When Prey 2 was officially announced in 2011, it soon became one of the most buzzed-about projects on the horizon. The original Prey was an underrated cult classic, but Prey 2 became one of the toasts of E3 2011 with badass gameplay footage, the promise of a huge, open-world sci-fi metropolis, and all the excitement the words “space bounty hunter” could stir up. Prey 2 looked like it might give gamers the “Boba Fett experience” even the official Star Wars video games hadn’t done yet…and then it all fell apart.
Prey 2‘s protracted demise left a debris trail of delays and troubling rumors, culminating in Bethesda finally declaring the project cancelled in October 2014. While Bethesda said the game hadn’t lived up their quality standards, developer Human Head Studios’ business development director Tim Gerritsen defended the project, saying, “We remain proud of our work on the franchise, which we feel speaks for itself, including the award-winning presentation of the game at E3 2011.” Prey 2 will remain a painful “it could have been great” footnote in video game history, but now Human Head is moving on with a new project, and an exciting new partner.
IGN reports that Human Head Studios is developing a new game for Shinra Technologies, Square Enix‘s cloud gaming service. Beyond the simple fact of its existence, there’s no more information available about the game at this point, but that will likely change next month at E3. In addition to Human Head’s new game, Camouflaj (Republique) and Hardsuit Labs (Blacklight: Retribution) will also be showing off their new Shinra-partnered projects, so the cloud-gaming service definitely has the potential to make a huge splash next month.
IGN notes that Human Head Studios co-founder Ted Halsted has emphasized the developer’s focus on multiplayer gaming, and cloud gaming is a perfect match for that. Shinra’s cloud technology allows for “very complex simulations, which we then share between many, many users,” and the GDC 2015 tech demo above involves 16,000 fully animated characters in a game world stretching 20 miles by 20 miles, all without any load screens.
It’s hard not to imagine how the Shinra cloud technology could have lent itself to a game like Prey 2. That game was set in a sprawling alien mega-city straight out of Star Wars or The Fifth Element, so imagine that all pre-loaded and seamless. Take that to the next level and imagine that game world being shared by tons of players simultaneously, all having their own experiences — or sharing them — across a living, breathing, persistent world leveraging the power of current-gen technology. It’s promising, to say the least.
The death of Prey 2 will always be a thorn in the side of gamers who found themselves salivating at those early gameplay videos (see below), but the partnership between Human Head and Shinra could produce something even more exciting. Hopefully their E3 2015 will spawn a happier ending than 2011 did.