Independent game developer Human Head Studios is closing down after 22 years making games. The studio behind The Quiet Man and 2006’s Prey explained that, ultimately, Rune II (released on the Epic Store on PC) would be its last game due to a lack of funds to continue running the studio. However, while they realized that Human Head Studios would need to close, an effort was made to save the team. To do so, they talked to Bethesda, and the major publisher has chosen to offer roles to the entire development team at Human Head. They’ll be situated in Madison, WI as part of a new Bethesda-owned studio named Roadhouse Studios. There’s currently no word on where the existing Human Head IPs will end up (especially given various publisher agreements).
Human Head was formed in 1997. In 2000 they put out their first two games, which were horror adventure game Blair Witch Volume II: The Legend of Coffin Rock and top-down action RPG Rune. The latter was a major success that received a stand-alone expansion, a PlayStation 2 port, and a tabletop version, and most recently, a sequel. In 2006 they released Prey for PC and Xbox 360, a twisted first-person shooter that received critical praise and success. At this point the studio mostly transitioned into a helper role, assisting with development on Brink, BioShock Infinite, and Defiance, doing the Nintendo Wii U port of Batman: Arkham Origins, and the PlayStation 4 port of Dungeon Defenders II. It wasn’t until 2018 that they put out their next major release with The Quiet Man, which was met to almost universally negative reviews. Human Head Studios had just released their latest game, Rune II, on PC yesterday.
Despite a tenured history, it is perhaps a canceled game that Human Head is best known for: the original version of Prey 2. The game was going to be a space western with a focus on bounty hunting and saw many trailers and a ton of hype. However, behind the scenes, it wasn’t doing so hot, and eventually, Bethesda chose to pull the plug on the project in 2014 before Arkane Studios rebooted Prey in 2017.
It’s ironic then that the same publisher who canceled Human Head’s most notorious project has acquired the development team five years later. While Human Head is no more, the spirit of the developer lives on in Roadhouse Studios.
[Source: Human Head Studios]