There's been a lot of start and stop on the development of Prey 2 with Bethesda/Zenimax and Human Head in dispute over the pace and quality of production. Though it's tale has now come to a close with Bethesda's Pete Hine's saying they "decided to pull the plug from our end".
Rumours that the game had been cancelled began to swim around the internet back in March, with a source telling PS Focus (now PSX-Sense) that Bethesda/Zenimax had ended development. That rumour was refuted by Bethesda, who said the game had been delayed "due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards." This statement was then found not to reveal the entire story. A source told Shacknews that the developer, Human Head, had refused to work on the game since November as a result of contract dispute.
Now the fellows over at BeefJack have found that Pete Hines told IGN's Netherlands team that “I can be very clear about this. At one point, we looked at Prey 2 and decided that in its current state, with all the money, time, and resources we put into it, it didn’t meet our expectations. So we decided to pull the plug from our end. It was a tough business decision, but at that point it was the right one. It’s never a good thing to have to make those choices. It’s a shame, but it comes with the territory.”
Prey 2 was shaping up to be quite a different game from the original, with an exciting shift in the format from a story about a Native American abducted by aliens to a human bounty hunter taking down alien contracts on a distant world. It was an oddity that the game was even part of the series in that it was as major a departure as Ubisoft's Far Cry 2 was from Crytek's original.
The licence remains with Bethesda who can develop it in house or contract it out to another studio (something they've done in the past, when they moved development of Rogue Warrior from Zombie Studios to Rebellion). Whilst Human Head may try to take some of their work and rebrand it as a new IP.
We've reached out for comment from both companies.