What’s The Deal With Prey 2?
“What are you looking at?” those words uttered by protagonist Tommy, as he looks straight at the player, set an interesting tone for 2006’s Prey. Unlike most first person games where the protagonist is a silent pair of hands with no legs, Prey’s lead had real personality. Tommy is young man with a girlfriend he loves and job he’s tired of, he wants to leave his home and get out into the world. A fairly easy to understand character who’s not difficult to relate to on some level. He then gets abducted by aliens.
The game itself was a fun sci-fi shooter with the occasional puzzle segment. It even had a few portions with portals that were truly revolutionary at the time, until y’know that other game with portals came out. But the reason the game stuck with me was its overall mood. Everything felt so very strange and alien. There wasn’t even a single conventional weapon in the game, everything was very out there. The most memorable gun was a weapon that basically just sneezed on your foes, seriously. Prey had atmosphere in spades.
The end of the game teases that the story wasn’t quite over. “Awesome!” cried my younger self enthusiastically. Time passed and I started to wonder just where Prey 2 was. Then, out of nowhere in 2008, came a press release and a piece of concept art officially announcing Prey 2. We were told that Tommy had been blamed for the events of the first game and was set to: “escapes an Earth that no longer wants him for a future that cannot survive without him.”
Dun, dun dun! How very ominous. So at this point I relaxed, Prey 2 was indeed coming. Then time passed, again. About three years in fact. Then once again, out of nowhere (a trend when it comes to Prey apparently) Prey 2 was announced. Again. Except this time it was an entirely different Prey 2. New protagonist, new setting, new everything. We weren’t even going to play as Tommy this time. Say wha?
In appearance Prey 2 was now basically Blade Runner, with aliens. In gameplay it was Deus Ex in space. That sounded even more bad ass than the original Prey 2. Now I was really clamouring for this game. Unfortunately this is where things get murky. Time passed. Again. In 2012 people noticed that they hadn’t heard anything about this game that was apparently about to come out. Mysterious sources began to utter to many journalism outlets that Bethesda had obliterated the whole project. This seemed even more likely when Bethesda yanked the game from their website. A month later they spoke out on what was going on, claiming the game was now delayed:
“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.” – Bethesda, speaking to GameSpot
Despite this, rumours continued that the game was dead. Said rumours persisted on and off for a whole year until we arrive at just last week where brand new rumours have popped up. Allegedly Human Head Studios have had the game taken off of them. Furthermore, Bethesda have shopped the game around a bit and plopped it in the laps of Arkane Austin, developers of Dishonored. All the work that Human Head have done is said to be scrapped.
So that’s the deal with Prey 2. It’s been a long complicated story and we still have no conclusion. Both previous incarnations of the game are unlikely to be ever seen, if recent reports are to be believed. The title Prey 2 now likely represents an entirely different game. Despite all this I’m still looking forward to it. The Prey franchise may be relatively small but its dank, greasy, alien infested world is a place I’m eager to revisit. What is clear is that the game is certainly not arriving anytime soon. If the stories of the game ending up at Arkane Austin are true, which is certainly plausible, then the game is now set for 2016. That’s a decade after Prey 1 launched. Ironically, the original Prey had it’s own drawn out development schedule, maybe the franchise is cursed? Regardless of what version eventually arrives, I hope it’s a worthy followup to the original.