
All of this makes sense, and I have always maintained that the conspiracy theory about Bethesda manipulating Prey 2‘s development milestones was a load of crock. The new, rebooted Prey is due out some time over the next year.