If Prey 2 fans weren’t already concerned about the shooter’s status after cancellation rumors arose this March – or after it was delayed due to “unsatisfactory progress” this April; or after reports of labor strife within its developer, Human Head Studios, the following day; or after its discouraging absence from E3 2012; or after Bethesda removed the game from their product lineup earlier this August – then they certainly had cause for butterflies when IGN Benelux ran an interview with Bethesda VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines over the weekend.

The interview – given by Hines in English, transcribed in Dutch, and then subjected to worldwide interpretation – led to reports that Hines had confirmed the cancellation of Prey 2. Ostensibly dialogue was presented in such a way where, in transit from Dutch back to English, it indicated termination of the project. After all, with the beleaguered state of the game’s recent development, no one would have exactly faulted U.S. Marshall Killian Samuels for turning in his badge.

Nevertheless, Hines cleared up the confusion through his Twitter account on Monday, acknowledging the linguistic disconnect:

Responding to another tweet, Hines claims that he was truly reiterating what’s been the Bethesda party line for the better part of the year now: Prey 2 “is not coming out this year.”

Unquestionably, the executive was tossing back, as we mentioned, to the official statement from Bethesda in April that knocked the game off the 2012 calendar. (Originally it was one of our most anticipated titles for this year.) The publisher, along with Human Head Studios, invested mightily in carving out an open-world with an all-new protagonist and visual motif from the roots of a largely linear cult-classic shooter, and after evaluating Prey 2 in its latest phase of development they alleged that the product simply didn’t amount to the “AAA game that fans rightfully expect.”

Prey 2 Cancelled Bethesda

Of course, back then the delay statement seemed pretty straightforward. Prey 2 – the game we came away so impressed with at E3 2011 – needed more time, more polish. But then there were the cancellation rumors still hanging overhead – followed not long after by those reports of developer discord. And when Prey 2 was taken off Bethesda’s own product line-up last week, the only response the company could muster would have been less discouraging were it left at “no comment”:

“Since we had already announced it wasn’t coming out this year and we don’t have anything new to say on the game at this time, we simply didn’t think it’d be appropriate to include it on the new site launch. We chose instead to focus on the upcoming titles we are talking about.”

So while it’s great that Hines relieved Prey 2 fans of a temporary scare, he’s not doing them any favors by referring back to a statement of false hope. What was first meant to instill confidence in gamers has, in the brief time since, turned into a conveyance of gloom.

Like the English-speaking readership of IGN Benelux, we hope we’re just not seeing the lines correctly. But then again, the Hines misinterpretation wasn’t just a product of language barriers or Google Translate fallibility, either. It was a product of Prey 2’s macabre zeitgeist: Any day could be the day.

Ranters, do you think Prey 2 ever finds a way out of its current development rut? Could placing the game on the back burner potentially set it up for a next-gen release?

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: IGN Benelux [via CVG], Pete Hines Twitter