All Hopes I Had For A Prey Sequel Have Been Crushed — Well Done, Microsoft

Arkane Austin never deserved this fate, just because Redfall was a mess.

Story Highlights

  • Microsoft has killed Arkane Austin over Redfall’s failure, disregarding its previous gems like Prey.
  • Prey, the splendid sci-fi shooter of 2006 though didn’t return, we got something even better instead.
  • Prey (2017) is a masterpiece of an immersive sim that didn’t deserve this horrendous treatment.

Why is it that whenever a creatively stupendous game comes out, the only future that awaits it is abandonment? The moment a game performs even slightly below expectations, it’s done for. Doesn’t matter how beloved and universally praised it is, unless it makes a ton of cash, it’s worthless. Microsoft abandoning Hi-Fi Rush and jeopardizing Prey is a very recent example.

YouTube video

Arkane Austin Is No More

I’m sure you’re painfully aware at this point, but Microsoft has decided to shut down Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks in an attempt to “restructure” Bethesda’s studios. 

There are no words to explain my anger and frustration over the closure of Tango Gameworks, which provided nothing but creative gems. Similarly, I admit Redfall was a massive disappointment that deserved to die, but it doesn’t justify killing Arkane Austin. Can we forget the developer’s superb prior works, especially Prey, and just use this one mistake to ostracize it?

You know what’s even more heartwrenching? Microsoft never cared for these IPs, nor did it give them another chance. Before this decision, Tango Gameworks apparently pitched a Hi-Fi Rush sequel, and Arkane Austin wanted to return to its origins and create a first-person immersive sim (a Prey sequel? We’ll never know). What was Microsoft’s reply to these pitches? You’re fired.

Prey — Origins And Cancellations

When I say Prey, I’m sure the game that comes into your mind is the 2017 one. However, this name’s origins lie a lot earlier. The first “Prey” came out in 2006, a first-person sci-fi shooter created by Human Head Studios in the id Tech 4 (Doom) Engine. 

The original Prey was a masterful work you shouldn't sleep on | Source: IMDB
The original Prey was a masterful work you shouldn’t sleep on | Source: IMDB

The premise involves our protagonist Tommy and his family getting abducted by aliens aboard a spaceship called The Sphere. Seeking an escape, Tommy utilizes his special, spirit-separation ability alongside portal hopping and technologically advanced weaponry to blow some alien brains. The story may not have been as extraordinary, but the visuals and gameplay mechanics surely were.

The graphics were pretty impressive for their time, and they supported a gameplay even superior. The game lets you relive the sci-fi, alien-crushing fantasy in the most euphoric way. A Doom-style approach to fast-paced shooting combined with maneuverability and strategic control of the portals, it was a sci-fi shooter done right, and a ton of fun for anyone looking for a no-questions-asked alien-busting adventure.

The game was successful enough to warrant a sequel. However, the IP was acquired mid-development by Bethesda Softworks. Subsequently, the new owners apparently didn’t see the potential in the sequel, and cut it off. While unfortunate no doubt, I’m happy with the good news that followed.

The Prey 2 E3 trailer shows what we were robbed of | Source: Blur Studio (Youtube)
The Prey 2 E3 trailer shows what we were robbed of | Source: Blur Studio (Youtube)

Arkane’s Prey, A Genuine Masterpiece

Though Prey 2 was canceled, Bethesda soon announced a new game, one called Prey (2017), developed by Arkane Austin. The name may have implied a connection to the long-stagnant IP Bethesda once acquired, but things weren’t that simple.

Arkane planned Prey as a completely independent game. The concepts of an immersive and real-time interactable isolated space, freedom of approach, progressively growing scope and access to the world’s locations, a psychological sense of dread created by an unknown existence, and first-person shooter aspects to bind it all together were an original idea, but one very similar to Prey.

Prey 2017 has insane world design
byu/MrVincent17 inpatientgamers

Thus, the condition to name the game Prey came from Bethesda rather than Arkane, and it had to comply. As such, the game was modified a bit to loosely embody the forgotten gem, but it was not related in any way. Consider it a reimagining of the IP, if you will.

Whatever the circumstances, it doesn’t change the fact that Prey was a genuine masterpiece. Everything it wished to present was executed with perfection. Taking inspiration from the likes of Dishonored, Syphon Filter, and Axe Fatalis, the 2017 iteration was a masterclass in creative environment design and thrilling gameplay.

Prey (2017) is in a class of its own.
Prey (2017) is in a class of its own.

I’ll never forget the mind-blowing reveal of being stranded on a now decrepit Spacestation; it was goosebumps-inducing, and a perfect start. The psychological threat slowly creeping up your skin, an in-depth weapon and inventory management, a beautifully intricate yet “approach as you wish” world, Prey was a game I’ll never forget.

Prey 2017 is a masterpiece and you should play it
byu/Gonzito3420 ingaming

Profits First, Creativity Later

Prey was such an impressive game that it had everyone singing its praises, from critics to dedicated fans. The game has gathered quite a strong following; people desperately waiting for a sequel to this brilliant gem. However, this ridiculous decision from Microsoft has crushed the hopes of many, even the most loyal of the fans. The reason for doing this? Prey wasn’t as much of a commercial success for the greedy corporations behind it.

If Microsoft can consider the creative masterpiece that is Hi-Fi Rush a failure, nothing else will surprise me. Creative concepts and imaginative freedom have no place these days. A game makes an absurd amount of profit, it stays. It doesn’t, murder it. Microsoft has done the same to Hi-Fi Rush and Prey, and words can’t describe my sorrow and hatred.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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