Madison, Wisconsin’s Human Head Studios, developers of Rune and the original Prey, is no more. In its place stands Roundhouse Studios, a new subsidiary of Bethesda Softworks that’s retaining the entire Human Head team.
“After 22 great years of making games as an independent studio, economic realities have forced us to make the decision to wind down the company and close its doors,” reads a new statement from Human Head community manager Katherine Stull. “When we realized the company would have to close, we wanted to do whatever we could to keep the team together[…] That’s when we reached out to Bethesda Softworks to see what might be possible.” The newly formed Roundhouse Studios will remain based in Madison, Wisconsin.
Chris Rhinehart, co-founder of Human Head and new creative director of Roundhouse Studios, comments on the arrangement in a new press release from Bethesda:
With the formation of Roundhouse Studios, Bethesda offered every employee of Human Head a position at the new company. We are excited our team will remain together, pursuing the work we love, as part of a company we already know and admire.
Human Head’s most notable past collaboration with Bethesda never saw the light of day. Prey 2, originally planned as a direct sequel to Human Head’s 2006 original, remained in-development at Human Head when Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax acquired the rights to the franchise in 2009.
Prey 2 was publicly announced in 2011 (that year, Human Head also contributed to Splash Damage’s Brink, another Bethesda release). In 2014, over a year after reports that Human Head had been quietly taken off of the project, Bethesda announced that Prey 2 was canceled. Three years later, Bethesda published a reboot of Prey developed by Arkane Studios.
In 2018, Square Enix published Human Head’s hybrid brawler and FMV title The Quiet Man, which was widely panned for its bizarre presentation and gameplay. Human Head’s last game, the action RPG sequel Rune 2, was released just yesterday for the PC via the Epic Games Store.