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Rumor Roundup: Arkane Studios, Prey 2 and System Shock 3
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 31 May 2014, 17:05:53Tags: Arkane Studios; Bethesda Softworks; Prey (Arkane Studios)
Back in 2006, a first person shooter by the name of Prey was released by developers Human Head Studios. Although it was originally a notorious 3D Realms vaporware project, under Human Head, Prey turned out to be a pretty decent game, and while it was not a huge commercial hit by today's standards, a sequel was quickly greenlit. Flash forward to 2009, when due to corporate shenanigans beyond mortal ken, the Prey IP found itself in the ownership of the nice people at Zenimax Media, the corporate alter ego of Bethesda Softworks. A couple of years later, the independence-minded Human Head Studios and Bethesda got into a little tiff, and by mid-2012 it seemed like the Prey sequel was permanently dead - although Bethesda never admitted that it was actually cancelled.
Flash forward again, to May 2013, when the folks at Kotaku received a tip that a rebooted Prey 2 was now being developed by Arkane Studios, of Arx Fatalis and Dishonored fame. What does an open world first person shooter with aliens have to do with a developer that specializes in Looking Glass-style immersive sims, you ask? Not much, apparently, as Arkane's employees were told to "forget that it's called Prey 2 and just treat it like a new System Shock". A few months later in August, in two separate interviews with Rock Paper Shotgun, both Bethesda PR boss Pete Hines and Arkane's own Raph Colantonio denied that Arkane had anything to do with Prey 2. Hilariously, just a day after the latter interview, the tipster struck again by leaking a pair of internal emails that unambiguously stated otherwise, turning the phrase "press sneak fucks" into a minor meme in the process.
Since then, we've heard little from Arkane, other than a rather dubious "Dishonored 2" leak back in March. Until today that is, when two Prey 2 "concept documents" were leaked to the site All Games Beta. They're actually Powerpoint presentations, apparently created by Colantanio, outlining the game's basic design principles and also suggesting four possible story pitches. As expected, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with Prey other than the name. See for yourself:
The game's codename is "Project Danielle", with two of the four story pitches mentioning a female character named "Danielle Sho" - an obvious Shodan reference. My theory is that Bethesda have some kind of contractual obligation to use the title "Prey 2" for this game, and that they'll change it to something else for the final release, if they can. The target release date, by the way, is Q3 2016.
So, it looks like while Harvey Smith continues to work on the Thief-inspired Dishonored franchise over at Arkane Lyon, Raph's Arkane Austin is going to take on the legacy of System Shock. Those two Looking Glass fanboys have certainly come far! That's assuming all of this is actually real, of course. We can't be sure if these presentations are legit, but hey, they were as good an excuse as any to do this sum-up post.