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Human Head Studios closes, staff forms new Bethesda-owned studio

Human Head Studios shuts down. Roundhouse Studios opens doors.

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Prey - Human Head
Human Head

Human Head Studios shuts down. Roundhouse Studios opens doors.

Human Head Studios has had a weird decade. The studio found critical and commercial success with Prey in 2006. But, the developer toiled for years on a sequel that was ultimately cancelled.

Since then, the team has worked support on games like BioShock Infinite. Additionally, Human Head helped bring Batman: Arkham Origins to Wii U. Last year, it partnered with Square Enix to release The Quiet Man, an FMV/beat-em-up that was a failure by just about any conceivable metric.

And today, Human Head community manager, Katherine Stull, took to the studio’s official website to make an announcement. Human Head, as an independent, legal entity, is shutting down. That’s surprising news, especially given the fact that Human Head just launched Rune II, an Epic-published action-RPG, yesterday.

But, Human Head, as a group of developers, will live on.

“When we realized the company would have to close, we wanted to do whatever we could to keep the team together and keep each member of our talented staff employed, right here at home. That’s when we reached out to Bethesda Softworks to see what might be possible,” Stull wrote.

“As a result, we are proud to announce that the development team from Human Head is becoming part of Bethesda as a new studio based in Madison, WI, called Roundhouse Studios. The entire staff has been offered new roles with Bethesda, and it’s exciting to know that our team, which has accomplished so much together, for so long, can continue doing what we love.”

Bethesda already owned the rights to Prey, Human Head’s most successful game. The publisher rebooted the franchise in 2017 with Dishonored-developer Arkane Studios at the helm.

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Andrew King is a journalist, critic, poet, stand-up comedian and museum caretaker living in Illinois.