Now Roundhouse Studios
A well-established development studio shut its doors recently, and that’s not exactly uncommon in the games industry. However, this is the rare example where a failing business didn’t necessarily lead to a large group of people suddenly out of work.
Human Head Studios — best known for Rune and 2006’s Prey — has gone defunct after 22 years. The Wisconsin-based developer won’t have any downtime, though. Bethesda immediately acquired the team and reopened it as Roundhouse Studios. In a statement announcing the transition, Human Head co-founder Chris Rhinehart said “Bethesda offered every employee of Human Head a position at the new company.”
While evidently on good terms now, Human Head and Bethesda have had a checkered past. The two butted heads on the development of a Prey sequel, with Bethesda allegedly withholding funding that the studio needed to operate. Eventually, it’s said that Bethesda tried to buy the developer outright, which Human Head refused. They parted ways after the Prey sequel was canceled. Bethesda opted to reboot the entire game, trusting Arkane to lead production on 2017’s Prey that ended up critically-lauded.
Starting immediately, Roundhouse Studios is working on unannounced projects at Bethesda. When asked whether Roundhouse is serving as a support studio or if it’s acting as the lead on a new game, Bethesda told Destructoid “Right now we have nothing specific to announce on this.”