Bethesda today shared both good and bad news regarding the closure of one studio and the opening of another. Human Head Studios, a veteran 22-year old studio known for games including Rune, the original Prey, and The Quiet Man, recently closed its doors. The company recently released Rune 2, but apparently it wasn't enough of a financial success to keep the studio going. However, the studio and all of its employees have since formed a new studio under Bethesda named Roundhouse Studios.
In a prepared statement, Roundhouse Studios creative director and ex-Human Head project director Chris Rhinehart offered some insight into the situation. Rhinehart made clear that the idea of closing the studio "was devastating due to the passion and creativity of the team we'd assembled." As such, Human Head directly reached out to Bethesda, which had worked with Human Head on 2011's Brink, as well as the canceled sequel to Prey. Bethesda "saw that same creativity and passion in our team."
The agreement to create Roundhouse Studios, which is wholly owned by Bethesda whereas Human Head Studios was independent, is encompassing. Rhinehart states clearly that "Bethesda offered every employee of Human Head a position at the new company." Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean they were offered parallel positions or that all employees accepted. Nevertheless, Human Head will continue on as Roundhouse Studios, largely the same as before.
Human Head's community manager Katherine Stull added some further thoughts regarding the new studio's future with Bethesda. "This is an exciting opportunity for our small but industrious clan of developers," Stull acknowledges, then continues, " With [Bethesda's] support and resources, we look forward to creating great game experiences for many years to come." It's unclear what Roundhouse will be working on next, and will likely remain unclear for some time yet, but at least the studio remains hard at work.
Human Head Studios' modern troubles have been well documented. After the release of Prey in 2006, Human Head wrestled with various problems. The start of Prey 2 development would follow, only for Bethesda to formally cancel the game in 2014. In those middle years, Human Head took on a number of supporting development roles for titles including Brink, BioShock Infinite, Batman: Arkham Origins, and more. Since then, Human Head has scaled back even further.
Bethesda's embrace of Human Head Studios' employees and structure will give the studio new life. While titles like The Quiet Man or Rune 2 may no longer be its focus, at least it's able to continue creating games rather than being lost to the wind.