Arkane founder opens up about having the Prey name forced on his game, and why he left the studio afterwards.

SF Kosmo

Banned
https://kotaku.com/prey-2017-2006-bethesda-imsim-name-arkane-colantonio-1849481519

On a podcast recently, Raph Colantonio, the founder of Arkane, talked about how he was forced to use the name Prey, how he feels that backfired, and how it made him feel gross.
“I did not want to call this game Prey. And I had to say I wanted to anyway in front of journalists,” he told AIAS in the podcast. “I hate to lie…It felt bad to support a message I did not want.” ... “Our game had nothing to do with Prey,” said Colantonio. “There is a bit of the artistic/creative side that is insulted when you tell [an] artist ‘You know your game? It’s going to be called Prey.’ And you go like, ‘I don’t think it should. I think it’s a mistake.’"

Now, some added context. Bethesda licensed the Prey IP from 3D Realms and partnered with Human Head, who had developed the first game, to develop the sequel. That project fell apart after Human Head refused and offer to buy the studio, and Bethesda unsuccessfully attempted to do a hostile takeover of the dev. The fallout from this was nasty and bitter, and the game was shelved years into development. Some more about that here, if you want.

Now, this part I have heard off the record, but Bethesda's license was contingent upon them producing a game with the IP, and Human Head was hoping that if they waited it out, 3D Realms might get the license back and Human Head could shop the project to other publishing partners. So in order to prevent that, Bethesda simply renamed an existing project they had in development in order to satisfy that clause. The move wasn't done because they thought it would help Arkane's game, it was done to fuck over Human Head and block the release of Prey 2.

Raph continues that he feels bad about any part he played in squatting the IP:
“I wanted to apologize to them many, many times,” said Colantonio. “I didn’t really have a chance because I don’t really know those people. It was never our intention to ‘steal their IP’ and make it ours. It’s gross and that’s not what I wanted to do.”

I'm glad we can put to rest the pretense that Prey (2017) was in any way ever meant to be a Prey game at all. It was always just IP squatting on the part of petty Bethesda leadership. Great game, but really rotten motives to use the name.
 
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SF Kosmo

Banned
Bethesda has been making so many mistakes in the last decade, it's staggering.
What a mess of a company it has become.
In fairness to present day Bethesda, I've always heard a lot of the petty legal maneuvering they were always known for was the fault of Robert Atlman, and he's since passed.
 
Sounds like suits doing their thing.

The original game was only okayish and I haven't played the Arkane "reboot", can't remember what Prey2 should have been other than the trailer was quite good, but Prey is like Assassins Creed and Hitman (or Predator) a great name and hopefully becomes a game worth the name. Crysis eg. could have been labeled Prey and imho it would have matched well. At least I think the sort of Doom/Quake gameplay in Prey cause of its engine did not really have any Hunter/Prey/Predator feeling and that should be the selfexplaining premise due to the name.
 

Wildebeest

Member
It is the John Carmack school of thinking that you just get the rights to a memorable one syllable name for a game, then just whack it on any game you are making. Carmack didn't think that story or world building in games was anything more than a necessary evil to set up the action.
 
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SF Kosmo

Banned
It is the John Carmack school of thinking that you just get the rights to a memorable one syllable name for a game, then just whack it on any game you are making. Carmack didn't think that story or world building in games was anything more than a necessary evil to set up the action.
It's not. No one thought that the Prey name would help Arkane's game. They just wanted to stop Human Head from releasing their game.
 

samoilaaa

Member
one of the best games ever made , i know alot of people didnt like the game because of the bugs but it had a really interesting story and the level design is top notch
 

Pagusas

Elden Member
I'm glad we can put to rest the pretense that Prey (2007) was in any way ever meant to be a Prey game at all. It was always just IP squatting on the part of petty Bethesda leadership. Great game, but really rotten motives to use the name.
What? The horrible Native American FPS alien invasion Prey game was 2006, the way over rated horror/FPS game with the forced title was 2017. Neither were great by any means, and the only Prey that ever looked interesting was the canceled bounty hunter game.
 
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01011001

Gold Member
What? The horrible Native American FPS alien invasion Prey game was 2006, the way over rated horror/FPS game with the forced title was 2017. Neither were great by any means, and the only Prey that ever looked interesting was the canceled bounty hunter game.

Err GIF
 

jaysius

Member
This game by any other name would have sold just as well.

Prey wasn't even a huge IP, the entire thing makes no sense, it must have washing of money or giving money to a friend at 3D Realms. You don't licences an IP to strip it of every single defining feature it has(except that it's FPS).

Fuck, now I remember that for a period of time there was a Prey 2(from the 2006 one) in the works and how much I want that now, but the original Prey was "problematic" for 2020's because it featured a Native American, you can't just do that anymore without checking with every single group under the sun if what they're doing is "ok".
 

deathsaber

Member
In a way it did fuck the game. I certainly kind of ignored the project during its retail prime- I saw "Prey" and had same vague vision of an earlier defunct 2000's era pc shooter, that I assumed this was some revival of that game (which I wasn't remotely interested in back then), and largely ignored everything to do with it.

Had I known the project was completely unrelated to the previous game, and basically the best modern revival of System Shock/Bioshock and other such atmospheric first person shooter/rpg/adventure games that are absolutely right up my alley- it would have gotten day 1 support. Instead, I checked the game out like 4 years late well after it flopped commercially on Gamepass. And I know I'm not alone here.
 

SF Kosmo

Banned
What? The horrible Native American FPS alien invasion Prey game was 2006, the way over rated horror/FPS game with the forced title was 2017. Neither were great by any means, and the only Prey that ever looked interesting was the canceled bounty hunter game.
Typo, I meant 2017. But that's my point, the naming of Prey 2017 was done to kill Prey 2.
 
This game by any other name would have sold just as well
This is the big issue here no one else is talking about. I think people online really over estimate the value of Prey name and any confusion is may have caused among mainstream audiences.

Prey 2017 was never going to sell well regardless of its name because...

(1) Immersive sims don't sell well.
(2) Arkane games don't sell well.
(3) New IPs don't sell well and, yes, I do classify Prey 2017 as a new IP because very few people in the mainstream have any knowledge of Prey 2006.
 
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