The plot thickens. We told you earlier today that Bethesda has announced that Prey 2 was officially delayed and would not be releasing in 2012. In the short release, Bethesda said that the game did not meet their quality standards and the delay was to make sure fans got a game that was up to par. Now a report from Shacknews seems to indicate that it’s not quite that cut and dry.
According to the report, an anonymous source is now saying that Human Head (the developer) wasn’t happy with the terms of their contract with Zenimax and deliberately stopped working on the game in November in order to try to force Zenimax to renegotiate a more favorable deal. In the process, a large portion of the development team was laid off with the hope that they could be rehired if they were successful in getting the contract reworked. It appeared that Human Head would get their wish until January when Zenimax apparently broke off all communication leading several folks from the Prey 2 team that had been laid off to wonder if the game would ever be released.
By the start of March, things seemed to be turning around and the laid off employees were hopeful they would be returning to work soon. That didn’t last and things apparently went bad leading the source to have no further first hand details after March 2nd. Zenimax has refused to comment beyond their official statement released earlier today.
While we are sure that Shacknews’ source is reliable, there seems to be a big hole on this one. Zenimax and Human Head had a contract, a legally binding document. For Human Head to just stop work on a title like that leaves them open to serious legal liability and Zenimax has the size and wherewithal to really take it to them. If the events this source described are accurate, Zenimax would seem to have a pretty strong breach of contract case. In the meantime though, it starts to make one wonder if Bethesda will be on the lookout for a new developer, it wouldn’t be the first time that Bethesda has changed developers on a game midway through, they did the same thing with Rogue Warrior back in 2009 shifting work from Zombie Studios to Rebellion.
The source left us with one final juicy tidbit and that is the fact that Human Head is supposedly ramping up to begin work on a new high-profile project and negotiations are apparently going well on that. The developer has also recently admitted that they are considering doing a sequel to Rune which we know a lot of fans would love to see.
In the meantime, let’s wait to see if Bethesda puts a new developer on Prey 2 and if they decide to take any kind of action against Human Head for breach of contract. It’s never as simple as it seems now is it?