Leaked Emails Suggest Bethesda Misled Gamers About Prey 2

Leaked Emails Suggest Bethesda Misled Gamers About Prey 2
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The rumours are true and the quotes dismissing them are misleading you. Arkane Studios is making Prey 2. Officials at the company behind the game just didn’t want you to know yet.

Arkane Austin is working on a rebooted version of Prey 2, although representatives from both the studio and their parent company Bethesda have denied as much. We reported that we’d heard it in May, and today, thanks to some emails obtained by Kotaku, we can confirm that it’s true.

Arkane — the game developer best known for last year’s stellar Dishonored — is now made up of two studios. One is in Austin, Texas and one is in Lyon, France.

The studio in Lyon is working on a sequel or successor to Dishonored, according to a person familiar with their project. Dishonored co-director Harvey Smith recently moved to France to work with that studio.

Arkane Austin just finished up Dishonored‘s excellent downloadable content and is in pre-production on a reboot of Prey 2, which Bethesda greenlit back in May. They hope to make it a spiritual successor to System Shock 2, and it’s a total overhaul; Arkane does not plan to use anything that Human Head, the studio that has spent the most time working on the troubled Prey 2, has already created, according to a Kotaku source.

In other words, Arkane Austin has a fresh start. It’s the type of thing that will undoubtedly excite fans of games like System Shock 2 and Dishonored, but on two different occasions over the past few weeks, top people at both Bethesda and Arkane have done their best to make it seem like Arkane and Prey 2 have nothing to do with one another.

Our reporting of this story back in May was triggered by an anonymous tip sent to Kotaku and several other gaming outlets. Once we were confident in the tip’s information and had alerted both Arkane’s management and representatives from Bethesda, we published the story. At the time, Bethesda declined to comment.

A couple of weeks ago, Bethesda’s vice president of marketing, Pete Hines, offered a vague denial of our report while speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun.

“No,” he told RPS when asked if Prey 2 has moved from Human Head to Arkane’s human hands. “All of that stuff, I have no idea where it came from. The Human Head Prey 2 thing is the Human Head Prey 2 thing. Arkane is over here, and they’re doing their thing, and that’s for them to work on. We’ll be ready to talk about what they’re working on when it gets closer to release.”

Although it’s true that Prey 2 has not switched hands — Arkane’s version of Prey 2 will be an entirely different game — the implications are misleading, and sure enough, the RPS report led to incorrect headlines all across the Internet: “Bethesda: Arkane is Not Involved in Prey 2,” wrote IGN. “Recent rumours have proven false.”

Just yesterday, Rock Paper Shotgun posted an interview with Dishonored co-director and Arkane creative director Raphael Colantonio, who said in more definitive terms that they’re not working on the game:

RPS: So you guys and Prey 2? Definitely not happening? I already asked Pete Hines, but just to be absolutely sure.

Colantonio: No. We’ve been looking at where that rumour came from, and I really don’t know.

Here’s an email sent from Colantonio to his staff back in May in which he says they’re working on Prey 2.

When we originally found out about this news and contacted people at both Bethesda and Arkane for comment, Colantonio e-mailed his team to ask them not to talk to reporters. And on May 31, when we reported what we had heard, Colantonio sent out this e-mail:

When reached by Kotaku for comment today, Bethesda sent over a statement: “We aren’t talking about what Arkane is working on and we have no new information to share on Prey 2.”

Why are they being so vague? Why mislead the public like this? Maybe there are legal issues involved here — the relationship between Bethesda and Human Head is still very bizarre--but it’s an unusual and unfortunate situation.

Still, this should put matters to rest. We know that Arkane Austin is working on some sort of reboot of Prey 2, and based on their track record, there’s plenty to be excited about. I don’t know why Bethesda and Arkane are trying to mislead the public about their next project — and by the time this game does come out, it might not even be called Prey 2 anymore — but I’m looking forward to seeing what this talented team can do with it.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @jasonschreier.


  • Guys, whatever happened to the days where we didn’t have to know about a game until, I don’t know, a couple months before it came out? Where we didn’t spend a year guessing what’s in it and what’s not, who’s making it and who’s not. What happened to, I don’t know, just waiting for them to tell us. Misleading the public? What’s so bad about not wanting to announce a project?

    It seems that these days there’s more effort going into finding out information about a game than the games themselves. Can we learn to spend a little less time trying to coax information that we’re going to get eventually, and spend a little more time, I don’t know, actually ENJOYING the games that are already released?

    • Todd, Harvey and Ricardo, 3 person involved. Successor to System Shock 3.

      Half Life 3 confirmed.

      Nah I’m just playing with you.

    • i have been thinking this for a while, actually since starwars old republic was announced. the hype and drip feeding of infomation while at the start was awesome and got me pumped to play it faded overtime till when it was released i was over the whole thing.
      ignorance is bliss to much hype too much disappointment.

  • This is good news. Glad it’s going ahead. I do agree with @garethp though, this is all I need to know until we’re approaching review time. I hate the thought of over hyping myself for new titles that end up disappointing me. Not because they’re bad, but because I raised my own expectations way too much.

    • I did week co-op laning system shock2 with 3 mates on the hardest difficulty…one of my most memorable gaming experiences by far……i loved the fact we couldn’t share powers so it was always a debate who gets what 😀

      • Indeed, System Shock 2 was a brilliant game and really brought out the devious side in some, the cooperative side in others and the leader in side in some. Was a very polarising game!

  • The phrase “press sneak f***s” is amazing, and so versatile:
    1) “Man, I really HATE those press sneak f***s at Kotaku trying to get their stories.”
    2) “What do you mean you can’t figure out how to stealth past this section? You call yourselves f***ing gamers? Press ‘sneak’, f***s.

  • I’m not sure System Shock needs a spiritual successor considering we already have two (Bioshock and Deadspace). That said, they were both great titles, so maybe this will be too.

  • As a fan of both System Shock 2 and the original Prey, I don’t see the need for this game to take the direction they are suggesting. 😐

  • such hysterical public mandate “journalism” going on here. “mislead the public” ROFL. go and reread the interview with gabe over ricochet 2 if you’ve already forgotten why these guys keep projects under wraps.

  • “spiritual successor to System Shock 2”

    That’s not what it says in the document, even thought it’s probably what they meant. Seriously, why are we ignoring this? Seriously, I just don’t get it.

    It’s going to be pretty hard to create a successor to System Shock 3 when System Shock 3 wasn’t actually made, unless there was some memo I didn’t get.

    An unfortunate typo, or proof of inability to understand IPs? Accident, or design? YOU DECIDE!!!

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