The director for Arkane Studios Prey (2017) has stated that Bethesda assigned the title to the game and he and others felt it was a mistake to use. Prey (2017) launched with some positive reviews but the biggest complaint from fans is that it had nothing to do with the 2006 title also made by Arkane Studios. Now Raphaël Colantonio (Founder of Arkane Studios and Prey (2017) Director, President, and Creative Director of WolfEye Studios) has come forward in an interview with the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences to state what really happened with the naming of the game.
“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.”
He shared he was grateful for the opportunity to make the game but the team disagreed with the name they had to use and felt it was a mistake.
“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.’”
Ultimately the decision was forced upon the team and the game would be released. It would also become a tipping point as Colantonio would leave Arkane Studios not long after to help create WolfEye Studios and work on Weird West. He has been very vocal in expressing his feelings over that situation with Bethesda. From the 2021 making of Prey documentary to another recent interview, he’s gone on record about it and even said he wanted to apologize to the devs for the original 2006 game.
“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.”
One could only hope that Bethesda, and other studios, who choose to use branding for a new game, would heed the lesson of not alienating fans with something that has no or little relation to its source. A successful game can stand on its own and backlash over naming can hurt it in the long run.