Prey (2017) is coming out next week. I had been wanting to blog about the original Prey (2006) by Human Head Studios for awhile, but there are already two excellent sources of information about it: The Eurogamer article above, and HyperBitHero’s excellent YouTube video, where he explains why Bethesda cancelled Human Head’s Prey 2 sequel:
Towards the end of his video, HyperBitHero also explains exactly why many Prey fans are upset: Why bother to give the 2017 version of the game the “Prey” name at all, when it has nothing to do with the original? We have nothing against Arkane Studios, I’m sure they’ll be able to make a decent sci-fi game after Dishonored and Dishonored 2.
But just slapping the Prey name on Arkane’s game reeks of disrespect and contempt towards what Human Head has accomplished: They managed to finish a game that was in development limbo for over 10 years (!!), and while I disagree with the Eurogamer article’s claim that Prey’s writing was poor (I found that it redeemed itself by the ending), overall the game was a short but fun experience with some interesting ideas.
It’s very important to remember that 2006 was a unique period for first-person shooters. Half-life 2 had come out two years before and completely raised the bar for what an FPS could accomplish, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare would not be released until 2007. Prey (2006) came out and helped plug the FPS gap after HL2’s release, before CoD suddenly steered the FPS genre towards a cinematic, wannabe-military-simulation style of gameplay.
The Prey debacle is also one of the reasons why I am reluctant to purchase any games published by Bethesda, although Doom (2016) was a rare exception. But that’s another story for another day. I will play Arkane’s Prey for sure, but at the same time I will not allow Bethesda to erase Human Head’s Prey from my memory.