Although Prey from Bethesda and Arkane Studios has received critical acclaim and has even been named one of the best developer works to date, it’s no secret that it has never sold so well. Although the exact reason for its commercial effectiveness has not yet been officially determined, the fact that the game actually captured existing intellectual property may have had something to do with it.
Namely, Prey was also the name of an unrelated 2006 FPS that was supposed to have a sequel, but Bethesda canceled it in 2011. , too. However, a recent interview with studio founder Rafael Colantonio shows that all the confusion was caused by Bethesda, which imposed the name on the then-unnamed Arkane game.
Colantonio left Arkane Studios after the launch of Prey in 2017 and was able to freely discuss his experience working on the game with Bethesda as part of his recent interview with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. “I didn’t want to call this game ‘Loot,'” he said. “I had to say what I wanted anyway in front of the reporters.” Colantonio said he hated lying to the press about it, but Bethesda actually forced him to do it. According to Colantonio, the publisher’s persistence was “very, very hurtful” and was one of the reasons he eventually left Arkane.
In particular, Colantonio was also aware of the adverse consequences of naming Arkane Studios’ new flagship after a game that Bethesda canceled a few years ago. “We never intended to steal their intellectual property,” he said, describing the whole ordeal as “rude” and a situation in which everyone lost. At the time Arkane was developing Prey, Colantonio and his team were already confident that they would lose sales from fans of the 2006 FPS and those who wanted to see the version of Prey 2, which Bethesda canceled, and he was adamant that this was not a good decision.
While a certain Doom Eternal Easter egg may have teased Prey 2, it doesn’t look like Arkane Studios is actually working on a sequel at the moment. The vampire—killing first-person shooter Redfall is his next big release, and it seems to lean more towards being a real first-person shooter rather than an immersive simulator. Colantonio himself, on the other hand, opened a small studio specializing specifically in immersive simulators, launching Weird West earlier this year.
As critical as he was of Bethesda’s insistence on using Prey IP for the sci-fi immersive Arkane simulator, Colantonio was still grateful to the publisher for the support and funding. After the launch of Deathloop and the acquisition of Bethesda, Microsoft Arkane has become an extremely valuable asset. However, it remains to be seen whether his next game will be a real immersive simulator or not.
Prey is already available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.